Time to count our exported CO2 emissions

If, by some miracle, the Tony Abbott led conservative Australian government’s climate policy, Direct Action actually achieves the grossly insufficient target of a drop in CO2 emissions to 5% below 2000 levels by 2020 (I know, who am I kidding? Play along though) the one thing missing from the equation, is how much CO2e we actually export. The figures are staggering.

mountainsofcoal

From Reuters Point Carbon via Climate Spectator

Mining keeps Australia’s emissions from falling: data

Rising emissions from coal and gas production cancelled out greenhouse gas cuts achieved through reduced electricity generation in Australia in the year to March 2013, government data released Thursday showed.

Australia emitted 557 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in the 12 months to March 2013, not counting changes in land use, according to data published on the website of the Department of Climate Change – a reduction of 0.1 million tonnes year-on-year.

Cleaning up the coal-dependent power sector is expected to play a key role in Australia’s efforts to reduce output of greenhouse gases to 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020.

The report found that emissions from electricity generation, the country’s biggest source of heat-trapping emissions, fell 6.1 per cent to 187 million tonnes, largely driven by a drop in demand.

But emissions resulting from fossil fuel extraction rose 12.7 per cent to 45.8 million tonnes of CO2e per year.

“The great majority of increased coal production is exported, with black coal exports increasing by 10.1 per cent over the corresponding period,” the report said.

Australia, the developed world’s biggest per capita carbon emitter, exports fossil fuels that when burned each year account for around twice as many emissions as Australia’s total domestic greenhouse gas output.

Environment group Greenpeace said earlier this year that with all of Australia’s planned coal and gas projects the country was set to be the world’s second biggest source of new emissions this decade.

At nearly 40 per cent, Japan is the biggest buyer of Australian coal, followed by China, South Korea, India and Taiwan.

Graph_thermal_coal_exports

Original story here

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