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Greenpeace Diesendorf: Carbon emissions reflect population numbers - Reduce immigration

see:
http://www.greenpeace.org.au/blog/energy/?p=90 and http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/australia/resources/reports/climate-change/paths-to-a-low-carbon-future.pdf for the full report.

3.2.4 Reducing business and professional immigration Australia's population is expected to grow from its 2001 level of 19.4 million to 23.3 million by 2020. This represents a population growth of 20 per cent over this period (2001-2020). The average growth rate for total emissions is higher, about 1.3 per cent per annum. Population growth is a signifi cant driver of residential emissions growth, for both stationary energy and transport. Regardless of their country of origin, immigrants tend to adopt Australia's energy-intensive lifestyle on arrival. Since Australia has the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in the world, immigrants will on average tend to increase their emissions.

Thus this report proposes a measure to reduce business and professional immigration by 50 per cent, without reducing refugee and humanitarian immigration. See Appendix A for details on assumptions and calculations.

Appendix A: Details of some calculations A.1 Population growth & emissions The following is a rough estimate of the impact on 2020 greenhouse gas emissions of changing the immigration rate. The calculation has a number of assumptions (e.g.
that population and emissions grow exponentially).

Population component: In 2005-06, permanent immigration into Australia was 180,000, comprising the following categories:
* Family 46,000 * Skill (business and professional) 91,500, * Humanitarian 17,000, * Non-migration (mostly New Zealanders) 25,000 and Special 310 (DIMA
2006).

Permanent departure was 68,000. Therefore, net permanent addition from migration was 112,000, or about 0.54% per annum.

Australia's overall population growth rate is 0.95% per annum.
By halving the Skill (business and professional) category of immigration, population growth would be reduced to (0.95 - 0.22)% = 0.73%. Then total population growth 2008-2020 would be about 10 per cent. Thus the projected population in 2020 is reduced from 23.3M to 22.8M; ? = 0.5M (reduction).

Emissions component: The calculation now focuses on emissions from the Energy category (excluding fugitive emissions), which, to a good approximation, are directly proportional to Australia's population.

The AGO's projected growth in emissions from stationary energy and transport over 2004-2020 is about 29.3% (Table 1), corresponding to an annual growth rate of 1.62%. Assume that emissions are proportional to population (as well as to "affl uence" and "technology"). Then rate of emissions growth from Energy (excluding fugitive emissions) after cutting Skill migration, equals (1.62 - 0.22)% p.a. =
1.4% p.a., giving a growth factor over 2004-2020 of 24.9% instead of AGO's BAU "with measures" growth rate of 29.3%.

BAU emissions in 2020 from Energy (excluding fugitive), with reduced Skill immigration, become 444.6 Mt instead of AGO's 460.5 Mt, ? = 16 Mt (reduction).

However, about one-quarter of these emissions would be for export from manufacturing and mining; these emissions are largely unaffected by population, and so the emissions savings are deemed to be reduced to 12 Mt.

Conversely, parts of emissions from Agriculture, Fugitive, Land Use and Waste can be attributed to domestic use and hence Australia's population. However, this report has already pointed out that AGO's projected emissions from these categories could be slashed by other actions.

Provided these suggestions are implemented, the additional benefi ts of immigration reduction on emissions from these categories will be small and are therefore ignored here.

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