One of the most important principles internationally when referring to greenhouse gas reduction schemes it that the polluter pays. This means that national targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions should be based on the historical contribution of each nation to global emissions.
A most important factor is the levels of emissions per capita. Australia has the highest greenhouse gas emissions per person at 26.7 tonnes per annum and this it twice the average level for all other industrialised countries and 25% higher that per person in the USA (21.2tonnes).
It is obvious that Australia's population growth policies have a enormous impact on our greenhouse gas emissions. Our immigration rate is the major contributing factor of our population growth and thus the biggest contributor to increasing our greenhouse gas emissions, and not "natural" growth. Immigrants coming here therefore adopt our consumption habits and lifestyles, thereby increasing their emissions, and our overall output.
If Australia decides to increase our population rapidly, to 50 million by 2060 or more, then energy-related emission would grow to around 600 parts per million CO2, or about double 1990 levels! (Population Policy and Environmental Degradation Sources and Trends in Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Clive Hamilton and Hal Turton, Monash University)
People are not "pollution" and neither is CO2, but both can cause problems from excess quantities!
Recently, as concern about greenhouse gas emissions and global warming increasing, the anti-immigrant argument has taken on a new form. Now the argument is: immigrants should be kept out because our way of life is a threat to the world’s environment.
According to the article: To calculate “per capita emissions”, we simply divide a country’s total greenhouse gas emissions by its total population. This provides a useful baseline for comparing countries of different sizes – but it tells us nothing at all about the emissions that can actually be attributed to individuals. In fact, most emissions are caused by industrial and other processes over which individuals have no control. In Canada, for example, no change in the number of immigrants will have any effect on the oil extraction industry at the Alberta Tar Sands, described by George Monbiot as “the world’s biggest single industrial source of carbon emissions”.
However, Australians have made effort to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, but unless our numbers are limited the gross output will continue to rise. Industry and technology cause anthropogenic emissions, and a higher population increase the demand for larger markets and increased production. More population naturally equates to a demand for more jobs, and thus more industries and more plundering of finite natural resources! Excessive exports are due to human greed and worship of growth.
The Government accepted the findings of Professor Garnaut that a fair and effective global agreement centred on stabilising long-term atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases was at or below 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide equivalent is in Australia’s national interests. However, the Australian National Greenhouse Accounts released in June 2009 showed emissions rose by an estimated 553 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or 1.1 per cent, in 2008. According to Climate Group, (Jan 2008) compared with 2000 levels, emissions from energy-use were significantly higher across all states, collectively up 19 per cent.
released by the Climate Group, measures emissions created by electricity and petrol use across the eastern states. The report shows overall emissions were 5.3 million tonnes lower in 2009 than in the previous year. The base line should be 2000 (Copenhagen) or 1990 levels (Kyoto) , not 2008! So we are reducing our increase?
Australia has declared it will not go beyond a 5 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 without guaranteed action by major emitters including the US, China and India. Little hope anyway of going beyond 5 %! By 2020 the Federal Government wants to cut emissions by 5 to 25 per cent. At our present rate of population growth, our numbers are likely to be well over 25 million by then!
in a submission to the United Nations as part of last month's Copenhagen meeting.
Our 5% is looking a little short now that the US have challenged it!
Kevin Rudd's drive for a "big Australia" and his efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emission are totally at odds, and are completely contradictory and hypocritical to addressing climate change, what he previously called the "greatest moral challenge of our time"!