Australia only wealthy nation still breaking energy emissions records

A recent analysis showed that Australia is the only affluent country that is generating the highest amount of greenhouse gas emissions, even though it recently launched a carbon-pricing scheme. Sales of petroleum products – petrol and diesel – sky-rocketed in Australia and were followed by an increase in carbon emissions.

The record was higher than the emissions of 2009, which still continue increasing. More people are now using petroleum products, therefore; the country is heavily reliant on coal to meet the growing demand. Presently, there is nothing being done to reduce dependency on coal.

The think tank analysis estimated Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions at 383 million tons in June, which was approximately a 49% increase since the base year of 1990. Australia is still burning fossil fuels when other countries are undertaking strategies to switch to renewable energy sources.

Although energy emissions keep rising, Australia is keeping up with the goals of 2020 Kyoto Protocol, largely due to land clearance, that aims for at least a 5% reduction in energy emissions. Australia refused to rescind its carryover credits to accomplish targets of reducing emissions.

The government stated that it had a forum on transport emissions that sought to improve quality and efficiency of fuels. Dr. Hugh Saddler stated that lack of investment in efficient modes of transportation was causing increased usage of roads. Australia does not have fuel-efficiency standards, which is why the vehicles used are less efficient than those of other countries. Mining, agricultural and construction activities are also causing increased diesel usage.

Political leaders still disagree on policies of providing subsidies for coal and supporting renewable or green technology. Businesses are campaigning for durable climate and energy strategies to generate investments for new power plants. About twelve old, dysfunctional coal factories have shut down since 2012, although lignite and black coal account for 75% national electricity.
Presently, Australia has not devised an alternative strategy for renewable energy when the Protocol ends in 2020. The government repealed carbon pricing scheme of 2012, which was the only goal for renewable energy and encouraging private investment.

Former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, was a serious advocate about combating climate change while in office. However, during his speech in London, he claimed that taking measures to combat climate change could be detrimental to the economy and referred to climate science as “absolute crap”. He further stated that climate change policy was doing more harm than good and climate change was actually beneficial. He said that more people died due to extreme cold rather than heat waves, asserting that our adaptability to climate change could be good for us. Abbott has suggested the government to revoke renewable energy policies.

Josh Frydenberg said that the ministers were collaborating with stakeholders and using an evidence-based approach to deal with the issue. It was further stated that they were committed to the Paris Agreement and aiming to reduce about 30% energy emissions, below 2005 levels, by 2030.

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