Australia's carbon pollution rose as economy slowed Media Release

Mar 13, 2009 - 10:44am

Key indicators of carbon pollution show that Australia’s emissions continued to rise as the economy slowed in the last quarter of 2008, research for the independent Climate Institute shows.

Carbon pollution from the key drivers of Australian emission growth, commercial and residential electricity and fuel use, increased in the December quarter by 800,000 tonnes, almost exactly the same as was predicted on assumptions the economy was growing 2 to 3 per cent.

“Even when the economy is in third gear, Australia’s carbon pollution rose strongly meaning there is no time for complacency in making the changes needed to drive job creation in a more efficient and cleaner low-carbon economy,” said Climate Institute CEO John Connor.

The pollution rise of 800,000 tonnes in the last quarter was the equivalent of the emissions from 80,000 households or 185,000 cars. Since June 2005, emissions have grown by around 22 million tonnes.

“This data reveals an Australian economy still highly geared to pollution needing strong new policies to clean up the economic engines so as the economy recovers we’ll be growing clean jobs and a clean economy,” Mr Connor said.

 “Cleaning up our economy requires a full toolbox of emissions trading, energy efficiency and renewable energy incentives, all with stronger focus and drivers than the policies currently available.

“The Government, the Coalition and the Senate needs to strengthen inadequate pollution reduction targets to at least 25 per cent off 2000 levels by 2020, and redirect the handouts from big polluters to investment in job creation, energy efficiency improvements and clean technology development.

“Globally, there are now more jobs in renewable energy than those directly employed in oil and gas and if a few major polluters keep pulling on the hand brakes on reforms here Australia will be left behind as a “carbon ghetto” in a world powering ahead with a low carbon recovery.”   

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