Australia’s emissions: what do the numbers really mean? Factsheet

Jul 08, 2015 - 2:00pm

In the current debate in Australia on greenhouse gas emissions reductions, numbers and terms like ‘significance’ are often used selectively and out of context to justify a lack of action. Numbers need to be tested against the broader picture to tell a more complete story.

Download our full factsheet on this topic but clicking below. 

The summary of key points is: 

  • Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are significant on a global scale and need to be reduced through modernising and cleaning up our economy.

  • As a wealthy country, Australia has a greater capacity than countries less well-off to implement changes which reduce pollution. 

  • Percentage of total global contribution cannot be used in isolation to determine what actions Australia should take to reduce its emissions. Metrics such as emissions per capita and emissions intensity must also be considered to garner an accurate picture of our contribution to climate change. 

  • There are many other countries, like Australia, whose emissions contribution is less than 2 per cent of global emissions. But combined they make up more than a fifth of global emissions. Many of these nations recognise that their emissions are significant, and are putting policies in place domestically to limit emissions.

The Climate Institute is closely following the process towards Paris. Click here for analysis, monthly updates of global action, commentary, and interactive tools and graphics.

We will also regularly update our Global Climate Action Map, an interactive tool that allows users to compare policies across countries.

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