Culture 3 min read

Australia's Global CO2 Emissions Projected to Soar by 2030

Irina Sokolovskaya /

Irina Sokolovskaya /

Domestically, Australia may be engaging in a real fight against climate change, reducing its historical reliance on coal and other fossil fuels. It ought to! The country is one of the most vulnerable to global warming’s damaging effects.

But there’s a fat dirty elephant in the room that we can’t ignore: Australia’s global CO2 emissions.

Australia’s carbon footprint is getting larger and larger as the country’s fossil fuel exports are on the rise.

A new study concludes that Australia’s fossil fuel exports are pushing the country to become one of the world’s biggest polluters.

Australia, Between Domestic and Global CO2 Emissions

Currently, Australia is responsible for 5% of the global greenhouse gases emissions. But, if the country’s fossil fuel exports are accounted for, its global C2O emissions will amount to 17% by 2030.

This would put Australia on equal footing with Russia, now ranking the fifth globally, in terms of total GHG emissions.

It’s an alarming prospect for Australia which is barely starting to make a dent in its climate action.

According to the new report from Climate Analytics, fossil fuel exports included, Australia’s per capita emissions would surpass the US by a factor of 4 and China by a factor of 9.

“The results of this analysis show that if the current government and industry projections for fossil fuel exports are realized, Australia could be responsible (including both domestic and exported emissions) for about 13% (between 11.9% – 17.4%) of Paris Agreement compatible global CO2 emissions in 2030. By far the largest growth would be coming from coal exports.”

While Australia’s domestic emissions are to blame for 1.4% of global CO2 emissions (2017), the report finds that, if we take coal and other fossil fuel exports into consideration, this number jumps to 5%.

Per its pledge under the Paris Agreement, Australia should reduce its domestic emissions by “insufficient” 26-28% below 2005 target. However, as the report shows, Australia’s GHG emissions are on the rise and will likely continue so through to 2030.

Already the world’s biggest coal exporter, accounting for 29% of all coal traded globally, Australia will as well soon be the world’s largest natural gas exporter. 

Gavan McFadzean, Climate Change & Clean Energy program manager at the Australian Conservation Foundation which commissioned this research, don’t mince in his words:

“Australia’s planned fossil fuel expansions contradict global efforts to address climate change and are completely inconsistent with the global energy transition,” said McFadzean. “Instead of encouraging new fossil fuel projects, a responsible Federal Government would recognize that most of Australia’s fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground and would facilitate the necessary rapid transition to clean, renewable energy.”

To date, coal and gas are two of the most significant sources of energy. For Australia to claim the title of the biggest exporter for both is a dicey gamble that puts a huge question mark over the country’s seriousness in fighting climate change. 

Here’s the simple takeaway from this analysis, you can keep keeping the inside clean while exporting your “dirt” until it reaches your doorstep. Poisoning the global atmosphere in this way would work if Earth wasn’t the open, dynamic, and interactive system it is.

Read More: Report Shows Australia has Potential to be 100% Renewable by 2030

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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    Gordon Pettipas July 10 at 11:59 am GMT

    TheTruthAboutClimateChange Dr.PatrickMoore GreenpeaceCo Founder

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