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FACTBOX: Australia's Carbon Footprint

Date: 13-Aug-09
Country: AUSTRALIA
Author: James Grubel

Australia's parliament rejected Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's plan for the most sweeping carbon trade scheme outside Europe on Thursday, defeating the government's key policy to fight global warming.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, Australia must limit Greenhouse gas emissions growth to 108 percent of 1990 levels by 2012. The country says it is on track to meet its Kyoto target.

Here are some details about Australia's carbon emissions.

* Australia's net Greenhouse emissions totaled 553 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2008, or about 1.5 percent of world emissions. Emissions in 2008 were around 7 percent higher than 1990 levels.

* Transport and Energy accounts for 75.4 percent of Australian emissions, or 408 million tonnes.

* Electricity generation accounts for 36.9 percent of emissions, or 199.5 million tonnes. More than 80 percent of electricity comes from coal-fired power stations.

* Transport contributed 14.6 percent of emissions, or 78.8 million tonnes, with 87 percent of the total coming from road transport.

* Agriculture created 16.3 percent of emissions, or 88.1 million tonnes. Around 10 percent of Australian emissions, or 57.6 million tonnes, come from sheep and cattle, due to gases produced when they digest food.

* Australia emits 28.6 tonnes of carbon per person, one of the highest per-capita levels in the developed world and five times more per person than China, due to use of coal for electricity.

* Carbon dioxide represents 75.2 percent of Australian emissions, methane 19.7 percent, and nitrous oxide 4.1 percent.

* Australia, the world's biggest coal exporter, uses coal to generate about 84 percent of electricity.

Sources: Australian National Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2007 and 2008; Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics, Energy in Australia 2009)

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