Monday, June 1, 2009

Greenhouse emissions rise

The Age, June 2, 2009

AUSTRALIA's greenhouse emissions continue to increase, largely because of coal-fired electricity generation.

Annual greenhouse accounts released last night estimate emissions rose by 1.1 per cent last year to 553 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

This is 7 per cent higher than in 1990, placing Australia on target to meet its commitment under the Kyoto Protocol.

Under what is widely seen as a generous deal, Australia is allowed to increase its emissions by 8 per cent between 1990 and 2012.

But Kyoto gave Australia a discount for reducing agricultural land-clearing in Queensland, and figures can be misleading. The new estimates show emissions from energy generation — largely burning coal — have skyrocketed by 42 per cent over the past 18 years.

The nation's performance is considerably worse if you factor in emissions from drought-ravaged grasslands and crop lands, which are not covered by the Kyoto system. They turn the 7 per cent jump since 1990 into an 82 per cent increase.


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