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World has 600 Gt CO2 left to pollute before 2050: Australia & Belize have ALREADY used their "fair share"

by Open-Publishing - Sunday 24 July 2011
1 comment

Environment Australia Gideon Polya

In 2009 the German Advisory Council on Climate Change (WBGU) determined that for a 75% chance of avoiding a 2 degree C temperature rise, the World must pollute less than 600 Gt CO2 between 2010 and essentially zero emissions in 2050. Unfortunately Australia (through disproportionately huge annual fossil fuel burning and exports) and Belize (through disproportionately huge annual deforestation) have already used up their “share” of this terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) budget. The analysis below will tell you how many years your country has left before it exceeds its “fair share” of atmospheric GHG pollution.

In 2009 the German Advisory Council on Climate Change (WBGU, Wissenshaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen) issued a report entitled “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach” in which it stated: “The budget of CO2 emissions still available worldwide could be derived from the 2 degree C guard rail. By the middle of the 21st century a maximum of approximately 750 Gt CO2 (billion metric tons) may be released into the Earth’s atmosphere if the guard rail is to be adhered to with a probability of 67%. If we raise the probability to 75%, the cumulative emissions within this period would even have to remain below 600 Gt CO2. In any case, only a small amount of CO2 may be emitted worldwide after 2050. Thus, the era of an economy driven by fossil fuels will definitely have to come to an end within the first half of this century” (see WBGU, “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach”: http://www.wbgu.de/fileadmin/templa... ).

The consequences of this declaration of less than 600 Gt CO2 in emissions for a 75% chance of avoiding 2 degree C temperature rise are profound. Thus, would you board a plane if it had a 25% chance of crashing? Further, the average world population in the period 2010 and 2050 will be 8.321 billion (see UN Population Division, 2010 Revision: http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/unpp/pan... ). Accordingly the per capita share of this terminal CO2 pollution budget is less than 600 billion tonnes CO2/8.321 people = less than 72.1 tonnes CO2 per person.

Using data for the annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) (including land use change) for every country in the world in 2000 (see “List of countries by greenhouse gas emissions per capita”, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o... ) one can determine how many years left at current rates of GHG pollution (in units of CO2-e or CO2-equivalent i.e. taking other GHGs into account) before a given country uses up its “share” Thus for Australia 72.1 tonnes CO2-e per person / 25.9 tonnes CO2- per person per year in 2000 = 2.8 years left, based on the 2000 data. Note that this analysis does not take into account historical pollution of the atmosphere.
In 2009 Australia’s population was 22.0 million, Australia ’s GHG pollution was 600 Mt CO2-e (CO2 equivalent i.e. taking into account other greenhouse gases such as methane, CH4, and nitrous oxide, N2O). 600 Mt per year/ 22.0 million people = 27.3 t CO2-e per person per year and at that rate of GHG pollution Australia would use up its 2010-2050 “share” in 72.1 t CO2-e per person/ 27.3 t CO2-e per person per year = 2.6 years.

However in 2009 Australia ’s Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution (in Mt CO2-e) was 600 (Domestic) + 784 (coal exports) + 31 (LNG exports) = 1,415 Mt CO2-e, this giving Australia an annual per capita Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution in 2009 of 1,415 Mt CO2-e per year/ 22.0 million people = 64.3 tonnes CO2-e per person per year, this being 64.3/0.9 = 71.4 times greater than the annual per capita of Bangladesh (0.9 tonnes CO2-e per person per year). Based on its 2009 Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution rate, Australia will take 72.1 Mt CO2-e per person/ 64.3 t CO2-e per person per year = 1.1 years in the period 2010-2050 to use up its “fair share” of the terminal 600 Gt CO2-e carbon pollution budget i.e. Australia has ALREADY used up its “share” of the terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution budget.

Of course there is no way that Australia will meet its “all men are created equal” global obligations and cease polluting after having already in July 2011 achieved its “fair share” of the terminal 600 Gt CO2 global GHG pollution “budget”. Australia is fundamentally committed to coal and gas use and exports. Thus about 92% of Australia ’s electricity derives from fossil fuel combustion, Australia is the world’s biggest coal exporter and Australia is a major liquid natural gas (LNG) exporter. The only major change adumbrated by the Gillard Labor Government is a coal to gas transition for electric power generation, this ignoring the reality that this will mean a doubling of greenhouse gas generation from the electricity sector because methane (CH4) is 85% of natural gas, leaks at about 3.3% and is 105 times worse than CO2 as a greenhouse gas on a 20 year timeframe and taking aerosol impacts into account.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) has projected that Australia’s black coal exports will increase at an average rate of 2.6% per year over the next 20 years and that liquid natural gas (LNG) exports will increase at 9% per year over the same period (see “Invest in Australia”: http://www.investinaustralia.com/in... ). Further, it is estimated that Australian exports of dried brown coal will reach 20 Mt by 2020, this corresponding to about 59 Mt CO2-e after combustion.
Accordingly, by 2020 and based on Liberal-National Party Coalition Opposition and Labor Government (aka Lib-Lab) promises of “5% off Domestic GHG pollution by 2020” and ABARE projections (see ABARE, “Australian energy: national and state projections to 2029-30”: http://www.abareconomics.com/intera... ), Australian Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution will be 621 Mt CO2-e (Domestic) (Australian Government, Treasury, “Strong Growth, Low Pollution. Modelling a Carbon Price”, 2011: http://cache.treasury.gov.au/treasu... ) + 1.326 x 784 =1,039 Mt CO2-e (coal exports) + 2.580 x 31 = 80 Mt CO2-e (LNG exports) + 59 Mt CO2-e (brown coal exports) = 1,799 Mt CO2-e i.e. 127% of that in 2009 (see “Analysis: Australian Labor Government Carbon Price-ETS scheme fails & entrenches climate change inaction”, Bellaciao, 16 July 2010: http://bellaciao.org/en/spip.php?ar... ).

Thus Australian policy flies in the face of science and “all men are created equal” which show that Australia has ALREADY used up it share of the 2010-2050 terminal GHG pollution budget. Instead Australia officially projects to INCREASE its annual pollution by 2020 by about 27% over that in 2009. How does Australia ’s refusal to DECREASE its disproportionate GHG pollution compare with the conduct of other countries? Set out below is the time (at 2000 pollution rates) for every country in the World to use up its “fair share” of the World’s 600 Gt CO2 terminal GHG pollution budget.

Years to the required “fair shares” total cessation of GHG pollution at current rates of pollution = 72.1 tonnes CO2-e per person/ (tonnes CO2-e per person per year) . The annual per capita GHG pollution for each country in 2000 (tonnes CO2-e per person per year) was used (the available data for Uruguay was the 2005 per capita data without the land use contribution included). It should be noted that per capita consumption, fossil fuel use, livestock production and deforestation variously contribute to annual per capita GHG pollution. Of course if you can access more up-to-date data (e.g. the example of Australia) and then use it to determine an updated time for zero emissions. Note that this analysis does not take into account historical industrial pollution of the atmosphere (73% due to European countries) (see 2008 Letter of Dr James Hansen, NASA GISS, to PM Kevin Rudd of Australia: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/maili... ).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 5 years.

Belize (0.8 years), Qatar (1.3), Guyana (1.4), Malaysia (1.9), United Arab Emirates (2.0), Kuwait (2.4), Papua New Guinea (2.5), Brunei (2.8), Australia (2.8; 1.1 if including its huge GHG Exports), Antigua & Barbuda (2.8), Zambia (2.9), Canada (3.0), Bahrain (3.0), United States (3.1), Trinidad & Tobago (3.3), Luxembourg (3.4), Panama (3.7), New Zealand (3.7), Estonia (4.0), Botswana (4.1), Ireland (4.3), Saudi Arabia (4.4), Venezuela (4.6), Indonesia (4.8), Equatorial Guinea (5.0), Belgium (5.0).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 5-10 years.

Turkmenistan (5.1 years ), Singapore (5.1), Czech Republic (5.2), Liberia (5.2), Netherlands (5.3), Russia (5.3), Nicaragua (5.4), Finland (5.5), Oman (5.6), Palau (5.6), Brazil (5.6), Uruguay (5.7), Denmark (5.8). Germany (5.9), Mongolia (6.1), Israel (6.1), Nauru (6.2), Norway (6.3), South Korea (6.5), Kazakhstan (6.6), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (6.6), Libya (6.7), Greece (6.7), Japan (6.7), Myanmar (6.7), Taiwan (6.8), Cyprus (7.0), Slovenia (7.1), Cambodia (7.1), Austria (7.2), Iceland (7.2), Peru (7.3), Paraguay (7.3), Ukraine (7.4), Poland (7.5), South Africa (7.6), Argentina (7.8), Slovakia (7.8), Spain (7.8), Italy (7.8), Central African Republic (8.0), France (8.3), Suriname (8.4), Belarus (8.4), Gabon (8.6), Ecuador (8.8), Bolivia (8.9), Cameroon (9.5), Iran (9.5), Côte d’Ivoire (9.6), Sweden (9.6), Seychelles (9.7), Guatemala (9.7), Bulgaria (9.7), Serbia & Montenegro (9.7), Hungary (9.7), Congo, Democratic Republic (formerly Zaire) (9.7), Uzbekistan (9.9), Portugal (10.0).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 10-20 years.

Switzerland (10.2 years), Azerbaijan (10.6), Angola (10.8), Bahamas (10.9), Benin (11.1), Zimbabwe (11.1), Laos (11.3), Mexico (11.3), Nepal (11.4), Colombia (11.4), Namibia (11.4), Chile (11.4), Malta (11.8), Congo, Republic (12.0), Madagascar (12.0), Croatia (12.2), Jamaica (12.2), Macedonia (12.4), Barbados (12.4), Latvia (12.6), Mauritania (12.9), Turkey (12.9), Romania (13.1), Lithuania (13.4), Costa Rica (13.4), Lebanon (13.6), North Korea (13.9), Thailand (14.1), Jordan (14.7), Honduras (15.3), Sudan (15.7), Bosnia & Herzegovina (16.0), Algeria (17.2), Iraq (17.2), Sierra Leone (17.2), Syria (18.0), China (18.5), Tunisia (19.5).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 20-30 years.

Dominican Republic (20.6 years),St Kitts & Nevis (21.8), Nigeria (21.8), Fiji (21.8), Guinea (22.5), Mauritius (22.5), Cuba (23.3), Togo (23.3), Vanuatu (24.0), Philippines (24.0), Malawi (24.0), Mali (24.9), Chad (24.9), Sri Lanka (25.8), Uganda (26.7), Dominica (26.7), St Lucia (26.7), Egypt (27.7), Niue (27.7), Ghana (27.7), Moldova (28.8), Grenada (28.8), El Salvador (30.0), Guinea-Bissau (30.0), Tanzania (30.0), Djibouti (30.0).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 30-50 years.

Pakistan (31.3 years), Samoa (31.3), Tonga (31.3), Morocco (32.8), Senegal (32.8), Albania (32.8), Georgia (32.8), Armenia (34.3), St Vincent & Grenadines (36.1), Kenya (36.1), Maldives (37.9), Kyrgyzstan (37.9), Burkina Faso (37.9), India (40.1), Cook Islands (40.1), Bhutan (42.4), Yemen (45.1), Tajikistan (45.1), Mozambique (45.1), Rwanda (45.1), Burundi (45.1), Lesotho (48.1), Swaziland (48.1).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within about 50-120 years.

Eritrea (51.5), Haiti (51.5), Solomon Islands (65.5), Vietnam (65.5), Cape Verde (65.5), Niger (65.5), Ethiopia (65.5), São Tomé and Príncipe (72.1), Afghanistan (80.1), The Gambia (80.1), Bangladesh (80.1), Comoros (103.0), Kiribati (120.2).

I must reiterate that there is no way that Australia will meet its global “fair shares” obligations because it is fundamentally committed to oil use and to coal and gas use and exports. Thus about 92% of Australia’s electricity derives from fossil fuel combustion, Australia is the world’s biggest coal exporter and a major liquid natural gas (LNG) exporter. Both the major parties, the Liberal –National Party Coalition Opposition (the Libs) and the Labor Government (the Labs) (collectively known as the Lib-Labs) are committed to a derisory policy of 5% off 2000 Domestic GHG pollution by 2020 but with greed-driven growth of coal and LNG Exports (at 2.6% pa and 9% pa, respectively). Australia is committed to a greedy and inhumane course of climate exceptionalism, climate racism and climate injustice. Having ALREADY used up its share of the terminal 600 Gt CO2-e budget, climate criminal Australia is now greedily and disproportionately using up the quotas of other countries.

Just as the Europeans of US-, UK-, Australia – and Apartheid Israel-backed Apartheid South Africa greedily and disproportionately used the resources of South Africa to the exclusion of the non-European inhabitants , so a rich, US-, UK- and Apartheid Israel-linked Apartheid Australia, White Australia, is greedily and disproportionately polluting the one common atmosphere and one common ocean of the World.

Both Dr James Lovelock FRS (Gaia hypothesis) and Professor Kevin Anderson ( Director, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester, UK) have recently estimated that only about 0.5 billion people will survive this century due to unaddressed, man-made global warming. Noting that the world population is expected to reach 9.5 billion by 2050, these estimates translate to a Climate Genocide involving deaths of about 10 billion people this century, mostly non-Europeans, this including about 6 billion under-5 year old infants, 3 billion Muslims in a terminal Muslim Holocaust, 2 billion Indians, 1.3 billion non-Arab Africans, 0.5 billion Bengalis, 0.3 billion Pakistanis and 0.3 billion Bangladeshis. Already 18 million people die avoidably every year in Developing countries (minus China) due to deprivation and deprivation-exacerbated disease and man-made global warming is already clearly worsening this global avoidable mortality holocaust. However 10 billion avoidable deaths due to global warming this century will yield an average global annual avoidable death rate of 100 million per year (see “Climate Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/clima... ).

Where does your country come in this “years left until zero emissions” analysis?

The World is badly running out of time. The World must take action against the more notorious climate criminal, climate racist, and climate terrorist countries such as climate criminal Apartheid Australia through Sanctions, Boycotts, Sporting Boycotts (as were successfully applied to Apartheid South Africa through exclusion from the Olympic Games and other events), Green Tariffs, International Court of Justice litigations and International Criminal Court prosecutions.

Indeed I have made a formal complaint to the International Criminal Court about Australia’s involvement in the worsening Climate Genocide and other ongoing genocidal atrocities (see Gideon Polya, “ 9 January 2010 Formal Complaint by Dr Gideon Polya to the International Criminal Court (ICC) re US Alliance Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghan, Muslim, Aboriginal, Biofuel and Climate Genocides ”: https://sites.google.com/site/clima... ).

Forum posts

  • Dear Dr Gideon - I am looking at this after seeing your New Matilda comment on MArtin’s piece. Nothing (including his article) went near to making sense until I found your comment. I have yet to absorb the detail but make the comment that Apartheid was destroyed by armed force (Cuba had thousands of soldiers in Africa helping liberation struggles) with some assistance from boycotts etc.
    I would like to correspond more with you if possible. Presently I am in Thailand but am considering visiting Sydney in November when Nom Chomsky visits to receive the Sydney Peace Prize. I suggest that be a good time & place to do a lot of activism - only 100km or so from Australia’s biggest coal export port.
    Please contact me at the email address given below.