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Australia becoming a global emissions superpower, report warns

Australia's impact on global emissions is set to triple over the next decade.
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Australia’s contribution to world carbon emissions could almost triple in the next decade due to the nation’s love affair with fossil fuels.

A new report claims Australia’s rising coal and gas exports, combined with domestic emissions, could be responsible for 17 per cent of the planet’s carbon emissions by 2030.

Already the world’s number one exporter of coal and gas, new mines such as Adani in Queensland would make Australia responsible for 12 per cent of international coal emissions.

The Australian Conservation Foundation commissioned the report by Berlin-based science and policy institute Climate Analytics.

It found Australia’s current coal, oil and gas exports (3.6 per cent of global total) together with domestic emissions (1.4 per cent of global total), currently account for Australia’s global climate pollution footprint of about 5 per cent.

But over the next decade as new mines open around the country, Australia’s global emissions contribution could more than triple to 17 per cent.

“With planned coal and gas expansions, Australia could account for up to 17 per cent of global emissions by 2030, with Australian coal responsible for 12 per cent of global emissions by then,” said the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Gavan McFadzean.

The ACF has warned Australia would become an ’emissions superpower’, ranking as the world’s fifth biggest polluter.

“When we add Australia’s exported emissions to our domestic emissions, Australia rockets to equal fifth on the list of major global climate polluters, alongside Russia and behind only India, the European Union, the USA and China,” Mr McFadzean said.

Mr McFadzean warned that Australia’s coal and gas exports were causing a “climate crisis”.

“This report confirms Australia is on track to become one of the world’s worst contributors to climate damage,” he said.

Mr McFadzean called on the federal government to keep most of the nation’s fossil fuel reserves in the ground and facilitate a rapid transition to renewable energy.

“Based on government and industry projections, Australia’s domestic and exported gas emissions could account for up to 3.4 per cent of global climate pollution by 2030.”

Australia is continuing to pursue the opening of new coal mines such as Adani, with others proposed Queensland’s Galilee Basin, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Western Australia.

Last month, new data from the Department of Environment and Energy revealed Australia’s greenhouse emissions in 2018 had risen for a third consecutive year.

However the Federal emissions minister Angus Taylor countered the report, saying Australia’s emissions were their lowest in 29 years.

Mr Taylor said Australia was contributing to a reduction in other countries’ coal emissions by exporting liquified natural gas which was cleaner than coal.

The Morrison Government has committed to a $3.5 billion Climate Solutions Package to deliver on Australia’s 2030 Paris climate commitments.

The package includes a $2 billion Climate Solutions Fund encouraging farmers, businesses and Indigenous communities to undertake emissions reductions projects.

-with AAP