Stop the emissions cut delusion

Eighty Australian Research Council (ARC) laureates have signed an open letter demanding strong action to make deep cuts to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions:

Eighty of Australia’s top academics have written an open letter declaring an “urgent need for deep cuts” to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions following the current unprecedented bushfire crisis.

The letter calls on Australian governments to “acknowledge the gravity of the threat posed by climate change driven by human activities” and “reduce greenhouse gas emissions in time to safeguard against catastrophe”.

“We owe this to younger generations and those who come after them, who will bear the brunt of our decisions”…

The researchers note that Australia cannot fix the problem on its own, but argue Australia’s “visibility as ground zero for both climate impacts and climate policy uncertainty” means we could become a leader on the issue.

“Doing so will aid our economy, strengthen our standing in international affairs and relations with neighbours, and help secure Australia and the world from the impacts of climate change.”

Let me state again that I believe the threat from climate change is real and requires a global effort to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Moreover, Australia should support the Paris Agreement on emissions reduction if it expects other nations to do so.

However, Australia will never meet its emissions target while it continues to grow its population by around one million people every three years via mass immigration.

Australia has pledged to cut emissions by 26% on 2005 levels by 2030, under the Paris Agreement. However, since 2005 Australia’s population has already grown by 5.2 million people (26%), and by 2030 Australia’s population is projected by the ABS to be 9.6 million (47%) larger than it was in 2005.

Further, as shown in the next chart, which plots the ABS’ medium (Panel B) population projections, Australia’s population will hit around 43 million people by 2066, 17.5 million more than what would occur under zero net overseas migration (NOM):

These 17.5 million extra people in Australia will obviously consume vast resources and emit huge quantities of greenhouse gasses. They also means that Australia would need to cut its per capita emissions by around two-thirds just to keep total emissions at current levels (other things equal), let alone reduce them.

Remember, around one quarter of Australia’s emissions come from the construction, operation and maintenance of buildings. Therefore, as Australia’s population soars by a projected 17.5 million, so too will the number of buildings required to house the population, driving emission upwards.

While Australia’s emissions undoubtedly depend on many factors – including our energy use patterns, exports, and how we live – nobody can deny the fact that Australia’s mass immigration policy will make it next to impossible to meet our targets nor safeguard Australia’s environment.

Immigration-fuelled population growth is unambiguously threatening Australia’s ability to meet its Paris Agreement emissions targets, as well as placing undue strain on its fragile natural environment.

If Australia’s is to be a global leader on emissions reductions, it must also be a global leader on population stabilisation.

Leith van Onselen
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Comments

  1. Australian science (AAS and Flannery) used to recommend that our fragile continent had to live within its carrying capacity.

    They soon realised they’d bought the wrong sheet music. Now they recommend reduced emissions on top of endless growth.

    Just like Ross Garnaut and everybody else.

  2. Excuse my ignorance on this matter but are a country’s emission targets calculated on a per capital basis or are they an absolute target? If the former then would unbridled migrant intake be really that much of a hurdle for Australia to overcome. BTW I am not advocating for increased migrant intake. I come from a star that is an economic backwater but even I can see what this population push is doing to our state. There is a crush for all resources. I don’t know how the citizens of Melbourne and Sydney are tolerating this avalanche of people.

  3. kiwikarynMEMBER

    Didn’t one billion animals die in the fires? Right there, thats your emissions cuts. Just like in NZ, as we already have fully renewable power generation, all our emissions are the cows’ fault, and we only have 6 million cows. Imagine if NZ got rid of 1 billion!