The 1.3 per cent

The Saturday Paper - - Diary -

How of­ten do we read that there is no point in Aus­tralia meet­ing the Paris emis­sions tar­gets be­cause we only emit 1.3 per cent of the global to­tal of car­bon diox­ide?

That’s in­fin­i­tes­i­mal, so why all this fuss­ing about emis­sions and re­new­ables, when the United States and China are each pump­ing out 30 per cent of the to­tal of the cli­mate-change nas­ties?

This is one of the favourite themes of nostrum-ped­dlers such as L’il Kris Kenny.

Yet all the coun­tries that emit 1.3 per cent or less amount col­lec­tively to 26 per cent of to­tal car­bon emis­sions – a fairly big chunk. If all the small emit­ters did some­thing to meet our tar­gets “at a can­ter” then we would make a dif­fer­ence.

It was the group­ing of low-ly­ing coun­tries in par­tic­u­lar that pushed for a 1.5 per cent limit in the rise of prein­dus­trial av­er­age tem­per­a­tures at the Paris sum­mit. As sum­mer soon sets in, with storms and sear­ing heat, we’ll think warmly of the Min­er­als Coun­cil, the coal lobby and their claque­urs in the me­dia, who have our pur­blind gov­ern­ment in a squir­rel grip.

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