Yuka Yoneda

Australians Are the Worst Polluters in the World

by , 09/11/09
filed under: global warming

australia world's worst polluter, worst polluters list, global warming, climate change, carbon dioxide

It’s official. While Americans had long had the honor (or, in this case, dishonor) of being the world’s biggest individual producers of carbon dioxide, Australians have overtaken them to claim the top spot. In a recently released report, British risk consultancy Maplecroft placed Australia’s per capita CO2 output at 20.58 tons a year, which is about four percent higher than the United States. The other three top five biggest losers were Canada, the Netherlands (quite surprisingly) and Saudi Arabia. To Australia’s credit, it has committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25 percent by 2020 compared to 2000 levels, meaning that Americans could once again be labeled “World’s Worst Polluters” if we don’t get our acts together. To be fair, many individual Aussies, like our very own Jorge Chapa, are extremely green, and hopefully offset some of their homeland’s unsustainable ways.

Image courtesy of ABC News

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4 Comments

  1. stefano September 29, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    You cannot classify Australia as the most polluting country, calculating the “per capita” quantity of green house emissions; of course, we are a highly civilized and developed country; others, simply don’t!

    The solution to global warming, IS to lower emissions; BUT, even if ALL 21 millions Australians would go green instant;y tomorrow, there would be still some other Billions of people polluting the earth.

    What would be the solution then?
    A global effort, of course!
    But, countries such as India, China (and the U.S.) will never give up their right to develop; yes, they do have that right, but, unfortunately, in the “development” theater there are no seats anymore. They have all been taken by other countries, that have got there first.

    It’s not fair? Yes, it’s not fair, but that’s how it is.

    See, this planet is like a boat; there is only so much space; you put too much people on it, and it WILL sink, I promise you.

    “Developing” countries should be wise enough to wait until the problem is worked out; but they will NEVER wait.

    The solution to global warming is to make them understand that they DO have that right, just now now. Otherwise, we all die.

    Cheers, Stefano.

  2. matthewbrunswick September 15, 2009 at 11:35 am

    I also live in Australia, and I know that in Victoria, in the colder south, most houses have almost no insulation, and don’t have gas heating, instead relying on electric heating, even in recent buildings. However electricity is very cheap, because coal is. In the summer air conditioning is used excessively to off set buildings lack of insulation.

    Most of Australias population are concentrated in the cities, more so than almost any other country excluding city states like Singapore. However due to progessively larger residential blocks, suburbs have spread massively, leading to reliance on cars (V6 or V8 commonly) to commute, rather than public transport.

    I can only hope that knowing we’re top per capita, with the money, technology, education levels – the ability to sort it out, will spur Australians to reduce their footprints.

  3. desertshiela September 15, 2009 at 3:27 am

    As an Aussie this news saddens me. Part of the problem is that we have a comparatively small population spread over a vast geography (21M over 7.6M sq km compared to 305M over 9M sq km in the US). The scale of logistics is staggering!!! Just imagine how much energy is required to move food, people, electricity and other goods between communities, which are largely concentrated around the coast.

    I could also argue over the label ‘worst polluters in the world’ (I know this is not an Inhabitat label) when it’s based on a per capita average. Is this figure reliable when China produces over 20x the total carbon emissions of Australia? Suddenly Australia doesn’t look so bad.

    This game of ranking nations according to their carbon output is really just an excuse to point the finger and is not moving us any closer to a solution. We all, as humans on this earth, rely on fossil fuels for energy. So until we can develop new technologies which will wean us off our diet of fossil fuels, this political game is pointless.

  4. SamLowry September 13, 2009 at 6:55 am

    Woo! We’re number 1!

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