Australia can claim a new title: In the same way that the US and Syria are the only two countries to have either not signed or vowed to quit the Paris climate agreement, Australia can now lay claim with Turkey to be the only developed countries to break fossil fuel emissions records.
According to The Australia Institute’s newly released National Energy Emissions Audit, compiled by Dr Hugh Saddler, Australia’s annual emissions from energy use have increased to their highest ever level, higher than the previous peak seen eight years ago, in 2009.
“Australia’s failure to invest in efficient transport infrastructure, such as rail, has led to emissions from transport fuels continuing to grow, again, unlike the rest of the developed world,” Saddler says in the report.
“The continued rise in fuel emissions demonstrates why requiring a reduction for the electricity sector that is only equal to the Paris target would likely see Australia fail to meet its international commitment,” Dr Saddler said.
The main contributions to this disturbing record are an increase in petroleum and particularly diesel consumption, and there is no indication of when or if this growth will stop. It is more than offsetting a fall in electricity emissions.
That’s because Australia has no policies to address this. It doesn’t even have emissions standards for vehicles (or much else for that matter).