Furiously preparing a powerpoint presentation for tomorrow from a hotel in Dubbo, I have stumbled across the following information:
Australia is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs)per capita in the world, using figures from the US Energy Information Administration website.
The four highest figures for 1990 appear to be: Australia, 27.7 tons CO2 equivalent; United States, 25.2 tons; New Zealand, 24.8 tons and Canada 21.2 tons.
In 2002, Australia was still highest, but down from 27.7 to 26.8 tons; then US, down from 25.2 to 24.2 tons; then Canada, up from 21.2 to 23.4 tons; and New Zealand, down from 24.8 tons to 19.8 tons.
The reason that New Zealand is so high (though down by 20% between 1990 and 2002) is because of their large emissions of CH4 (methane) and N2O (nitrous oxide) in agriculture. In NZ, agricultural emissions from these sources amounted to two-thirds of their total emissions in 1990 – 16.5 tons per head from agriculture alone in New Zealand, compared with an average for the EU for all six Kyoto GHGs of only 11.1 tons.
If one deducted the emissions arising from exports of agricultural products from New Zealand from the NZ total, and added them to the emissions of the countries that imported those products (the EU countries being among the largest importers), the picture would be quite different.
Australia’s emissions of CH4 and N2O from agriculture are also high – 10.1 tons in 1990. Again much of the produce is exported. And of course this country also emits large amounts of carbon dioxide in the production of coal, iron, bauxite & alumina & refined metals such as aluminium, nickel, lead, zinc and copper.
Nearly the whole of the output of these industries is exported to other countries for use in a variety of manufacturing industries, which again leads to emissions. Then the Swiss, who make no cars, buy their Mercedes and BMWs and show the rest of the world how easy it is to be rich and clean.
One of the reasons that Canada’s emissions went up and the US went down between 1990 and 2002 is that the integrated operations of Ford and GM led to more of the North American production being on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes and less in Detroit.