Australian Government Lied About Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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(How long will it be before we read similar reports on the Canadian government?)

From The Canberra Times, December 4, 2007

The Howard government misled the United Nations over the scale of its efforts to tackle climate change and meet its Kyoto emission reduction targets, according to senior government sources.

They claim Australia’s greenhouse emissions were "considerably higher" than those quoted in a 2005 report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the discrepancy may have been as high as 20 per cent.

Sources say the scale and success of research efforts were also over-stated in the report, with the government boasting of its support for renewable energy programs that were struggling to continue because of federal funding cuts.

The federal government’s claims of support for climate change research also came at a time when several senior CSIRO scientists were rebuked and subsequently forced out of their jobs by government pressure for publicly discussing climate change issues.

The 2005 report to the UN summarised the progress made by Australia to meet its domestic and international actions to address climate change under a global agreement signed by 192 countries.

In the report, the Department of Environment and Heritage and the Australian Greenhouse Office claimed Australia’s greenhouse emissions had increased by just over 1 per cent between 1990 and 2003.

The report said Australia was on track to meet its Kyoto Protocol target of limiting emissions to 108 per cent of 1990 levels by 2012, and claimed Australia’s per capita emissions had decreased by just more than 12 per cent.

But a subsequent World Bank report revealed Australia’s annual carbon dioxide emissions had increased by 107 million tonnes, or 38 per cent, between 1994 and 2004.

Australia’s per capita emissions declined by 7.5 per cent between 1991 and 2001, because of new state laws curbing clearing of native bushland. While per capita emissions from land clearing dropped by 12 per cent, greenhouse emissions from other sources, such as road transport and coal-fire electricity, grew by 5 per cent.

Australia is now the developed world’s biggest greenhouse polluter with per capita emissions of more than 26 tonnes a person.