Message to Garnaut: It’s tourism or the Barrier Reef, not both (Feb)

22 February 2008

Media Releases 2008

If Professor Ross Garnaut wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 90 per cent, then

air travel and much of tourism has to go, according to Sustainable Population

Australia Inc. (SPA).

SPA National President, Dr John Coulter, commended Professor Garnaut’s call for

cuts of 90 per cent or more but criticised him for saying the task would be easy.

“It’s not going to be easy. Life cannot continue as we know it today. Professor

Garnaut dangerously underestimates the task. He runs the risk that our efforts to cut

emissions will falter when we realise we have been misled,” said Dr Coulter.

“A 90 per cent cut would demand Australia cut its per capita emissions from 28

tonnes CO2e/year (carbon dioxide equivalents a year) to 2.8 tonnes/year,” he says.

“Yet every Australian government is promoting tourism and its associated

institutional and material infrastructure vigorously. Tourism is a major component in

the present Australian economy.

“But tourism in and out of Australia is overwhelmingly based on air travel and it is

expected that air transport will grow at 4.1 per cent every year, that is, doubling every

17 years,” says Dr Coulter.

The Australian Greenhouse Office says greenhouse emissions associated with air

travel are 158 grams CO2e per passenger kilometre so a single round-the-world trip

causes almost 4 tonnes of emissions.

“This is the equivalent of total allowable emissions over 17 months in a greenhouse

constrained world (4/2.8 = 1.4 years),” says Dr Coulter.

“There is no alternative to fossil fuel for air transport. The choice is stark: the Great

Barrier Reef into the future or mass tourism for a few more short years. We can’t have


Further information: John Coulter 08 8388 2153


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