People and Place
Authors: Bob Birrell and Ernest Healy, Volume 17, Issue 4 (2009)
The Australian Government has stated an unconditional commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by five per cent on year 2000 levels by 2020. However, in the absence of new abatement measures, Treasury-led modelling indicates that Australia’s emissions will grow from 553 million tonnes in 2000 to 774 million tonnes in 2020. This article disaggregates the Treasury modelling in order to estimate the contribution of population expansion to this growth. It shows that 83 per cent of the forecast increase in greenhouse emissions to 2020 will be attributable to population growth. The article concludes that it is very unlikely that Australia will achieve the five per cent reduction target by 2020 in the absence of attention to the population growth factor.
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