Dr Coulter continued, “Professor Garnaut in his recent supplementary report pointed out that an overall 10% reduction in national emissions by 2020 would require a 30% cut in per capita emissions but failed to draw the obvious conclusion that the Rudd Government’s push for ever higher population growth is making the job of reducing our national emissions much harder, some might say impossible. In a similar way ABARE has drawn attention to improvement in the energy efficiency of the Australian economy (energy used to generate a dollar of GDP). But as long as the rate of economic growth exceeds the rate of this improvement, energy consumption and greenhouse emissions will continue to grow and ABARE makes this point also. “Between 1970 and 2005 global per capita emissions fell ever so slightly (approximately 3-4%) while total emissions rose steeply. In short, both globally and in Australia our success in reducing our per capita emissions is being negated by population growth.
“Mr Rudd seems to have forgotten that the Hawke/Keating Government promised in 1990 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 20% below the 1988 level and to do this by 2005. But the Hawke/Keating Government, like the Rudd Government of today, gave its highest priority to more growth rather than environmental sustainability and history records the result of that choice in terms of growth in emissions.
“Kevin Rudd has failed to acknowledge correspondence making these points and seeking a meeting to discuss them. His Ministers have refused meetings to discuss the important links between population and economic growth and Australia’s present environmentally unsustainable trajectory. In this he has shown himself committed
to growth rather than environmental sustainability.
“Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat its mistakes”, concluded Dr Coulter.
For further information or comment:
Dr John Coulter, National President, Sustainable Population Australia.
Tel: 08/8388 2153