Burning coal is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 20% of emissions globally. That’s why NASA’s Prof. James Hansen says
Coal is the single greatest threat to civilisation, and all life on this planet.
Australia is both the world’s largest coal exporter and there are plans on the drawing board to triple Australia’s coal exports this decade. We export most of our coal to India and China, two of the world’s biggest emitters. Our government claims that although we are the suppliers of this destructive source of energy, we have no responsibility for the emissions. The government claims that India and China, as the buyers, are solely responsible.
Australia is also one of the world’s highest per capita emitters. Professor John Schellnhuber, arguably Europe’s top climate scientist, has developed a widely accepted carbon budget model for avoiding more than 2°C warming. Under this budget, high per capita emitters Australia and the USA need to reduce GHG emissions to zero by the end of this decade.
With the Coalition government set to repeal the carbon tax and huge plans to increase our coal exports, Australia has slipped down to the bottom of the rankings on the global climate change performance index. We are now the 57th worst country for action on climate change out of 61.