Comparison of emission sources and emission trends among OECD countries

by Clive Hamilton

This study, prepared for the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, is an analysis of the structure and causes of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia compared to a number of other OECD countries. The principal result to emerge from the statistical analysis is that Australia’s emissions of greenhouse gases are very high compared to other OECD countries. Total emissions per unit of GDP in 1990 were 1.92 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per US$1000 of GDP. The equivalent figure for the USA was 1.04 and for Canada 0.99. The results of this study suggest that equal policy emphasis should be placed on non-energy emissions. An end to land clearing and changes to livestock farming methods could have a large impact on emissions over time. The importance of land-use policies could be substantially enhanced by faster establishment of forest plantations.

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