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Australia

TOTAL POPULATION

23.5 million YEAR 2014

CO₂ EMISSIONS

361,200 kt COUNTRY, YEAR 2014

14,272,100 kt East Asia and Pacific, YEAR 2014

“A 26 to 28% reduction in emissions by 2030 on 2005 levels.”

PARIS AGREEMENT TARGET

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011
PlanA Newsletter

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CLIMATE SIGNIFICANCE

Australia boasts abundant natural resources which attract high levels of international investment. The country has significant reserves of coal, iron, copper, natural gas, and uranium, as well as opportunities for renewable energy.

Though Australia’s extremely dry climate makes it exceptionally vulnerable to the damaging effects of climate change, the issue has until recently remained relatively minor in the nation’s politics. In 2014, a landmark study published by Australia's Bureau of Meteorology highlighted the risks posed by rising average temperatures and the increasing frequency of droughts, wildfires, and floods. 

Due to their geographical isolation from the rest of the world, Australia’s native species are often found nowhere else. The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef is fast disappearing (50% of it is gone already) and could be entirely dead in the next 5-10 years due to warming and acidifying oceans. 

Additionally, the country’s increasing population and water-thirsty activities such as cattle ranching or extractive industries strain the limited water resources, while rainfall has become more erratic and extreme. Australia’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions are among the world’s highest. Australia has experienced these past two years “the big dry”, one of the toughest and longest droughts in its history. Perth has come just days away from completely drying up.

Under a new government, Australia joined the Paris Agreement in 2015. Most recently, a controversial (not to say scandalous) coal mine project led by Indian giant Adani has gathered so many forces against it that it cost Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull his seat. The project is on pause thanks to a worldwide uproar, but not repealed. Can Australia turn away from its old pillar to enter a new economic era?


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DATA INSIGHTS

Australia is classified as a high-income country by the World Bank. The history of carbon emissions and exposure to climate risk provides useful insights into Australia's position in the fight against climate change. The following plots provide an overview of Australia’s historic greenhouse gas emissions in perspective with global emission levels, as well as the country’s climate action and sustainability performance.


Australia Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Australia’s timeline of total GHG emissions and the percentage change from 1990

Australia Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Australia’s timeline of total GHG emissions and the percentage change from 1990

Australia Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Australia Sustainable Development Goals Index (SDGI)

Australia's performance on sustainable development

Australia Sustainable Development Goals Index (SDGI)

Australia's performance on sustainable development

Australia Sustainable Development Goals Index (SDGI)
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