Report: Australia Ranks Third for Fossil Fuel Export

coal mining

Published Aug 18, 2019 7:00 PM by The Maritime Executive

The climate impact of Australia’s fossil fuel (coal, oil, gas) exports ranks behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia exports in terms of global emissions, according to a report from the Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program.

The research also finds that in absolute terms Australia is the world’s fifth largest miner of fossil fuels, ranking behind only China, the U.S., Russia and Saudi Arabia. On a per capita basis, Australia is on par with Saudi Arabia.

The analysis, which compares emissions from burning fossil fuels mined and exported, also finds:

• Australia accounts for seven percent of all fossil fuel exports, behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia.
• Australia is the largest fossil fuel exporter in the OECD, making up 20 percent of the total.
• Australia’s fossil fuel exports are almost three-quarters the size of all exports from all E.U. countries combined, and more than double any individual E.U. country. Australia’s fossil fuel production is one and a half times the size of all E.U. countries’ production combined.
• Australia’s fossil fuel exports are higher than those from Indonesia, Canada, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, or Qatar, and nearly four times larger than those from Venezuela or Colombia.
• Australia mines more fossil fuel carbon than Indonesia, India, Canada, Iran and Iraq.
• Australia’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions are higher than 40 countries that have larger populations than Australia, putting Australia at 14th globally.
• Per capita, Australia’s emissions are the highest in the OECD, and globally behind only smaller petro-states such as Qatar.

Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute, said: “Many argue Australia’s emissions are small on a global scale, but this research shows the complete opposite: our domestic emissions are large and our exported emissions are even larger. Australia has a unique opportunity and obligation to face up to the climate crisis through policies to manage a decline in its carbon exports, starting with a moratorium on new coal mines.

“Beyond the economic and national security self-interest in replacing Australia fossil fuel exports with alternatives, Australia has a profound global obligation to reduce emissions.”

The report is available here.