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Shut down Australia and save 0.01 degrees

Posted By Joanne Nova On March 2, 2011 @ 6:02 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

CARTOON: Australia, carbon emissions, temperature, sea level rise, tax

The key question — with all the billions spent on cutting Australia’s carbon production: the trade and income lost; the jobs cut; the pain of living near wind farms; the foreign holidays avoided and then paying more for petrol and electricity than we have to — how many degrees will our actions cool the world by?

Assuming the IPCC are right about the effects of CO2, and that Australia stopped producing CO2 entirely (if we all left the country) by 2100 the world would be 0.0123 degrees cooler, and sea levels would be 2mm lower. These are so small they are unmeasureable.

Abandon Australia and save


The statistics every Australian should know:

  • Australia produced 1.38% of global human emissions of CO2 in 2011. (EIA, 2011a)
  • Each year global emissions increase by twice Australia’s total annual output. (2.8%/year (EIA, 2011a). If we all emigrated and left a bare deserted continent, it puts off the warmer Armageddon by just six months.

The numbers were calculated with Wigley 1998 protocol assuming that Australia would otherwise have kept producing about 3% of the total CO2 emissions of developed countries. The SPPI estimate uses Wigley’s (1998) mid-range emissions scenario (which itself is based upon the IPCC’s scenario “IS92a”):

Read the full SPPI paper by Chip Knappenberger: Impacts of Climate Mitigation Measures in Australia.

Where’s the value for money Julia?

The theme of 2011 will be to keep repeating the question:

How much will it cost and how many degrees will it save?

This is surely the most expensive, all encompassing legislative proposal ever tabled that will produce (at best) a benefit so small that its unmeasurable.

Extra Info

See this link for more details about how hard it is for us just to reduce emissions slightly: Australia can meet its 2020 targets with just 35 nuclear power plants or 8000 solar ones!


Wigley, T. M. L. (1998), The Kyoto Protocol: CO2 CH4 and climate implications, Geophys. Res. Lett., 25(13), 2285–2288, doi:10.1029/98GL01855

Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2010. International Energy Outlook 2010.

U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2011a. International Energy Statistics, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.

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