- JoNova - https://joannenova.com.au -

China produces the same emissions in 18 days as Australia does in one year

China, Australia, Carbon Emissions, Graph 2016.Oh the futility. Australia’s entire annual production of carbon from all that mining, construction, industry and everything is replicated in China every 18 days.

If we cut our emissions by an obscene, bleeding 25%, we will spend billions and yet China will undo all our hair-shirt “savings” in just 5 normal days. (And that’s at current rates, it gets worse by 2030).

Australia is a giant coal and iron quarry built at the far end of the Earth, with a tiny, but rapidly growing population spread across a vast land. Transport distances are eye-watering. We run 94% of everything off  fossil fuels and there are no more easy cuts to be made. Gaia gave us more uranium than any other country but we are religiously opposed to nuclear power. (What would it take to change that — a bomb from China?). We’ve got more Sun, hot rocks and empty space than anywhere, so if solar, wind or geothermal were going to work on Planet Earth, it would be here. We are God’s Gift to the renewable industry — yet they all fail. (Today, Flannery’s Geothermal project crashed,  last week Windorah’s solar farm shut, and last month, the whole state of South Australia nearly closed.) Earlier this year Tasmania — the renewables wonderland was flying in emergency diesel generators and seeding clouds to make electricity.

If China’s emissions increase (how could they not) then by 2030 it will only take China 8 days to outdo a 100% cut in Australian emissions.

In other words — by 2030, for all the pain it takes us to achieve a 25% cut in our current emissions. It will only China 2 days to undo our “gain”.

Thanks to Tom Quirk for graphing these from the COP 21 data (Paris UN meeting) — Jo


Guest post by Tom Quirk

Australian target for annual CO2 emissions in 2030 is equal to the annual increase in emissions from China in 2030. At that time China will match Australia’s annual emissions in 8 days.

The data for China for 1970 to 2013 comes from CDIAC, For the year 2014 Edgar[i] reports that the emissions increase is one third of the increase in 2013.

Table, Australian CO2 emissions, China, greenhouse gas emissions.

Each year China adds “another Australia” to its output.

Australia, China, Emissions CO2, climate change, 2016 - 2030, projected emissions, megatons, Graph.


Though notice the falloff in the last few years as China’s bubble economy pops. (Remember that graph showing the freaky sudden input of the Chinese government last December?)

We can also compare total Australian emissions with total Chinese emissions:

China, Australia, Graph emissions, Megaton, CO2.


For the number nerds – -the log graph:

China, Australia, Megatons, CO2 emissions, 2016, projected to 2030, graph.


For China the key pledge is a 60% cut to the 2005 CO2 emission intensity (CO2 emissions per unit of GDP).

The table below shows the relationship of GDP to CO2 emissions. The estimates used to calculate the 2030 emissions are based on 4% annual GDP growth and a pledged CO2 intensity of 0.96 CO2 in tonnes C-equiv per $10,000 of GDP.


Population 2012 (million)

GDP per capita 2013 (World Bank)

CO2 emissions per capita in  tonnes C  2012 (CDIAC)

CO2 Intensity: CO2 per GDP in tonnes C per $10,000 GDP













[i] The Edgar analysis agrees with the CDIAC results for 2012 and 2013/


[1]  http://www.carbonbrief.org/paris-2015-tracking-country-climate-pledges

[2]  http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/meth_reg.html

[3]  http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/greenhouse-gas-measurement/tracking-emissions

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