The global agreement – to which Australia is a signatory – states that parties “have the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other States”. Which means consumers of imported manufactured goods and exporters of fossil fuels should be held accountable for their roles in the co-production of emissions released at a “distance”.

Coal Fired Power Plants          Click to enlarge

While Australia is honouring its obligation to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions, by the closure of several coal fired power stations and replacing them with expensive and intermittent renewables, it has been offset by its outsourcing of emissions in the purchase of an increasingly high proportion of manufactured products from overseas countries, who, under the Paris accord, have no requirement to reduce emissions, and are using coal fired stations in the manufacture of goods exported to Australia.

According to Greenpeace,


Australia’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions ranks 12th among the planet’s 195-plus nations. We are 16th in the world for domestic CO2 emissions alone.

Australian Coal Mining Boom   Click to enlarge

And our per capita emissions are among the highest in the world. So our contribution to global warming is much greater than what we are prepared to admit. The U N framework requires nations to account for emissions produced within their borders.  However this approach displaces and unjustly lessens the burden of responsibility of states, companies and consumers that sit “before” or “after” the point where those emissions are released. If the planned increases in Australian coal and gas exports are realised our carbon footprint will more than double again over the coming decades.

By 2030, Australia would be indirectly responsible for over two billion tonnes of exported GHG emissions per year.

Little attention had been paid to the trade in unprocessed (or unburned) fossil fuels, which shifts responsibility for emissions from fossil fuel exporting nations and companies to the middle-consumers (the states and companies involved in producing emissions using these fuels for power or manufacturing).  Very convenient for the beneficiaries – countries such as Australia, Canada, the Russian Federation,and Saudi Arabia.

The U K Guardian wrote: While China has become the world’s biggest producer of greenhouse-gas emissions, it has also become the world’s second biggest economy on the back of the enormous exports from its vast manufacturing sector.

This means that, in effect, consumers from developed countries have paid China to take on responsibility for more greenhouse-gas emissions.

The Chinese government is reluctant to deal with the problem, insisting that China is taking on voluntary emissions-reduction targets, but is resistant to moves that would force Chinese manufacturers to obey stricter emissions limits.


  1. Sceptical says:

    The coal mining opponents were delighted when our government signed up to the Paris Accord but not so the union movement whose members employed in the manufacturing industry will lose their jobs.
    There should have been a plebiscite to decide whether Australia should have been a signatory to this dodgy agreement. We should have had an independent inquiry into this climate madness. More than half the world warming in the last 150 years has occurred before 1943.

  2. Nick says:

    I am disappointed that we could be so greedy yet dumb not to have not put a limit on our coal exports instead we are gearing up to remain the worlds largest with all the new coal mines we will be operating in the coming years. If we keep increasing the exportation of our coal to these countries it will remain a disincentive for them to invest in the more costly clean energy.

  3. Taylor says:

    Hydrogen could be the clean power source of the future. Japan’s car makers are preparing to adopt it. Victoria will build a plant in Gippsland which involves the burning of brown coal in its production. While the process will emit significant amounts of CO2 there are no further emissions from the use of hydrogen.

    • Della says:

      The only byproduct of electric cars powered by hydrogen will be water out the tail pipe–not CO2 and soot or the other nasty gases coming from the exhausts of petrol driven vehicles. We already have the technology.

  4. Giants says:

    The measures we have put in place to limit global warming by reducing CO2 emissions seems to be working. Since the end of 2016, the hottest year on record, there has been a significant drop in global temperatures particularly in the northern hemisphere where the arctic sea ice, according to the ABC radio, has increased to where it was back in 2007. This year Western Sydney had one of its coolest summers on record, further proof that we are on the right track with the CO2 reduction.

  5. Julian says:

    I wrote to you some time back about the technology which enables the extraction of carbon dioxide from the air. This can be done on a large scale and could be partially financed by large emitters wanting to purchasing CO2 to offset their carbon footprint. The captured carbon dioxide could then be stored underground or sold to nursery hot houses etc.

    • Florida Mansions says:

      We need to do the sums but coal fired plants could be one of the main contributors which might justify their existence and still deliver much cheaper and more reliable power than what we have now with the renewables. The motor vehicle industry and other major emitters would also have to be involved. I am not sure whether NOAA, NASA and the IPCC, who measure and evaluate global temperatures would welcome any diversion that would lead to a reduction of their influence.

  6. Sally Pride of Our Alley says:

    Why should we rush into closing down our coal fired stations in favor of expensive intermittent wind and solar while other countries are building more of theirs. The cost of power will drive up costs and make whats left of our manufacturing industry non competitive.

  7. Dave says:

    At least we can prove that we are choking the oceans and waterways with plastic rubbish. I don’t think there is anyone on this planet who would not agree with that. The global warming theory is only a theory which certain people are milking for all their worth to obtain government funding.
    The biggest mistake the alarmists ever made was to place their trust in Michael Mann who was proven a liar when he deliberately misled congress.

  8. Nick says:


    The above is the link where Mann lied to the committee.

  9. Denier says:

    Mann’s “Hockey Stick”, the poster child of the believers, was hastily published on the eve of an important climate conference. It was at last “proof” that the the world was experiencing unprecedented warming. McKitrick and McIntyre set out to prove the “theory” was nonsense.

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