Reducing Australia’s Carbon Emissions

The Green Cities 08 conference speakers made repeated references to the scale of the carbon emissions problem and the need to take substantial and immediate action to avoid severe climate change effects. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is already above the stabilization level to keep global temperatures within 2 degrees of current levels. Speakers also pointed out that Australia is the largest emitter of CO2 on a per capita basis.

An important reference for decision makers on the options available to reduce carbon emission has been the McKinsey report An Australian Cost Curve 

for Greenhouse Gas Reduction.  One of the key recommendations reinforces attention on the building sector because it can reduce carbon emissions for a relatively low cost. In fact McKinsey points out that reducing carbon emissions by better insulating buildings has no life cycle costs – in effect they come free of charge.

The Sydney Morning Herald (15-2-08) also reports “Significantly reducing Australia\’s greenhouse gas emissions is achievable and affordable but requires rapid action,” (Quoting from the McKinsey report). It notes, “The scale of changes required is substantial.” Mr Gorner, (From McKinsey and Company), rejected suggestions that the report was too optimistic but said: “You have to act now to make it happen.”

Reducing emissions in the building sector, cutting emissions from air-conditioners, hot water systems, lighting and appliances will be the most economic way of cutting emissions because the savings to the consumer will pay for the changes, the report finds. (SMH 15/2/08)

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