Australia becomes world’s third-largest fossil fuel exporter

BYYasir Rehman


Australia has become the world’s third-largest fossil fuel exporter after Russia and Saudi Arabia, notable think tank The Australia Institute claimed in his report on Monday.

While Russia (12%) and Saudi Arabia (9%) have the biggest share of the world’s fossil fuel exports, Australia is third with 6.8 per cent based on carbon emission potential negating federal government claims that Australia’s emissions are small on global scale.

“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”, Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program reported.

The new research also finds that in absolute terms Australia is the world’s fifth largest miner of fossil fuels, ranking behind only China, USA, 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 concluded that Australia is the largest fossil fuel exporter in the OECD, making up 20% of the total.

New study found that Australia’s fossil fuel exports are almost three-quarters (74%) the size of all exports from all EU countries combined, and more than double any individual EU country. Australia’s fossil fuel production is one and a half times the size of all EU countries’ production combined.

“On any reasonable assessment of the data, the climate impact of Australia’s fossil fuel industry are immense,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute.

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.

In absolute terms, Australia is the fifth biggest miner of fossil fuel carbon, behind only China, the USA, Russia and Saudi Arabia, and ten times the world average per capita.

Australia mines more fossil fuel carbon than Indonesia, India, Canada, Iran and Iraq.

“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”, Richie Merzian claimed.

Indonesia, Canada, Iraq, United Arab Emirates and Qatar export less fossil fuels than Australia.

He said 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 Qatar.

 He emphasized that 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”, Richie Merzian argued.