Immigration Rates Into Australia Impact Carbon Emissions

Australia

Population policy to impact emissions targets

Phys, June 14, 2016

Current immigration rates into Australia, and associated projected population growth, will make greenhouse gas emissions targets even more difficult to achieve in the future, a University of Adelaide-led study has found.

The researchers investigated how much Australia needs to reduce its per capita emissions to achieve future  under six different immigration scenarios: zero net immigration; ‘business-as-usual’ net intake of 215,000 people/year; constant proportional immigration of 1 percent of the total population; total net intake of 20,000 and 100,000 a year; and doubling the net total immigration.

Australians are among the highest per capita greenhouse gas emitters on the planet, exuding a whopping 25-27 tonnes of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide equivalents) per person per year, says Professor Bradshaw, Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change at the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute. By way of comparison, the French emit 5.2 tonnes, the Chinese 6.7 tonnes, the Canadians 14.1 tonnes and the Americans 17.0 tonnes – our emissions record is appalling.

The researchers looked at the current national targets of 5 percent reduction on year 2000 emissions by 2020, and 26-28 percent reduction on year 2005 emissions by 2030, as well as an earlier, no longer in place, target of 80 percent reduction on year 2000 emissions by 2050.

Australia's 80% emissions reduction by 2050 requires a drop to 3-5 tonnes emissions per person. Click To Tweet

They found that achieving the 2030 target of 27 percent reduction (the median of 26-28 percent) would require a drop in per capita yearly emissions to between 12.5 and 17.4 tonnes by 2030, depending on the immigration scenario.

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