We need to develop low-greenhouse-intensive but prosperous economies that will satisfy people's material aspirations without the cost of rapid climate change.
How much do we need to reduce greenhouse emissions?
If the world is to reduce its greenhouse emissions to 50% of 1990 levels by 2050, then, given an expected population of 9 billion by then, the world must reduce its per capita emissions to around 2 t CO2e per person per year. (1990 emissions of CO2, CH4 and N20 were around 35 Gt CO2e.)
Note: In 2006, world per capita emissions are around 6 t CO2e per year (world emissions are around 40 Gt CO2e per year; world population is around 6.5 billion.) So taking per capita emissions down to 2 t CO2e per person per year would be a threefold reduction.
Australia's greenhouse emissions in 2003 were around 28 t CO2e per person per year. If Australia aspires to converge on a world per capita emissions level of 2 t CO2e per person by 2050, it faces a significant challenge. It must reduce its annual per capita emissions by 5.5% per year, hence to around 11 t CO2e by 2020.
Replacing Coal-Fired Power Stations
Coal (especially brown coal) burning power stations generate very greenhouse intensive electricity. Replacing them with other sources of electricity could be a cost effective way of reducing greenhouse emissions.
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Oil Chief Raises Greenhouse Fears. ABC. 2004.6
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