Greenhouse Reduction


We need to develop low-greenhouse-intensive but prosperous economies that will satisfy people's material aspirations without the cost of rapid climate change.

The Challenge

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.


The Big Switch. Vanessa Baird. New Internationalist. 2003.6

A Clean Energy Future for Australia. WWF. 2004

Climate Change Policy For India. Warwick McKibbin. 2004

Climate Change Solutions. New Internationalist. 2003.6

Climate Change Solutions for Australia. Australian Climate Group

Climate Solutions - WWF's Vision for 2050. WWF. 2007

Everything Counts - The multiple paths to a carbon-free energy future. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (US).

Greenhouse Action Plan. Australian Conservation Foundation

Greenhouse Reduction via Profit Incentives. Greg Easterbrook.

Meeting the Climate Challenge. International Climate Change Taskforce. 1995

Mitigation. Fourth Assessment Report - Working Group 3. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2007

Oil Chief Raises Greenhouse Fears. ABC. 2004.6

Reducing Greenhouse Gases from Passenger Vehicles. Ian W.H. Parry. Resources for the Future. 2006

Strengthening California’s Economy through Climate Policy. J. Andrew Hoerner. 2006

Substitution Possibilities for Greenhouse Reduction. Pew Climate Centre. 2000

Towards Victoria's Clean Energy Future. WWF

US Mayors on Global Warming