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34% of our exports come from fuels & oils [0] and 50% of our energy [1]. We contribute essentially nothing to the problem of carbon emissions [2]. We would, at best, be showing leadership by torching our own economy which is unlikely to sway the Indians, Chinese, Americans , etc into following our lead.

We would be doing much better applying our leadership to making billions in exports and showing leadership in renewables & nuclear research. The only contribution Australia can make is finding a way to show that coal isn't the most profitable option. Mandating uneconomic experiments is not the path to doing that.

If the reef goes because of climate change, Australia was never in a position to stop that by reducing our emissions.

[0] http://www.worldstopexports.com/australias-top-10-exports/

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_sector_in_Australi...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_di...

> We contribute essentially nothing to the problem of carbon emissions

By exporting a huge amount of coal to other countries, who then burn it. Do you think that has zero impact?

I think the argument is that you cannot force a foreign country to burn less fossil fuels. If you stop selling then someone else takes your place because the demand is still there. The problem needs to be solved at the root: reduce demand for fossil fuels.

We sell about 2t for every 1t we burn [0]. Our consumption has no measurable impact, our total production has a sort-of measurable impact (can't deny that we are globally interesting [1]).

The issue is although our production of CO2 is large relative to our population, in global terms it is somewhere between a rounding error and tiny. We'd be much better off focusing on research where we can have a positive impact disproportionate to our size. Our physical efforts are going to look completely feeble compared to whatever China does in their attempts at securing a standard of living comparable to Western nations. Helping them improve in an environmentally friendly way will have a much higher payoff then crippling our economy to show willing.

Realistically our reliance on exporting raw resources is going to cripple Australia sooner or later anyway because it is low value add, but the solution is not to start banning things. And claiming Australia's stance on global warming has anything to do with the Great Barrier Reef is just wishful thinking; we aren't that big a producer of CO2. Our fate is in the hands of the big players.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Australia_Coal_Production...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_coal_prod...

We don't have time to wait for the worst offenders to change their ways before improving our own carbon footprint. Per capita Australia is pretty bad.

Australia could be carbon neutral in a few years if it wanted to. They have immense potential for renewable energy.

All this is true. And yet the same arguments didn’t stop us from doing our, admittedly small, part in stopping the use of CFC’s to repair the ozone hole. Our part included curtailing our own use and arguing for global action. Suffice to say that global action made a measurable and undeniably effective impact.

Imagine a child being constantly smacked by bullies. Another child that “only” smacked the first once every few weeks is no less culpable than those that smack it multiple times a day.

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