The Green Innovation Index: International Edition, put together by Next 10, analyses and ranks the economic and energy performance of the world’s 50 largest economies, including Australia. The report, released this morning, places Australia among the worst in world with the highest coal consumption per capita than any other country on earth.
The report ranks Australia 45th out of 50 for per capita emissions, only marginally better than gulf nations such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. It also finds that Australia’s total energy consumption is higher than France, Italy and California despite having a smaller population. And the hits just keep on coming, with Australia also ranked among the worst for energy use (43rd) per capita and electricity use (45th) per capita.
Being the 5th largest producer of coal and the highest consumers of coal per capita, Australia has a crucial role to play in helping the world to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change, as the pollution from Australia’s coal resources alone could take us two-thirds of the way to a two-degree rise in global temperature.
Australia needs to be a lifter and not a leaner in the fight against climate change, and join our trading partners in taking action to keep our climate safe. The report noted some of the world’s largest economies were growing their GDPs while shrinking their carbon footprints as clean tech venture capital investment boomed.
Globally, more capacity is being added for renewable power than for fossil fuels, with investment in clean energy surging globally by 63% last year. And yet, despite being one of the sunniest and windiest countries in the world, Australia did not crack the top 20 for share of renewables in electricity, which means we are missing out on the economic growth seen in places like California, where clean energy investment grew by 153% last year.
With researchers now being able say for sure that the drop in global carbon emissions is due to the booming clean energy industry, there is a clear path for countries like Australia to grow their economies and cut carbon emissions at the same time.