If admitting you have a problem is the first step in overcoming it, we should be offering Federal Environment Malcolm Turnbull generous praise today for sharing the following emission, sorry, admission:

“Australia leads the world on climate change … ” (Read the full quote here)

Here are some facts and figures in support of Mr Turnbull’s brave announcement, just in case anyone doubts Australia’s leadership on changing the climate.

Kyoto targets

Australia was one of two countries that negotiated an increase in our emissions. We got +8 per cent while the EU got –8 per cent. We’re continuing that trend with the Federal Government’s own emissions forecast showing a rise of 27% above our 1990 levels by 2020, while the EU has committed to reducing its by 20% by the same date.

Fuel efficiency standards for vehicles

China’s fuel efficiency standards are more stringent than Australia’s. By 2008 China’s vehicle fleet will be almost twice as efficient as Australia’s, at 6.4L / 100 km. Australia does not have any mandatory fuel efficiency standards for passenger vehicles. Australia’s car manufacturing industry has voluntarily agreed to achieve an average fuel efficiency of around 7L / 100km by 2010. The Government estimates Australian transport emissions will rise by 62% above 1990 levels by 2020.

Car ownership

On a per capita basis, Australians own more cars than any other nationality apart from Americans.

De-forestation and re-forestation

In China, policies to promote reforestation have helped increase forest coverage from 13.92% in the early 1990s to 18.21% in 2005. From 1980 to 2005, improved forest management has sequestered an estimated 3 billion tonnes of CO2, or five times Australia’s total annual emissions.


According to Greens Senator Christine Milne, Australia leads to the world in the export of renewable energy technologists, sending our best researchers and developers flying offshore seeking a government that will support their work.

Greenhouse emissions generated from waste

According to the World Resources Institute’s Navigating the numbers: Greenhouse gas data & international climate policy part 2 , on the league table of greenhouse emissions generated from waste, Australia is number one per capita and 15th overall.

** Compiled with the assistance of the Australian Conservation Foundation