Australia

Apr 18, 2013

The dirty little secret to tackling climate change

Recent data shows that without Australia's population boom, we'd probably have greenhouse gas emissions under control. So why is no one talking about whether an Australia of 62 million is environmentally sustainable?

Cathy Alexander — Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

Cathy Alexander

Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

Forget the carbon price, forget the opposition’s Direct Action climate plan. Australia could probably meet its targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without either, provided we did one thing. But you won’t hear the politicians talk about it.

68 comments

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68 thoughts on “The dirty little secret to tackling climate change

  1. Microseris

    Not only could we meet our target (if not our proportion of what is actually required), capital cities would not be choking in congestion. Our population policy is a ponzi scheme which exists solely as a driver of demand which props up growth which is a religion to economists and politicians and no party will tackle it. More consuming units and cheap labour for the captains of industry.

    We will follow those other high immigration countries, the US & UK into the gutter and become a third world country when our resources are no longer sought.

  2. drovers cat

    Time to speak out Kelvin

  3. klewso

    Human nature and self-interest – only when life becomes uncomfortable will there be anything done like that – then it will be too late.
    We need to plan and act now, for the future (our kids).

  4. MJPC

    Who are these demographers and economists trying to kid, the world environment cannot handle the population it has now, let along Australia. Report in the SMH stated India now has cronic shortages of water, some instances that towns and cities have run out of drinking water. Then we have China where pollution is also chronic and adversley affecting the health of the population.
    Before Australia reaches the capitalist dream of 65 million we will run out of drinking water, arable land (thanks partly to mining, particlularly CSG) and all of the air problems they are having in China.
    Somewhat has to call a stop to this insanity, but it won’t be politicians, it will be forced on us by nature.

  5. Michael

    Seriously, how can one ever seriously consider renewing the Crikey subscription with diabolical crap like Cathy’s??

  6. Ian

    I agree 100% with your analysis Microseris. The whole thing is a ponzi scheme designed to accommodate the demands of big business. In fact in the developed countries there is no correlation between population growth and per capita income growth and I would suggest a negative correlation between wellbeing and population growth.

    Unfortunately the real left as a whole – of which I am one, for different reasons also support high immigration.

    I think there is a tension between the question of refugees versus business friendly immigration in this debate.

  7. Ian

    My comment is awaiting moderation. It’s annoying and hard to believe I’ve said anything offensive in it so I will try again.

  8. Ian

    I agree Microseris. The whole thing is a ponzi scheme designed to accommodate the demands of big business. In fact in the developed countries there is no correlation between population growth and per capita income growth and I would suggest a negative correlation between wellbeing and population growth.

    Unfortunately the real left as a whole – of which I am one, for different reasons also support high immigration.

    I think there is a tension between the question of refugees versus business friendly immigration in this debate.

  9. NL

    it is a bit of a stretch calling this a statistical analysis. Just because there is a correlation between net overseas migration and increases in overall emissions does not imply causation. Would emissions intensive industries (read: mining boom) have continued to increase without the net overseas migration? Probably, by this flimsy logic you could state that per capita emissions have been REDUCED by increasing net overseas migration!

    Yes, population growth is problem, so is climate change, neither are going to be solved solely reducing the number of people coming to Australia.

  10. Tabitha

    Forget the major parties, the Stable Population Party is talking about this and will be contesting this year.

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