- international treaties on global warming
- international environmental lobby groups
- academic works on the problem of greenhouse emissions
However, it is only now that Thomas Gunton and K.S. Calbick have provided the first evidence that Australia’s excessively low energy prices are the cause of its high emissions, as much as its low population densities and dependence on energy-intensive metals. In a new study titled ‘Differences among OECD countries’ GHG emissions: Causes and policy implications’, they show that:
- energy prices alone are by far the best predictor of total greenhouse gas emissions
- that if Australia raised energy prices to the highest levels in the OECD, it would reduce its greenhouse emissions by sixty percent.
However, with Australia, raising energy prices is an absolute necessity. Even a 60 percent reduction would put Australia’s emissions in the range of most Enriched countries, when the allowable value based upon soil available phosphorus cannot be higher than 5 percent the Enriched World average, or about 0.4 tonnes CO2 equivalent per person per year, or about 1.5 percent of Australia’s current per capita emissions.
The question that Calbrick and Gutton need to ask is what energy price would reduce Australia’s emissions by the requisite 98.5 percent?? It might not, in fact, be as high as the extreme prices described on 24 April 2008 in the Sunday Times; indeed, political problems might step in at such high energy prices. Nonetheless, it would certainly be higher than the most expensive Enriched World nations, and such high prices would potentially have even more economic and ecological benefits than respectable emissions for by far the worst offender in greenhouse emissions.