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“COAL IS KING” AUSTRALIA CO2 POLLUTION FACT SHEET

“COAL IS KING” AUSTRALIA CO2 POLLUTION FACT SHEET

1. Australia is the world’s #1 Developed Nation CO2 polluter

Consulting the US Energy Information Administration database (see: http://www.eia.doe.gov/ ) we obtain the following information on “annual per capita fossil fuel-derived carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution” in “tonnes (t) per person per year” for Australia and other major polluters (2004 data): 19.2 (for Australia; 40 if you include Australia’s coal exports), 19.7 (the US), 18.4 (Canada), 9.9 (Japan), 4.2 (the World), 3.6 (China), 1.0 ( India) and 0.25 (for Bangladesh).

2. Germanwatch index places Australia #54 in the list of the worst CO2 polluters (#56 being worst)

Of course “annual per capita fossil fuel-derived CO2 pollution” is but one – albeit a very important – indicator of climate impact. The Germanwatch Climate Change Index 2008, a comparison of the 56 top CO2 emitting nations (see: http://www.germanwatch.org/ccpi.htm ), takes other parameters into account in ranking. In this ranking of 56 top CO2 emitting nations, Sweden and Germany are #1 and #2 for greenhouse responsibility, while shale-oil-rich Canada (a US ally), coal-rich Australia (a US ally), the USA and oil-rich Saudi Arabia (US-linked) rank #53, #54, #55 and #56, respectively (see: http://www.germanwatch.org/ccpi.htm ) .

3. In 2004 Australia (0.3% world population) gave 3% total fossil fuel CO2

Consulting the US Energy Information Administration database (see: http://www.eia.doe.gov/ ), in 2004 Australia (0.3% world’s population) yielded 1.4% of world’s fossil fuel-derived CO2 (3% including coal exports). The World’s 27,043 Mt fossil fuel-derived CO2 (2004) comprised 10,850 Mt (petroleum), 5602 Mt (gas), and 10,592 Mt (coal) with the Australia breakdown being 810 Mt (total), 117 Mt (petroleum), 52 Mt (gas), 217 Mt (coal, domestic), 424 Mt (coal exports).

4. Australia world’s largest coal exporter (30% total world coal exports)

From Australian Coal Association (see: http://www.australiancoal.com.au/exports.htm ) Australia maintained its position as the world's largest coal exporter with exports of 233 Mt in 2005-06 ($A24.5 billion) or 30% of the world total (777 Mt) (M, G, T = million, billion, trillion).

5. Australia produces about 6% of world hard coal (black coal)

From World Coal Institute (see:

http://www.worldcoal.org/pages/content/index.asp?PageID=188 ) total World: hard coal consumption 5339 Mt (2006); coal production 5370 Mt (2006); World brown coal 914 Mt ; Australia 309 Mt hard coal (5.8% of World production; used for thermal electricity and as coking coal for steel production).

From Australian Minerals Index (see:

http://www.australianminesatlas.gov.au/build/common/siteindex.jsp ) Australia produces about 6% of the world's saleable black coal and is ranked fourth after China (45%), US (19%) and India (8%).

6. Australia has 24% of World’s brown coal and produces 8% of World’s

From Australian Minerals Index (see:

http://www.australianminesatlas.gov.au/aimr/commodity/brown_coal.jsp )

Australian brown coal production for 2005/06 was 67.7 Mt (valued at $849 million) - all was from Victoria and used to generate electricity. Australia has about 24% of World recoverable brown coal and is ranked first. However, Australia produces about 8% of the World's brown coal and is ranked fifth largest producer after Germany (22%), Russia (10%), USA (9%) and Greece (8%).

7. Australian coal reserves

Australia has about 77 billion tonnes of coal resources

http://gc3.cqu.edu.au/modern-world/index.php . There are 909 billion tonnes of proven coal reserves worldwide (see: http://www.worldcoal.org/pages/content/index.asp?PageID=100 ). The price in 2006 was about US$100/t but is expected to reach US$300/t in 2008.

8. Coal to CO2 and coal to kWh conversions

Carbon (C, atomic weight 12) to carbon dioxide (CO2, molecular weight 44 ) conversion involves a stoichiometry of 12 g C -> 44 g CO2 i.e. 1 g C to 3.7 g CO2. 1 g coal yields about 1.9 g CO2 (depends on coal type). Thus the US Energy Information Agency estimates World total CO2 from energy-related coal burning at 12,898 Mt in 2008 (see: http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/ask/environment_faqs.asp#source_by_fuel )  and the World Coal Institute estimates 2008 coal production at 5,845 Mt  hard coal and 951 Mt brown coal/lignite (see: http://www.worldcoal.org/resources/coal-statistics/ ), this yielding 12,898 Mt CO2/6,796 Mt coal = 1.9 Mt CO2/Mt coal, the specific values for different kinds of coal being  2.85 Mt CO2/Mt coal (anthracite), 2.47 Mt CO2/Mt coal (bituminous), 1.86 Mt CO2/Mt coal (sub-bituminous) and 1.40 Mt CO2/Mt coal (lignite, brown coal) (see: http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/coefficients.html ).  In a coal-fired power station 0.327 kg coal yields 1 kWh (kilowatt hour) of energy. 

Greenlivingpedia (see: http://www.greenlivingpedia.org/Australian_coal_exports ) estimates that in 2008 Australia exported 288 Mt CO2/120 Mt thermal coal (2.4 Mt/Mt thermal coal) and 238 Mt CO2/140 Mt coking coal ( 1.7 Mt CO2/Mt coking coal) for an average value of 526 Mt CO2/260 Mt coal (and an average value of 2.0 Mt CO2/Mt coal exported from Australia).

A further estimate comes from 12,064 Mr CO2 from coal in 2006 (see US EIA: http://www.eia.doe.gov/iea/carbon.html )  and World production of 6779 million short tons of coal (6779 x 0.9072 = 6,150 Mt of coal) in 2006 (see US EIA: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/ptb1114.html ) - 12,064 Mt CO2 /6,150 Mt coal = 1.96 or about 2.0 Mt CO2 per Mt coal (this includes brown coal and low quality sub-bituminous coal in the denominator and would thus  would underestimate the CO2 from the burning of exported Australian coal).

9. Australia gets 77% of its electricity from coal, 92% from fossil fuels

According ot the Australian Uranium Association (see: http://www.uic.com.au/nip37.htm ) electricity generation in Australia involves about 51 billion W (51 GW) capacity; the price varies during the day etc at about 4 c /kWh; in 2006 Australia's power stations produced 255 billion kilowatt hours (trillion Wh = TWh) of electricity; the energy source breakdown was 92.2% Carbon-based (black coal 54.8% , brown coal 21.9%, oil 1.3%, gas 14.2%, hydro 6.8%. and renewables 1%; 77% is coal-based electricity.

10. The true cost of coal energy is 4 times the market cost (Ontario Government study) – 4,860 Australians killed by coal annually @ $1.6 million each?

In Ontario (see: http://www.evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=8836) the cost/kWh jumped from $0.04 to $0.164 with environmental and human impacts added; pollution from coal plants producing 27 TWh/year (20% of supply) kill 668 people per year in Ontario (population 12.2 million) suggesting coal plants producing 77% of Australia's annual 255 TWh of electricity (see: http://www.uic.com.au/nip37.htm ) i.e. 0.77 x 255 = 196.4 TWh/year might kill about 196.4 TWh x 668/27 TWh = 4,859 people annually in Australia (population 21 million); in Australia 255 bn kWh x $0.04/kWh = $10.2 bn; 0.77 (coal-based) x $10.2 bn = $7.85 billion; $7.85 bn /4,859 deaths i.e. Australian electricity consumers pay for electricity @ $1.6 million per fellow Australian killed by coal.

CONTACT: Yarra Valley Climate Action Group (YVCAG): mawj@bigpond.com ; Climate Emergency Network (CEN): http://www.climateemergencynetwork.org/ .

June 2008
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