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News Release April 16, 1999


The Australian government is blatantly unconcerned about its escalating greenhouse pollution and about tackling the issue of climate change, said Greenpeace Pacific today.

Australian greenhouse pollution from the burning of oil, coal and gas will be more than 70% higher than 1990 levels by 2014, a figure that the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics (ABARE) has tried to cover up today.

ABARE's publication, Australian Energy: Market Developments and Projections to 2014-15, launched yesterday, was advertised as containing "estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector" including the oil, coal and gas industries. These greenhouse estimates have been omitted, despite being included in previous ABARE energy reports. Using ABARE's own mathematical formulas, and figures in yesterday's report, Greenpeace has calculated the missing information -- a more than 70% increase in CO2 emissions.

"Greenpeace is deeply concerned that the Australian government is attempting to hide the truth from the world, " said Greenpeace climate campaigner, Angie Heffernan. "Greenpeace demands a full explanation as to why these figures have been omitted and who is responsible for this cover up.

"The Pacific Island countries are viewed as front-line victims of climate change, and many are already beginning to experience the impacts of sea-level rise. The very survival of many small atoll nations is dependent on countries such as Australia reducing their greenhouse emissions caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas."

Under the United Nations Kyoto Protocol, Australia agreed to limit its greenhouse gas emissions to an 8% increase on 1990 levels by 2010.

"The Australian government not only has responsibilities to its people, but to its neighbors in the Pacific to stop the promotion of excessive use of environmentally damaging fossil fuels. So far not enough has been done to develop the renewable energy industry, that could help solve the problem," said Heffernan.

"The Government's promise to increase renewable energy use by 2% by 2010 is clearly inadequate. This target must be increased to 20% if Australia is to develop a renewable energy industry that will allow us to phase out fossil fuels, prevent dangerous levels of climate change and meet international obligations to limit greenhouse pollution."

For more information, contact:

Angie Heffernan TEL: 679 312 861 or FAX: Fax: 679 312 784

Copies of the calculations referred to in this release also are available on request.

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