Australia's Emissions Explained

We have represented Australia’s domestic emissions data in a way that enables us to think about domestic economy decarbonization separately from export economy decarbonization. We separate out 2 categories, (1) the domestic emissions that support our domestic economy from (2) the trade emissions that count on Australia’s emissions budget, but are in fact emissions that are associated with creating our exports.

This categorization is useful for a few reasons, principally that the stakeholders and decision makers are very different, also that the solution set and technological readiness are quite different.  The majority of emissions in our domestic economy are a result of decisions and purchases made by our individual households and small businesses. It represents a huge number of stakeholders (10,000,000 households) and physically represents a very large number (approximately 100,000,000) of small machines (cars, water heaters, space heaters, kitchen appliances) that are significant capital expenditures to the individual households. These emissions are broken down in the second Sankey diagram in further detail and are the focal point of this study as they can be addressed with technologies that exist today.

The emissions associated with creating our export economy have a smaller number of larger stakeholders, namely the government and corporations.  These emissions come from a small number of high-capital, large “machines”— things like smelters, freight rail systems,  mining equipment and export terminals. These are also critical to decarbonize and find zero-emission substitutions for, but are not yet ready to go to scale nor as close to economic parity solutions for our households.