News: Scope 3 emissions ignored once again|
From the Director: Australia’s exported emissions excluded once again
Last week the NSW Legislative Council held a hearing into The Berejiklian Government’s Environmental Planning and Assessment (Territorial Limits) Bill. The bill proposes to stop planning authorities considering the end point GHG emissions from the coal that NSW exports. These emissions occur outside of Australia’s borders. Yet, exported or ‘scope 3’ emissions are by far the biggest contribution that NSW and Australia make to climate change.
What are called “scope 1+2” emissions are those produced within a country’s borders by various types of activity (industrial, transport, etc.), while “scope 3” emissions are produced by the commodities when they are consumed outside the country’s territory. Crucially, the latter are not part of the country’s emissions budget.
To give an example, if a country exports coal, the emissions that are generated via extraction and transportation are part of that country’s emissions budget because they occur within its territorial boundary. However, the emissions produced by their consumption (in this case, the burning of fossil fuels) in other countries are considered the responsibility of the importing country.
However, there is a strong moral case for attributing responsibility for these exported emissions to the coal miners and the governments who approve them.
It is astonishing that after a summer of bushfires that the NSW government can think that consideration of the global emissions impact of new coal mines is not relevant to their approval.
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