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Canberra’s biggest polluters

By Jazz - 9 July 2007 17

Stumbing around thismorning i came accross this piece on ABC online about Canberrans being the biggest producers of greenhouse gas emmissions per person in the country.

Greens MLA Deb Foskey says shes not surprised and seems to have jumped at the political opportunity to point the finger at Canberra’s wealthier suburbs as slackers in the leading environmental change. “They should be able to afford it”, she claims.

It comes as no surprise to me that we produce more greenhouse gas emissions trying to keep our homes warm in winter, but you slackers living in Kingston, Barton, Acton, Reid and Parkes need to clean up your act.

What’s Your opinion?


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17 Responses to
Canberra’s biggest polluters
Jazz 1:07 pm 10 Jul 07

i dont think bose make tv’s jemmy

barking toad 12:57 pm 10 Jul 07

I cranked up the wood heater last night and emitted a shitload of CO2. It made me warm.

Trees don’t mind CO2. It helps them grow. Which is good – for them and me. The more trees, the more wood I have to burn.

It’s win/win.

jemmy 8:09 am 10 Jul 07

Thanks for the link, Eyes.

One needs to be very very careful when data mining averages and summary statistics and then applying it to small groups such as Canberra suburbs.

Two things come to mind straight away (there could be others):
*higher incomes will always consume more, almost by definition, so their GHG emmissions will always be more than the average. But that is what an average means, the highs and lows averaged out. If Canberrans have higher-than-average income, they will produce more GHG.
* higher incomes tend to spend more on big ticket items. If a person buys a $10,000 Bose TV versus a $300 Chinese TV, they haven’t produced (10000/300=33) 3,300% more GHG, it’s still just *one* TV so they have produced 0% more GHG. (In fact, you could argue the Chinese TV produces more GHG since pollution controls in China are less stringent than Germany.) Yet, the household expenditure numbers for electrical goods would imply that the person has produced more GHG.

I’m always deeply suspicious of perhaps-dodgy data mining, esp for organisations with an agenda. I don’t know if the study is flawed or not, but I can’t see how they could have controlled for the effects I mention above, so my inclination is to say that it is flawed.

Eyes 11:14 pm 09 Jul 07

Check out and compare the environment impact figures for all of Canberra’s suburbs here: http://www.acfonline.org.au/consumptionatlas
Sydney Uni’s Integrated Sustainability Analysis team has cleverly used household expenditure data to calculate the impact figures for each suburb.
Richer is nastier it seems.

pierce 9:32 pm 09 Jul 07

I agree that many of the reasons behind an event like that are on the nose – I didn’t watch it, not excited by the bands and yeah, it had a propaganda kind of slickness to it.

Given the amount of emissions from the corporate sector, it’s not surprising that they would try to milk the greenwash factor for all it’s worth.

I agree that people and governments both need to act rather than simply applying pressure on politicians – it’s everyone’s problem and the market can’t be relied upon to fix it fairly so regulation is required.

ant 9:22 pm 09 Jul 07

Barton being one of the naughtiest suburbs, well, there’s about 50 people living there, and umpteen gov’t buildings and non-gov’t buildings also. They are heated to 23 C in winter! And cooled to that in summer. There’s your consumer of energy/emitter of greenhouse gas. And yeah, the Dep’t of the Environment is in Barton, funnily enough.

For a chuckle, go to the SMH and find the article about how shithouse the Live Earth gig in Sydney was, and read all the screeching by aggreived Sydneyites who couldn’t buy beer, food, go to the bog or even get out without joining a monster queue.

Maelinar 4:40 pm 09 Jul 07

The Secretary of the Department of the Environment mentions regularly that his Department has saved so many cars worth of greenhouse gas he’s surprised to see any on the road.

GregW 4:09 pm 09 Jul 07

I believe the current guesstimate is 30,000 tonnes for the combined live earth footprint. However the amount reduced as a result of the concerts is likely to be millions of tonnes.

That said Im not support of the concerts. I find it interesting that a significant goal of the concerts is to get attendee’s to blame politicians, rather than take action themselves. In addition I listened (on 104.7) to the concert and the only thing I heard people asked to do was switch to CFL’s (Phillips CFL’s was a major sponsor), why no mention of switching to more efficient cars (DaimlerChrysler is also a sponsor, coincidence?), cars running on alternate fuels, houses powered by solar pv or solar water heating, etc..? You know, the non token efforts. The whole thing smells of feel-good environmentalism if you ask me.
Saying Canberra emits more GHC because solely because it is cold is silly, last I checked Tasmania has colder average temperatures, and many other parts of Australia have vastly hotter summers which last longer. The reason is the same as why we produce the most household waste, we earn more, and are in general, arrogant.

Funny really given we have the climate research powerhouse at ANU, and a government committed to high energy ratings in new homes.

Can you still install wood heaters?

VYBerlinaV8 now_with 3:38 pm 09 Jul 07

The environment is probably the biggest wanker-bandwagon around at the moment. Everone’s an expert, and everyone believes they know how to ‘solve the problem’. I had a discussion on the weekend about how a camp fire ‘was destroying the environment’ because it was ’emitting carbon dioxed – a dangerous greenhouse gas’. I responded that humans emit carbon dioxide too, but ‘oh that’s a different type of carbon dioxide’. What a complete crock.

Environmental impact and ’emissions’ are an issue that won’t be solved by a bunch of people going to a concert that probably used enough energy to run 1000 lightbulbs for 1000 years.

pierce 2:05 pm 09 Jul 07

The Live Earth thing seems like a “gotta spend money to make money” exercise.

If you create 1000 tonnes of GHG in the process of convincing people to reduce their emissions by 2000 tonnes, it’s a win.

No one bar the fringiest loonies claims that all activity can or should be carbon neutral but the right loves to jump up and down and cry “Ooh you drove a car but want to save the planet, you’re a hypocrite”. It’s FUD at best and childishness at worst.

barking toad 12:13 pm 09 Jul 07

I’ll give up my wood fire when politicians of all persuasions stop emitting hot air

Kramer 12:07 pm 09 Jul 07

We really need to get rid of wood fired heaters, they really pollute the air especially when they have been left slowly smouldering overnight. Actually I think the Govt may already have a rebate for people to replace wood heaters with gas heaters….

Mr Evil 11:45 am 09 Jul 07

I’ve heard that musicians produce a lot of GHG while trying to save the planet – as well as a lot of hot air!

jemmy 11:25 am 09 Jul 07

Yet another example of not understanding statistics. There will always be a group that produces the biggest of anything, by definition.

The biggest producer of greenhouse gases per person would be the hermit in the cold mountains who cooks, cleans and heats by wood fire. It’s a meaningless statistic unless the group of people is large in numbers.

andy 11:17 am 09 Jul 07

Do cars emit GHG ? In which case, I think it’s fairly obvious where the blame lies.. with the Govt, for providing such a shitty public transport network that everyone drives..

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