Right now in Cancún, Mexico, the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP16/CMP 6 is underway until 10 December 2010.
As national representatives get to their feet and (as they have done on so many occasions before) talk ineffectively of the need to address global warming, it is worthwhile looking at a visual representation of where Australia’s energy was being drawn from in November 2010.
These pie charts from The Climate Group's The Weekly Greenhouse Gas Indicator represent energy consumption in four of the eight states and territories over one 7 day period.In descending order, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria:
Given that only South Australia has managed to consistently reduce greenhouse gas emissions below the 1990 baseline (10% below in this 7 day period), it is also the only state which could be said to be seriously addressing Kyoto commitments.
Victoria is 26% above the 1990 baseline, New South Wales 5.8% above and Queensland an almost unbelievable 109% above that same baseline.
Unfortunately, in Australia energy consumption is still predominately drawn from carbon-based resources and relies heavily on 'dirty' coal.
As the Gillard Government continues to drag its feet on an emissions trading scheme or carbon tax and the Coalition Opposition goes deeper into denial that global warming even exists, how is the average citizen going to respond?
I suggest that individual responsibility does not stop with reducing our personal carbon footprints, it extends to voting out of office every politician who blocks legitimate legislative response to global warming or seeks to water down bills addressing climate change so that carbon-reliant energy companies and industry can continue 'business as usual'.