The new research also concludes that in absolute terms Australia is the world’s fifth largest miner of fossil fuels, ranking behind only China, USA, Russia and Saudi Arabia. On a per capita basis, Australia is on par with Saudi Arabia.

The analysis, which compares emissions from burning fossil fuels mined and exported, also finds that:

  • Australia is the world’s third largest fossil fuel exporter, making up 7% of all fossil fuel exports, behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia.Australia is the largest fossil fuel exporter in the OECD, making up 20% of the total;
  • Australia’s fossil fuel exports are almost three-quarters (74%) the size of all exports from all EU countries combined, and more than double any individual EU country. Australia’s fossil fuel production is one and a half times the size of all EU countries’ production combined;
  • Australia’s fossil fuel exports are higher than those from Indonesia, Canada, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, or Qatar, and nearly four times larger than those from Venezuela or Colombia;
    In absolute terms, Australia is the fifth biggest miner of fossil fuel carbon, behind only China, the USA, Russia and Saudi Arabia, and ten times the world average per capita.Australia mines more fossil fuel carbon than Indonesia, India, Canada, Iran and Iraq;
  • Australia’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions are higher than 40 countries that have larger populations than Australia, putting Australia at 14th globally.Per capita, Australia’s emissions are the highest in the OECD, and globally behind only smaller petro-states such Qatar.


Commenting on the findings of the report, Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute, said.

On any reasonable assessment of the data, the climate impact of Australia’s fossil fuel industry are immense. Many argue Australia’s emissions are small on a global scale, but this research shows the complete opposite: our domestic emissions are large and our exported emissions are even larger

Richie Merzian added that except from the economic and national security self-interest in replacing Australia fossil fuel exports with alternatives, Australia has a profound global obligation to reduce emissions.

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