It’s a shocking fact: the emissions produced annually from the fossil fuels extracted by Australia’s major gas, coal and oil producers – the likes of Glencore, BHP, Yancoal, Peabody, Chevron and Anglo American – and sold here and overseas are larger than the emissions of all 25 million Australians.
If Australia’s exported and domestic emissions are combined, Australia ranks as the sixth-largest emitter in the world, behind China, the United States, India, Russia and Japan. Far from being an insignificant contributor to climate change because of its small population, Australia is a key driver through its fossil fuel exports.
How have these companies’ exports escaped scrutiny when climate change is such an urgent problem?
Understanding the moral responsibility of Australia’s major carbon exporters is a crucial first step in determining how to fairly share the burdens of a climate transition. In Carbon Justice, leading political philosopher Jeremy Moss sets out an ethical framework to establish the cost of the harms of these major exporters and what we should do about it. What they do next will shape Australia’s response to climate change.