Published on Wednesday April 20 2011
Published 9:38 AM, 20 Apr 2011
Through the simple stroke of a pen, Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard could probably achieve more to reduce Global Carbon Emissions than she ever will through the imposition of her
job-destroying carbon tax.
It is a little known fact that Australian uranium exports help drive clean energy generation abroad, which avoids the production of about 400 million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually.
This is an extraordinary contribution when you consider Australia's annual emissions total around 600 million tonnes.
It also undermines the impression Labor likes to give, that as a nation we are not pulling our weight when it comes to reducing global emissions.
Labor likes to repeat ad nauseam how we are the highest emitters in the world per capita, but rarely mentions how our contribution represents little more than one per cent of the global total.
Currently we are exporting around 10,000 tonnes of uranium per year and as it stands this is the single biggest thing we do to assist global greenhouse gas avoidance efforts.
As it stands, global demand for uranium exceeds production and with ambitious nuclear energy expansion plans in countries like India, China and several others, there is huge potential to further support carbon abatement with our uranium.
This reality exposes the utter stupidity and weakness of Julia Gillard’s refusal to sell uranium to India.
The Prime Minister has bowed to the demands of the Greens to introduce a job destroying, environmentally useless carbon tax.
In the same vein Julia Gillard, despite Cabinet support, won’t stand up to the ‘loony left’ of the Labor Party and insist on supporting uranium sales, which could see an additional one billion tonnes of carbon emissions avoided worldwide – that is, nearly twice Australia’s annual emissions.
Of the world’s 443 nuclear reactors, India currently operates 19, which suggests they represent about 4.5 per cent of world demand, or about 3,000 tonnes per year.
It is estimated that this share will double by 2030 and could even double again by 2050, considering their growth plans.
This means that if Labor overturned its mindless ban, it is estimated that we could reasonably aim to supply India with 40 per cent of its uranium.
Based on current demand that would be about 1,200 additional tonnes per year, rising to 3,000 tonnes in the 2030s.
If Labor signed a new agreement to sell uranium to India tomorrow, as per the agreement signed by the Howard government, which it reneged on, we could quickly help avoid the production of 450 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, the equivalent of 75 per cent of Australia's total emissions.
In fact, Deloitte modelling done for the Australian Uranium Association shows that if our industry was allowed to grow to its full potential, which will never happen under Labor, annual exports could reach up to 37,000 tonnes by 2030. That would be some serious carbon emission avoidance – 1.4 billion tonnes a year.
This would also add up to $17 billion net present value of export dollars to our economy between now and 2030.
The moral of the story is that Australia can play a major role in reducing global emissions, through things like increasing our uranium exports and other direct action measures, without a unilateral carbon tax that will undermine our great comparative advantage.
Andrew Robb is the Coalition, Shadow Minister for Finance and Debt Reduction and Federal Member for Goldstein.