1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Greenhouse gas emissions


Greenhouse gases (primarily carbon dioxide and methane) occur naturally in the atmosphere, trapping the sun's warmth to enable the Earth's surface temperature to support life. Human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels (e.g. coal, oil and gas), have increased the atmospheric concentrations of these gases, which means they trap more heat, thereby contributing to global warming and climate change.

The possible risks associated with climate change are hard to predict, but may include rising sea levels that could threaten homes and infrastructure in low lying areas, coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef, and changes in rainfall patterns across the country that may threaten agricultural areas. In 2007-08, nearly three-quarters (73%) of Australians reported that they were concerned about climate change (ABS 2008b).

The following sections explore in more detail Australia's net greenhouse gas emissions (the headline indicator), emissions per person, by sector and relative to GDP.


  • Atmosphere glossary
  • Atmosphere references

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