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What Every Business Ought To Know About Carbon Emissions

What Every Business Ought To Know About Carbon Emissions

There is a strong consensus within both the scientific and economic communities that policies should be created for businesses to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases.

Since the 1850s when the industrial revolution was just getting started, society has been burning massive amounts of plant-based fuels such as gasoline, oil and coal to such an extent that global temperatures have risen to about one-degree Celsius.

One-degree might not sound like much but in the past, a one to two-degree drop was all it took to plunge the Earth into the Little Ice Age (1300-1870). A five-degree drop was enough to bury a large part of North America under a towering mass of ice 20,000 years ago.

The costs of climate change are massive and at its current rate it will:

Cause rising sea levels and the subsequent need to relocate some people

Force agriculture to adapt to changing temperatures and rainfall

Push for more robust buildings structures to withstand adverse weather events

Increase the loss of ecosystems and biodiversity

In the absence of a global agreement there is an incentive for individual countries to take a free ride on others by enjoying the benefits of reduced climate change due to the pollution reduction decisions of other countries.

This is because of the incurring costs of changing production methods and the variety of products produced to be consumed for a less carbon-intensive economy, that might be seen as a large insurance payment to reduce a high probability future cost.

This line of argument has been invoked by some to delay Australian policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions until most of the other polluting countries do the same which we believe is the wrong decision for these types of serious matters.

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Carbon emissions under current Australian policy focuses on reducing pollution associated with the burning of fossil fuels, particularly in the production of electricity and transport which we value immensely, but we aren’t doing enough.

The ideal solution to start repairing the Earth is to place a common price on pollution across every country contributing to greenhouse emissions. Such an agreement would minimise the cost of reducing pollution, and all countries would benefit.

Firstly, Australia should facilitate a desirable global agreement, or encourage other countries to move more quickly, by providing a demonstrated and effective example.

Secondly, there should be ‘early mover’ advantages in developing policies and technologies to reduce emissions for a less carbon-intensive economy.

Lastly, major countries including the European Union and New Zealand and China already have in place policies to reduce emissions, so why shouldn’t we?

What Every Business Ought To Know About Carbon Emissions


Again, there are a range of legitimate views about the importance and magnitudes of these benefits, and especially relative to the costs of changing our purchases and production methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We have been treating the atmosphere as a free dumping ground for greenhouse gas emissions, but no more.

If your curious about how much of a carbon footprint your business might be generating, we’ve provided a calculator so you can start taking steps to reducing your carbon emissions.