How the ABC lies with statistics

In November 2018, the ABC wrote:

“Australia’s emissions go up again,
but Environment Minister says progress being made”

Citing these key points:

  • “Emissions continue rise since 2013, now highest since 2011”
  • “Increased LNG, coal production named as primary cause”
  • “Solar and wind being undone by LNG emissions”
  • “Government insists we’re on track to meet Paris emissions targets despite rise”

Source: ABC News


Putting Australian emissions into context:

The BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2019

  • Australia’s CO2 emissions comprise only 1.2% of global CO2 emissions
  • Australia’s CO2 emissions are less than 1/20th of China’s emissions
  • The growth of China’s emissions in only 2 years equals Australia’s total

Source: BP.com

The ABC’s chart is overlaid on the global chart to illustrate how the ABC cherry-picks Australian emissions and fails to show the data in the context of Global emissions.

Overlaid on the chart of Global emissions is a chart showing Mining GDP, which clearly illustrates where the growth in emissions is occurring. The implication is that they want us to curtail mining output.

The ABC claims that:

[Australian] Emissions for the year ending in June 2018 have increased on the previous year by 0.6 per cent, pushing Australia’s emissions to the highest they have been since 2011.

Australia’s increase in CO2 emissions of 0.6% of 1.2% of World CO2 emissions amounts to 0.007% of World emissions.

In the same timeframe, China’s 28% of global emissions increased by 2.2%, or 0.6% of world emissions or 83 times Australia’s increase.

The whole article fundamentally misrepresents reality:

  • Australian data shown out of context yet Global agreement cited
  • China’s increase (83x Australia’s) is not shown
  • The uses pictures of steam to represent “polluation” when neither steam nor CO2 is pollution
  • The ABC ignores the obvious correlation between GDP growth and ‘carbon’ emissions

The article is headed by the usual picture showing clouds of steam emitted by cooling towers: