Australia has largest Carbon footprint per person from Coal electricity generation, largest Uranium reserves WW and no nuclear power plant, where is the logic?

The Economist has an article about Australia’s prime minister backpedaling on the environmental stance.

Australia and carbon emissions

A change in the climate

Make us greener, oh lord. But not yet

Apr 29th 2010 | SYDNEY | From The Economist print edition

ONLY a few months ago Kevin Rudd, Australia’s prime minister, was painting a dark picture about looming storm surges, rising sea-levels, a fall of over 90% in irrigated farming and a drop of nearly 2.5% in GNP over this century unless Australia took action against climate change. “Action now,” he declared. “Not action delayed.” But this week Mr Rudd climbed down from what seemed a defining pledge of his leadership. Instead of using this year to get parliament to adopt an emissions-trading scheme that would put a price on carbon pollution, action will now be delayed until 2013 at least. Some wonder if it will ever happen at all.

I knew Australia had a vast coal electricity production, but didn’t know it put them at the top of a carbon impact.

Relying on coal for most of its electricity, Australia is one of the world’s highest carbon-emitters per person.

Australia has environmentalist who are proud of the nuclear free stance.


There is an active anti-nuclear movement in Australia,[3][4][5] and the country has no nuclear weapons or nuclear power stations. However it has run a research nuclear reactor since 1958. (The original HiFAR reactor was replaced by the OPAL research reactor at Lucas Heights, 40 km southwest of Sydney, in 2006.[6]) Nuclear weapons have been tested in Australia atMaralinga, Emu Field and the Monte Bello Islands.[5]

Australia also mines and sells a large quantity of uranium ore. Nuclear waste dumps have been proposed in Western Australia and South Australia.[5]

But has the largest uranium ore deposits in the world and second to Canada in Uranium ore export.

2007 uranium mining, by nationality. Data is taken from [2].

Australia has the world's largest uranium reserves, 24% of the planet's known reserves. The majority of these reserves are located in South Australia with other important deposits in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Almost all the uranium is exported under strict International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards to satisfy the Australian people and government that none of the uranium is used in nuclear weapons. Australian uranium is consumed strictly for electricity production.[citation needed]

So, being one of the largest carbon emitters per person is OK, yet you are a leading exporter of Uranium allowing other countries to run nuclear power plants, and 75% of your coal mining is exported.  Seems like the Australia prime minister is in a no win situation to take an environmental stance for Australia.