Green states and brown
I thought it might be interesting to see if the households of different states were more or less "green". We can look at carbon dioxide emissions, but those don't always give a clear picture if we're talking about households; someone from Kiama in New South Wales can't really help it if Newcastle is the biggest coal exporting port in the world. So let's look at what households can control directly.
Since 50% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Australia can be attributed to electricity generation, and since water stress is so significant to us (every state is building desalination plants), two good measures of how "green" we are in our households is how many of us choose "green" sources of electricity, and how much water we use each day.
The GreenPower program in Australia is a federal accreditation system where companies buy electricity generated from solar, wind, and so on. This must be "new" generation, that is, from sources built after 1997. That's so they can't just buy it from some hydroelectric plant built in 1950, and to encourage the building of new generation.
We can also look at how much water we use.
All figures are by household, and Australia has 2.6 people per household. The water is in litres per day.
Looking at this, we see that my home state of Victoria is the "greenest" overall, using the least water and having the largest share of GreenPower customers. Western Australia is definitely the brownest state.
GreenPower costs about one-third more per unit of electricity, however the average Australian household uses 5,000kWh annually, or about 14kWh/day, which with a few simple conservation methods (as for example in the guidelines to the one tonne CO2 lifestyle) can be reduced to 2,500kWh/yr or 7kWh/da, so that GreenPower plus conservation is cheaper than conventional power alone.
And with water, conservation is not difficult. Victoria has a long way to go - we need the other 86.7% to join us, and 570lt a day per household is at least three times as much as needed. But we leave the other states in our dust... or rather, we leave them in their dust, the dust from global warming and lack of water.
Cross posted from GWAG.