Greenback washing

Conversations | 8th July 2024 | By Chris Lawlor

Independent Contributor

Australia and NZ are not the ‘Real World’…..

We are extremely lucky here, the rest of the world live in a different reality. Previously I’ve been a bit critical of some carbon offsetting projects and methane taxation, many ‘bottom of the cliff’ solutions that directly affect food production.

I must reiterate climate change is real and efficient fossil fuel usage an important part of slowing global warming, but it’s important to be realistic and take the bigger picture of sustainability or “Sustainalogic” into consideration. So, let’s discuss corruptions affect on sustainability today and follow up with wars, greenwashing, who is actually emitting the most carbon, and relate to who is actually moving from fossil fuel to ‘genuine’ renewables…..and who realistically can’t.

I will elaborate on why Australians should be so grateful, and keep things in perspective when it comes to global business and climate change.

When I was having dinner with Ukranian-Jewish friends recently and expanding my understanding of both wars, Inishka one of the wives who immigrated 30 years ago and lectures at Monash University raised her glass for a toast….she said…. ‘Here’s to us making great lives in Australia……and we didn’t have to bribe anyone!’

This is the reality of the ‘real’ world….and I suggest with this in mind any climate change mitigation is exposed to the same levels of corruption. We think we are wonderful leading the world in carbon reduction…..while we mine 500 million tonnes of coal per year…..

Let’s put this into perspective, below is the 2023 World Corruption Index, dark more corrupt, yellow less.

Now my ex-wife Juliana (bless her) is from Brazil, I’ve spent a lot of time there and am convinced the whole continent is actually born with a corrupt gene (her Uncle Paulo nicked 40k off her and he’s a lawyer in the senate!), it is literally right through society from top to bottom and has been forever, half the policeman’s salaries come from bribes or cash fines. They know no different…..they think differently.

Real facts – 2022

  • Australia population 26.5million V Brazil 217million…..8 times more
  • 247 murders in Australia V 41,000 in Brazil…..164 times more
  • 3,000 suicides in Australia V 12,000 in Brazil…..4 times more

Now it’s not politically correct to even talk about suicide in our nanny state, but can we assume that despite their murder rate being 164 times ours they are actually happier with half the suicide rate….. or were some of the murder victims killed before they could commit suicide?

It ain’t rocket science that all of Africa, Russia, China, the Middle East and Eastern Europe are very similar…..bartering or haggling on anything is standard…..I know a NZ ram breeder who was selling rams from Europe to Russia, the buyer expected a $200/ram kick back for doing the deal. China would claim to have improved, but it’s only a few years since agricultural exporters carried bags of cash to do deals there.

Let’s add up the ‘less corrupt’ countries in yellow…..and with Trump or Biden as president, is Uncle Sam ‘clean’?….. I will give them the benefit of the doubt to help make my point.

My point is that attempts to reduce carbon or become genuinely sustainable is a luxury less than 20% of the world can realistically afford. The best bang for buck any of us can do for the climate is to get more efficient with fossil fuel usage ie oil, gas and coal, although clearly not at the expense of food production that would affect the rest of the world not as fortunate as us…..or we will kill each other before global warming does.


  • GHG Emissions
  • Environment
  • Carbon
  • Methane