Adelaide is a medium sized low density city located in south eastern Australia. Typical of highly urbanized Australia, where abundant land and low cost private transport contribute to urban sprawl in all major cities, Adelaide is poorly placed to move to a low carbon future, despite access to abundant renewable resources and a favourable policy environment. Australians have some of the highest emissions per capita in the world. This study examines the spatially explicit nature of CO2 emissions across the metropolitan area and explores the relationships between emissions and a range of socio-economic variables. Contrary to findings from other westernized cities, incomes, rents and housing prices are not well correlated with distance from the city centre or train stations. Household emissions are strongly correlated with household size, rooms per household and number of motor vehicles per household. Household emissions are therefore highly associated with private car use and daily commuting distances. Public transport is poorly utilized and many urban residential areas surrounding the most heavily used public transport routes also have very high household emissions. Attitudinal change to car and public transport use is therefore essential if Australian cities such as Adelaide are to move towards a low carbon future, and governments must design and implement policies which can achieve such change.