Carbon emissions by quarter in Australia, 2008-2018. Graphic: Commonwealth of Australia / Department of the Environment and Energy

By Peter Hannam
28 September 2018

(The Sydney Morning Herald) – Australia's greenhouse gas emissions have continued to climb, reaching the highest levels on a quarterly basis since 2010, led by a surge in gas production.

For the 12 months to March 31 2018, emissions totalled 529.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent, up 1.3 per cent from a year earlier, the Environment Department said in the report released on Friday afternoon [pdf], Fugitive emissions, mostly from the gas sector, jumped 13.7 per cent.

The overall figure included a drop of 4.3 per cent in emissions from the electricity sector, which accounts for the biggest share of pollution. Another sector reporting a decline was land use change, with emissions down 5.2 per cent although the government qualified the figure as preliminary, subject to satellite imagery analysis.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, emissions were 134.7 million tonnes, or the highest quarterly figure since September 2010.

Natural gas production in Australia, financial years 1990-2017 and forecast data for 2018. Graphic: Commonwealth of Australia / Department of the Environment and Energy

Adam Bandt, the Greens climate spokesman, said the timing of the data release was aimed at minimising attention.

"Dumping this terrible news on Grand Final eve is a disgrace," Mr Bandt said. "Pollution is going up, the government boasts it has no renewables policy and global warming is getting worse." […]

Kelly O’Shanassy, Australian Conservation Foundation's Chief Executive Officer, said it was “frankly embarrassing that climate pollution continues to rise in a wealthy country like Australia".

“This latest pollution scorecard casts extreme doubt over the Morrison Government’s claim that Australia will meet our 2030 emissions reduction target ‘in a canter’ without strong new action."

Australia's Paris climate commitment is to reduce 2005 level pollution by 26-28 per cent by 2030. Emissions have been trending higher for about four years. [more]

'Terrible': Rising gas output lifts Australia's greenhouse gas emissions


Electricity generation by fuel in Australia's National Electricity Market (NEM) by year to June 2018, 2008-2018. Graphic: Commonwealth of Australia / Department of the Environment and Energy

28 September 2018 (Commonwealth of Australia) – Australia’s National Greenhouse Accounts are made up of a series of comprehensive reports and databases that estimate, and account for, Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. These publications fulfil Australia’s international and domestic reporting requirements. The Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory is a publication series that reports on the latest estimates of Australia’s national greenhouse gas inventory.

This update provides estimates of Australia’s national inventory of greenhouse gas emissions up to the March quarter of 2018, and emissions from the National Electricity Market (NEM) up to the June quarter 2018.

Australia’s emissions for the year to March 2018 were 1.9 per cent below emissions in 2000 (547.0 Mt  CO2-e) and 11.2 per cent below emissions in 2005 (604.7 Mt CO2-e).

Electricity sector emissions have declined by 13.9 per cent (29.2 Mt CO2-e) in the year to March 2018, from the peak recorded in the year to March 2009. Emissions from the NEM for the year to June 2018 decreased 4.4 per cent on the previous year and for the June quarter 2018 increased by 0.8 per cent on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis.

Emissions per capita, and the emissions intensity of the economy, were at their lowest levels in 28 years. Emissions per capita in the year to March 2018 have fallen 36 per cent since 1990, while the emissions intensity of the economy has fallen 59 per cent since 1990 (Figure 1).

National emissions levels for the March quarter 2018 increased 0.3 per cent relative to the previous quarter on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis. Emissions for the year to March 2018 increased 1.3 per cent or 6.8 Mt CO2-e. This increase was mainly driven by LNG production for export, with volumes increasing 25.4 per cent and values increasing by 38 per cent to a forecast $30.8 billion.

Quarterly Update of Australia's National Greenhouse Gas Inventory for March 2018

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