Terrible’: Rising gas output lifts Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions
28 September 2018 —
By Peter Hannam
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.
Fugitive emissions, mostly from the gas sector, jumped 13.7 per cent.
Big jump in gas production has propelled Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions higher.
Photo: Glenn Campbell
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.
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.”
Melissa Price, the federal environment minister, focused on the per-capita emission levels, which were now 36 per cent below 1990 levels. Per unit of economic activity, they were down 59 per cent.
“The latest report on Australia’s national greenhouse gas inventory released today clearly shows Australia is on track to beat its 2020 emissions target,” Minister Price said in a statement.
National emissions were 1.9 per cent below 2000 levels – the 2020 target is to be 5 per cent lower – and 11.2 per cent below 2005 levels in the year to March 2018.
The Morrison government has few policy levers to pull to reduce emissions, especially after it dropped the National Energy Guarantee.
The electricity sector, which accounts for 35 per cent of Australia’s emissions, has been trending lower without additional policies.
The Renewable Energy Target, which runs until 2020, has helped increase the share of renewable energy to record levels, reducing the pollution from coal-fired and gas-fired power stations.
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.
Press link for more: SMH.COM
“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.”
Probably the winter drought you’ve just had, one way of reducing carbon emissions is to eradicate livestock and pasture en masse……