Australia’s emissions rose slightly in the first nine months of the 2022 calendar year, as a big jump in transport emissions, particularly from diesel, and a rise in agriculture emissions offset gain from the addition of renewables to Australia’s grid.
The latest data from the federal government’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory – now being released on time by the Labor government, unlike with the Coalition – shows a 0.1 per cent rise in emissions for the 12 months to the end of September, 2022, to 490.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Emissions for the September 2022 quarter were also up by 300,000 tonnes, or 0.3%, compared to the June 2022 quarter (April, May, June).
This increase, according to the Inventory, was “driven primarily by increases in the transport and agriculture sectors, and were partially offset by decreases across the electricity and industrial processes sectors.”
Electricity generation emissions were down 5.1 million tonnes, or 3.1%, thanks to an increase in renewable energy. But transport emissions, partly due to the increased use post Covid lockdowns, and a jump in diesel consumption in mines, offset most of those gains.
All told, Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are now 21% below June 2005 levels – the base year for the country’s 2030 Paris Agreement target, although much of this is due to the relatively high levels of land clearing recorded in the base year. Industrial emissions are little changed.
“What we do between now and 2030 is vital. 2030 is 82 months away and Australia is well placed to achieve our climate targets if we all work together towards a common goal,” said Chris Bowen, the federal minister for climate change and energy.
“While the Government has acted swiftly to introduce a 43% by 2030 legislated emissions reduction target, a $20 billion investment in Rewiring the Nation, and the 82% renewable electricity target, we still have a way to go to see these, and other reforms take full effect.
“It’s critical we progress swiftly with other major reforms like the Safeguard Mechanism and the National Electric Vehicle and National Energy Performance Strategies.”
According to the report, this latest Inventory represents ongoing reductions in emissions from electricity as renewable energy uptake increases, as well as decreased fugitive emissions, reflecting decreased production of LNG at multiple facilities impacted by scheduled maintenance and industrial action.
Conversely, transport emissions increased by 4.3%, which reflects the ongoing recovery from Covid-related travel restrictions, while emissions from stationary energy excluding electricity also increased, up 0.7%, due in large part by increased activity in the chemical manufacturing sector.
Agricultural emissions also increased by 3.2% due to the continuing recovery from drought which has driven increases in livestock numbers and crop production.
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.