Emissions fall in 2019

Today the Morrison Government released the December 2019 Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

In 2019, emissions fell 0.9 per cent or 5.0 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2-e) to 532.5 Mt CO2-e.

Emissions are now 13.7 per cent below 2005 levels (the baseline year for the Paris Agreement).

Emissions for the December quarter 2019 also fell 0.5 per cent or 0.6 Mt CO2-e on the previous quarter, on a seasonally adjusted, weather normalised basis.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said Australia consistently meets and beats its climate change targets and would do so again this year.

“On 1 July 2020, Australia is forecast to beat its Kyoto-era targets by 411 million tonnes,” Minister Taylor said.

“This is an achievement all Australians can be proud of.

“When you compare our track record with similar export-oriented countries like Canada and New Zealand, we’ve done much better. Since 2005, Canada’s emissions have flatlined while New Zealand’s emissions have fallen less than 1 per cent.

“Emissions are lower now than when the Coalition came into Government. They are more than 100 million tonnes lower in 2019 than Labor projected they would be in 2020 under their carbon tax.

“Importantly, our domestic emissions have fallen at the same time demand for Australian energy exports remains strong, which will be vital to our post-COVID19 economic recovery.”

When the inventory is adjusted by excluding emissions generated by exports, emissions generated for domestic consumption have fallen 33 per cent on 2005 levels. This substantial fall reflects the continuing decarbonisation of Australia’s economy.

Emissions from exports rose 3.0 per cent (6.1 Mt CO2-e) to 39.7 per cent of Australia’s total emissions. The increase mainly reflects an 11 per cent increase in our LNG exports which have the potential to reduce emissions in importing countries by up to 164 million tonnes each year.

Emissions from electricity continued to decline, down 2.9 per cent (5.3 Mt CO2-e) in 2019.

The report also highlights the ongoing impact of the drought on the agriculture sector. Agricultural emissions were down 5.8 per cent (4.2 Mt CO2-e) in part due to the ongoing impact of the drought.

The Quarterly Update provides estimates of Australia’s national greenhouse gas emissions up to the December quarter of 2019, and includes emissions from the National Electricity Market (NEM) for the March quarter 2020.

Emissions in the NEM fell 0.7 per cent in the March quarter 2020 in seasonally adjusted terms. This is consistent with the ongoing trend of emissions reductions in the NEM.

Preliminary estimates for the NEM for the month of April indicate a modest 2.8 per cent reduction in electricity demand relative to a year earlier, suggesting the impact of COVID-19 on the electricity sector has not been significant.

Minister Taylor said the Government has released its Technology Investment Roadmap, which will prioritise investment in new technologies to help further lower emissions. The roadmap will also be the cornerstone of Australia’s long-term emissions reduction strategy to take to next year’s UNFCCC COP26 global climate talks.

“Australia is delivering achievable, balanced and responsible emissions cuts while keeping our economy strong, as part of coordinated global action,” Mr Taylor said.

“The Government is committed to reducing emissions without imposing new costs on households, businesses or the economy.”

The Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: December 2019 can be found here.

Table 1: National inventory total in Mt CO2-e, by financial year

2008 - 623.4
2009 - 616.2
2010 - 593.5
2011 - 573.0
2012 - 555.3
2013 - 540.6
2014 - 539.7
2015 - 538.8
2016 - 526.1
2017 - 529.5
2018 - 537.5
2019* - 532.5
(* Year to December)

Media contact:

Minister Taylor's office (02) 6277 7120.