National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: December 2018

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Quarterly Update
Publication Date: 
May 2019

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 inventory reporting requirements. The Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory reports on the latest estimates of Australia’s national greenhouse gas inventory.

This Quarterly Update provides:

  • estimates of Australia's national inventory of greenhouse gas emissions up to the December quarter of 2018
  • emissions from the National Electricity Market (NEM)1 up to the March quarter 2019.

Key data

National emission levels2 for the December quarter 2018 increased by 0.8 per cent relative to the previous quarter, on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis, primarily due to increased emissions from LNG for export, diesel consumption across transport, and metal manufacturing.

Emissions for the year to December 2018 are estimated to be 538.2 Mt CO2-e, up 0.7 per cent (3.5 Mt CO2-e) on the previous year.

The major contributors to the national emissions increase included increases in LNG exports (3.5 Mt CO2-e); increases in steel production and aluminium exports (0.9 Mt CO2-e); as well as increases in diesel consumption across the transport and mining sectors. Australia's total LNG exports are estimated to have the potential to lower emissions in importing countries by around 148 Mt CO2-e in 2018, if they displace coal consumption in those countries.

Partially offsetting these increases in the year to December 2018 were declines in emissions from the electricity sector. Electricity sector emissions decreased by 3.5 per cent in the year to December 2018 and 15.5 per cent from the peak recorded in the year to June 2009.

Australia's emissions for the year to December 2018 were 14.2 per cent below the peak recorded in the year to June 2007, 0.4 per cent above emissions in 2000, and 11.9 per cent below emissions in 2005.

Emissions per capita, and the emissions intensity of the economy, were at their lowest levels in 29 years. Emissions per capita in the year to December 2018 have fallen 38.2 per cent since 1990, while the emissions intensity of the economy has fallen 61.4 per cent (Figure P1).

Annual emissions from the NEM for the year to March 2019 decreased 2.1 per cent on the previous year. Emissions from the NEM for the March 2019 quarter increased by 1.8 per cent on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis3, and were unchanged at 0.0 per cent in trend terms.

Figure P1: Emissions per capita and per dollar of real GDP, year to December 1990 to 2018

See text above and below for a description of data in figure 1
Source: Department of the Environment and Energy


1 The NEM includes grid electricity in the Eastern and South Eastern states and accounts for approximately 85 per cent of total electricity estimates in the year to December 2019.

2 National emissions level are inclusive of all sectors of the economy, including Land Use, Land use Change and Forestry (LULUCF).

3 'Unadjusted', 'seasonally adjusted, weather normalised' and 'trend' are defined in Section 5: Technical Notes

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