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National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: June 2019

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Quarterly Update
Publication Date: 
June 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 June quarter of 2019
  • emissions from the National Electricity Market (NEM)[1] up to the September quarter 2019.

Key data

National emission levels[2] for the June quarter 2019 were unchanged relative to the previous quarter, on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis, but increased by 0.3 per cent in trend terms.

Emissions for the year to June 2019 are estimated to be 532.0 Mt CO2-e, down 0.1 per cent or 0.4 Mt CO2-e on the previous year. Strong growth in emissions from Australia's export industries, principally LNG, were offset by the combination of the ongoing reduction in emissions from electricity (down 1.2 per cent or 2.1 Mt CO2-e) and the effects of the drought on agriculture (down 5.9 per cent or 4.2 Mt CO2-e).

Australia's emissions for the year to June 2019 have declined 15.2 per cent since the peak in the year to June 2007 and were 0.8 per cent below emissions in 2000 and 12.9 per cent below emissions in 2005.

In the year to June 2019 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 June 2019 were lower than 1990 by 40.9 per cent, while the emissions intensity of the economy was 62.9 per cent lower than in 1990 (Figure P1).

Figure P1: Emissions per capita and per dollar of real GDP, year to June 1990 to 2019

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

Emissions from the electricity sector are experiencing a long term decline, down 15.0 per cent from the peak recorded in the year to June 2009. Emissions in the NEM for the September quarter 2019 decreased by 1.5 per cent on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis compared with the previous quarter.[3] For the September 2019 quarter, generation from renewables increased 20.3 per cent primarily due to increases in wind generation (21.4 per cent) and solar generation (33.5 per cent).

Recalculations

In this Quarterly Update, the time-series of emissions has been recalculated using critical new datasets released since the publication of the March Quarterly Update and in preparation for the submission of the Australian Government's National Inventory Report under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change next year. These datasets include:

  • Newly released National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGERS) data, including final data for 2017-18 and preliminary data for 2018-19, which became available as of 31 October 2019;
  • The 2019 Energy Update revised energy consumption estimates down for the entire period 2014-2018; and
  • New data from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences showing the drought intensifying its impacts beyond previous expectations.

Detail is provided in Section 5 - Technical Notes.

Special topic

The special topic (Section 4) highlights that the growing importance of international trade in conjunction with the specialisation in Australia of the production of goods that are relatively emissions-intensive to produce have placed upward pressure on Australia's greenhouse gas inventory in recent years.

A consumption-based national greenhouse gas inventory has been generated by the Department for the first time. It is presented as a preliminary inventory for ongoing work.

The consumption-based inventory estimates that emissions released in Australia in producing our exports for 2018-19 were 199 Mt CO2-e. This is 67 Mt CO2-e or 50 per cent more than for 2004-05.

This new account estimates the impacts on emissions in Australia and in other countries due to Australian consumption. According to this indicator, Australia's consumption-based inventory decreased by 4 per cent or 20 Mt CO2-e to 450 Mt CO2-e in the year to June 2019. Emissions generated by Australian consumption are lower by 18 per cent than they were in 2004-05.

The preliminary analysis indicates that the net effect of Australia's trade with North East Asia, has been to exert strong upward pressure on Australia's national greenhouse gas inventory.

Footnotes

[1] The NEM includes grid electricity in the Eastern and South Eastern states and accounts for approximately 83 per cent of total electricity estimates in the year to June 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 4 - Technical Notes.

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