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National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: March 2019

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Quarterly Update
Publication Date: 
March 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 March quarter of 2019
  • emissions from the National Electricity Market (NEM)[1] up to the June quarter 2019
  • includes a special topic on natural gas, covering emissions from the gas industry in Australia's National Greenhouse Gas Inventory and the role of gas in the transition to cleaner, more efficient energy systems.

Key data

A recent CSIRO study on Characterisation of Regional Fluxes of Methane in the Surat Basin, Queensland[2] confirmed the robustness of the national greenhouse accounts estimates. The study suggested that upstream fugitive methane leakage rates are less than 0.5 per cent of coal seam gas production. This new estimate validates the upstream leakage rates estimated from data in the national inventory, of around 0.4 per cent for the region.

The methane leakage rate for the entire Australian gas production system - both upstream and downstream - is around 0.7 per cent of total gas production. This compares favourably with the methane leakage rate of US gas production which is around 1.2 per cent.

National emission levels[3] for the March quarter 2019 decreased by 0.4 per cent relative to the previous quarter, on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis, primarily due to decreased emissions from diesel and petrol consumption and livestock. In trend terms, emissions have also decreased by 0.1 per cent.

Emissions for the year to March 2019 are estimated to be 538.9 Mt CO2-e, up 0.6 per cent or 3.1 Mt CO2-e, on the previous year, primarily due to increased LNG exports (18.8 per cent).

Australia's emissions for the year to March 2019 have declined 14.0 per cent since the peak in the year to June 2007 and were 0.5 per cent above emissions in 2000 and 11.7 per cent below emissions in 2005.

In the year to March 2019 emissions per capita, and the emissions intensity of the economy are at their lowest levels in 29 years. Emissions per capita in the year to March 2019 have fallen 40.1 per cent since 1990, while the emissions intensity of the economy has fallen 62.4 per cent (Figure P1).

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

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

Electricity sector emissions decreased by 2.1 per cent in the year to March 2019 and 15.7 per cent from the peak recorded in the year to June 2009. Emissions in the NEM for the June quarter 2019 decreased by 2.8 per cent on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis compared with the previous quarter. For the June 2019 quarter, generation from renewables increased 6.0 per cent primarily due to increases in wind generation (14.8 per cent) and hydro generation (42.0 per cent).


[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 March 2019.

[2] Characterisation of Regional Fluxes of Methane in the Surat Basin, Queensland

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

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