National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: March 2020

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Quarerly Update
Publication Date: 
August 2020

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 2020
  • preliminary estimates of emissions up to the June quarter 2020

Interactive data

This interactive graph shows emissions, by quarter, from March 2000 to June 2020.

Mouse over to view actual emissions or trends for any quarter.

Source: Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

Data insights

Emissions to the March quarter 2020

Emissions for the year to March 2020 are estimated to be 528.7 Mt CO2-e. This is down 1.4% or 7.7 Mt CO2-e on the previous year. Ongoing reductions in emissions from electricity (4.2% or 7.6 Mt CO2-e) and the lingering effects of last year’s drought on agriculture (5.5% or 4.0 Mt CO2-e) dominated increases in other sectors, including from total export industries. These industries increased by 1.9% (3.9 Mt CO2-e), mainly reflecting increases in LNG exports (up 11.1% to 79 Mt of liquefied gas).

National emission levels[1] for the March quarter 2020 were unchanged on the previous quarter, on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis.

Australia’s emissions have declined 16.7% since the peak in the year to June 2007. The year to March emissions were 3.1% below emissions for the year to June in 2000 and 14.3% below emissions in the year to June 2005.

In the year to March 2020, emissions per capita and the emissions intensity of the economy were at their lowest levels in 30 years. Emissions per capita were lower than 1990 by 42.9% while the emissions intensity of the economy was 64.2% lower than in 1990.

Emissions in the June quarter 2020

Preliminary estimates indicate that total emissions in the June quarter 2020 were around 124 Mt CO2-e. These incorporate the period of COVID-19 restrictions. Emissions were estimated to be lower than in the June quarter 2019 by 8% or by 10 Mt CO2-e. This was a result of lower emissions from electricity generation and lower emissions from the combustion of fuels in other sectors (stationary energy and transport).

The impact of COVID-19 restrictions have been most marked in the transport sector, with 26.7% less petrol and 79% less jet fuel consumed in the June quarter 2020. Emissions from consumption of liquid fuels (petrol, diesel and jet fuel) were 17.9% lower than in the June quarter 2019.

The industrial and electricity sectors have been more resilient. Metered electricity demand was down in the month of June 2020, just 1.4% lower than in June 2019.

Emissions from the National Electricity Market (NEM) decreased 1.6% on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis in June compared with the previous quarter. Emissions from the NEM are down 5.2% over the year to June compared with the same period to June 2019.

In the year to June 2020, emissions are estimated to be as low as 518 million tonnes, their lowest level since 1998.


  1. National emissions levels are inclusive of all sectors of the economy, including Land Use, Land use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) and includes the application of the IPCC’s natural disturbance provision.

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