Main navigation
Main content area

The Quarterly Update of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory reports Australia’s latest greenhouse gas emissions.

This update provides estimates of:

  • national emissions up to the December quarter of 2020
  • emissions from the National Electricity Market up to the March quarter of 2021

Explore interactive data and insights

On this page:

Annual emissions data

This interactive graph shows annual emissions by year from December 1990 to December 2020.

You can select data by sector. Move your mouse over the graph to view emissions for any year.


Source: Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (2021)

Quarterly emissions data

This interactive graph shows emissions by quarter from December 1999 to December 2020.

You can select data by sector. Move your mouse over the graph to view actual emissions and trends for any quarter.


Source: Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (2021)

Annual emissions data by sector

This interactive graph shows annual emissions by sector from 1990 to 2020.

You can select data by year to see how the emissions from each sector have changed over time.


Source: Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (2021)

Data insights

Emissions for the year to December 2020 are an estimated 499.0 Mt carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). This is 5.0% (26.1 Mt CO2-e) less than the previous year and is the lowest emission level ever recorded in the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

Lower emissions this year reflect:

  • ongoing reductions in emissions from electricity (down 4.9%)
  • an 8.8% drop in fugitive emissions, partly due to reduced coal production
  • the continuing short-term effects of COVID-19 restrictions on emissions from transport, which fell 12.1%

These reductions were partially offset by increased emissions from the land sector.

In the year to December 2020, emissions per person and the emissions intensity of the economy were at their lowest levels in 31 years. Emissions per person were 46.7% lower than 1990, while the emissions intensity of the economy was 66.1% lower than 1990.

Increased economic activity is flowing through to transport emissions, which rose during the quarter.

Overall emissions in the December quarter fell 0.6% on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis.

Australia’s emissions have declined 22.6% since their peak in the year to June 2007. Emissions in the year to December 2020 were 20.1% below emissions in the year to June 2005 (the baseline year for Australia’s 2030 target under the Paris Agreement).

About the data

We compiled this report using emissions estimation rules adopted under the Paris Agreement.

Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Accounts include all sources and sinks across the economy and take into account the latest scientific evidence. We fulfil our international treaty commitments by submitting annual National Inventory Reports to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). A UNFCCC expert team reviews them each year for transparency, accuracy, completeness, comparability and consistency.

Download the full report and data

Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: December 2020 [4.6MB PDF]

Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: December 2020 [6.5MB DOCX]

Data sources [5.5MB XLSX]

Hide publication menu: 
Hide menu