National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: September 2019

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Quartely Update
Publication Date: 
February 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 reporting requirements.

The Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory is a publication series that reports on the latest estimates of Australia’s national greenhouse gas inventory. The update provides:

  • estimates of Australia’s national inventory of greenhouse gas emissions used by the Australian Government to acquit its Paris Agreement target up to the September quarter of 2019
  • emissions from the National Electricity Market (NEM)[1] up to the December quarter 2019

Key data

National emission levels[1] for the September quarter 2019 were unchanged relative to the previous quarter, on a seasonally adjusted, weather normalised as well as in trend terms[2].

Emissions for the year to September 2019 are estimated to be 530.8 Mt CO2-e, down 0.3 per cent or 1.4 Mt CO2-e on the previous year. Strong growth in emissions from stationary energy (2.6 per cent or 2.6 Mt CO2-e) and fugitive emissions (6.1 per cent or 3.3 Mt CO2-e), were offset by the combination of the ongoing reduction in emissions from electricity (2.0 per cent or 3.6 Mt CO2-e) and the effects of the drought on agriculture (5.8 per cent or 4.1 Mt CO2-e).

Australia’s emissions for the year to September 2019 have declined 15.4 per cent since the peak in the year to June 2007 and were 1.0 per cent below emissions in 2000 and 13.1 per cent below emissions in 2005.

In the year to September 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 September 2019 were lower than 1990 by 40.4 per cent, while the emissions intensity of the economy was 62.7 per cent lower than in 1990 (Figure P1).

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

See text above and below for a description of data in figure 1

Emissions from the electricity sector are experiencing a long term decline, down 15.9 per cent from the peak recorded in the year to June 2009. Emissions in the NEM for the December quarter 2019 decreased by 0.8 per cent on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis compared with the previous quarter. For the December 2019 quarter, generation from renewables increased 7.3 per cent due to seasonally adjusted increases of 13.2 per cent for wind, 3.7 per cent for hydro and an increase of 24.7 per cent for solar generation.

This Quarterly Update also includes for the first time an update on the estimated emissions for a consumption-based inventory for Australia.

On this basis, the inventory shows an annual decline in emissions globally from Australian consumption of 2.3 per cent.

Tracking emissions from recent bushfires

The September Quarterly Update incorporates emissions estimates up to 30 September 2019 and therefore does not cover the time period in which the bulk of recent fire activity occurred.

Under internationally agreed rules, bushfire emissions on forest land are able to be reported using Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidance on natural disturbances. This guidance is referred to as the natural disturbance provision.

It is signaled in the Quarterly Update - Technical Notes that the inventory reported in the Quarterly Update is the national inventory total with the application of the natural disturbances provision. This inventory is relevant for accounting for progress towards the Paris Agreement target.

The department department will provide additional information on the national inventory total without the application of the natural disturbance provision as part of its annual inventory submission scheduled for April 2020.

This two inventory approach is consistent with the agreement reached at the IPCC Plenary in May 2019.


  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 September 2019.
  2. National emissions level are inclusive of all sectors of the economy, including Land Use, Land use Change and Forestry (LULUCF).
  3. ‘actual’, ‘seasonally adjusted, weather normalised’ and ‘trend’ are defined in Section 5 - Technical notes.

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