Carbon pollution declines as economy grows

Tuesday, 16 April, 2013

National Greenhouse Accounts released yesterday show Australia’s carbon pollution fell slightly during 2012, even though the economy continued to grow, due mainly to lower greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity generation sector.

The accounts show Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions declined by 0.2% for the year to December 2012 compared to the previous year - a period which saw year on year growth in real GDP of 3.4%.

Annual emissions for this period were 551.9 million tonnes (excluding land use emissions), down from 553.2 million tonnes in 2011.

For the major sectors covered by the carbon pricing mechanism - electricity, other stationary energy, fugitives, industrial process emissions and waste - emissions decreased by 1% over the six months to December 2012 compared with the same period in 2011.

Carbon pollution from the electricity generation sector accounts for 36% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. For the first two quarters of 2012-13, national emissions from this sector were around 14 million tonnes lower, on an annualised basis, compared with emissions for the same period in the previous year.

The combination of the carbon price, Renewable Energy Target and energy efficiency policies has contributed to turning around the growth of electricity sector emissions since Labor was elected in November 2007.

Source: DIICCSRTE, Australian National Greenhouse Accounts.

There has been modest growth in emissions from some other sectors driven by Australia’s strong economic growth and resources investments. This shows the importance of continued action on climate change across a number of fronts.

Australia has formally submitted the latest National Greenhouse Accounts to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), showing that Australia’s carbon pollution levels are currently tracking at 105% of their 1990 levels.

Australia’s latest National Greenhouse Accounts include four reports:

  • Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: December Quarter 2012
  • National Inventory Report 2011 (submission under the UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol)
  • National Inventory by Economic Sector 2010-11
  • State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories 2010-11

The reports are available at http://climatechange.gov.au/climate-change/emissions.aspx.

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