Australia steadies greenhouse emissions

Thursday, 10 May, 2007

National Greenhouse Accounts released show that Australia has steadied emissions growth and is on track to meet its Kyoto target. The Minister for Environment and Water Resources, Malcolm Turnbull, said that the accounts showed that there had been no growth in emissions between 2004 and 2005.

Australia's greenhouse gas emissions in 2005 were 559 million tonnes. This is just 102% above 1990 levels "“ the same level as in 2004.

"Australia is committed to meeting its Kyoto target of 108% of 1990 levels and today's accounts show that we are on course to do that," Turnbull said.

"It is a significant achievement that since 1990 we have managed to constrain growth in our greenhouse gas emissions at 2% while our economy has grown by 61%."

The Greenhouse Accounts show that while there have been some changes in emissions across economic sectors, Australia's total emissions have stabilised.

"While Australia's rich resource assets and unique energy-intensive industries mean our domestic emissions intensity is much greater than other countries, we represent just one and a half percent of global greenhouse gas emissions," Turnbull said.

"The government's climate change strategy recognises our reliance on fossil fuels and provides a clear pathway to a low-emissions future.

"Our strategy is to focus on real, practical solutions that will bring our emissions down in the short-term; for example, through our phasing out of incandescent light bulbs over the next three years and our $200 million Global Initiative on Forests and Climate which will help stimulate global action to reduce deforestation, an activity that produces emissions second only to burning fossil fuels to produce electricity.

"Action to reduce clearing of the world's forests can have a big impact "“ if the world only halved the current rate of global deforestation, we could reduce annual global greenhouse gas emissions by 3 billion tonnes a year "“ or around 10%.

"While today's accounts show Australia is tracking well, we must remember that climate change is a global issue requiring a global solution."

Australia's National Greenhouse Accounts comprises three annual reports that detail Australia's greenhouse gas emissions in conformity with accounting rules for the Kyoto emissions targets.

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