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Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: June 2019

The Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy (DoEE) has today released the Quarterly Update of the Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory (NGGI) report for the June 2019 quarter. It shows that (when including land use emissions) Australia’s national emissions have declined by 0.1% for the 2019 financial year:

Source: Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: June 2019, page 8

The largest contributors to the decline in emissions was from Agriculture. Emissions from agriculture declined due to drought conditions and water shortages, which according to the report have caused the following outcomes:

  • “Drought conditions have impacted cattle and sheep industries due to poor grazing conditions and the high cost and availability of grain.”
  • “During 2018-19, drought conditions impacted crop yields throughout Australia as planting decision are primarily driven by water availability and market demand.”

Electricity emissions fell due to an increase in renewable energy generation, and transport emissions also fell marginally on the previous year. Aside from waste emissions, which had no net change in on the previous year, all other emission sectors are increasing including fugitive emissions with a 4.4% increase.

Source: Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: June 2019, page 14

Fugitive emissions are primarily caused by coal mining activities and crude oil and natural gas activities. Despite stable coal mining emissions over time, crude oil and natural gas emissions are increasing at a rapid rate due to in part to a 20.7% increase in natural gas production for the last year alone.

Source: Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: June 2019, page 12

Similar to fugitive emissions, increases in natural gas production and other energy industries, are also driving up stationary energy emissions. Stationary energy emissions arise from the combustion of fossil fuels in machinery and equipment in heavy industry and have increased 3.6% for the year.

Source: Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: June 2019, page 12

Although emissions declined by 0.1% for the year, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) annual emissions gap report states that globally “emissions must drop 7.6 per cent per year from 2020 to 2030 for the 1.5 degree goal and 2.7 per cent per year for the 2 degree goal”.

The report also states the following:

  • “…seven G20 members require further action of varying degree to achieve their Nationally Determined Contributions: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, South Africa and the US.”
  • “With the re-election of Australia’s conservative Government in May, there has been no recent material change in Australian climate policy. This will make achieving its NDC of a 26 per cent to 28 per cent emissions reduction below 2005 levels by 2030 challenging. “
  • ” The dropping of the proposed National Energy Guarantee in 2018 and that the renewable energy target will not be raised for years after 2020 up to 2030 (Clean Energy Regulator 2018) leaves Australia with no major policy tool to encourage emission reductions from the electricity sector in the short to medium term.”

To meet the annual Paris target by 2030, Australia’s annual emissions will need to reduce from its current level of 532 MtCO2-e to 441 – 453 Mt CO2-e. That will require an annual decline of 7.2 Mt CO2-e to 2030.

Australia’s emissions declined 0.1% for the year which represents an absolute emissions reduction of 0.4 Mt CO2-e. If Australian emissions continued to decline at the rate of 0.4 Mt CO2-e per annum, then:

  • In 2030, when the Paris Target period ends, Australia will overshoot the target by between 74.6 – 86.6 Mt CO2-e (16 – 20% overshoot);
  • We would reach the less ambitious Paris Agreement Target (26% reduction) by the year 2215, 185 years too late;
  • We would reach the more ambitious Paris Agreement Target (28% reduction) by the year 2246, 216 years too late.

This can be seen in the following graph

Source: Ndevr Environmental

Stay tuned for Ndevr Environmental’s next tracking 2 degrees report in the coming weeks to see if emissions are projected to decrease further again in the next quarter.

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