30 August 2019
Today the Morrison Government released the March 2019 Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory.
During the first quarter 2019, emissions fell 0.4 per cent on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis.
Emissions for the year to March 2019 are up 0.6 per cent or 3.1 Mt CO2-e. This increase is more than accounted for by a 4.7 Mt CO2-e increase in LNG production related emissions, as LNG exports increased 18.8 per cent. Absent the increase in LNG exports, emissions would have declined 0.3 per cent or 1.6 Mt CO2-e (refer Figure 1).
The report includes a special topic on natural gas, covering the role gas plays in the transition to cleaner, more efficient energy systems. Recent CSIRO research has found that substituting gas for coal in electricity generation produces a substantial greenhouse gas emissions saving of up to 50 per cent. Where flexible gas generation is used to ‘firm’ variable renewable energy sources like solar and wind, the emissions intensity of electricity generation is even lower.
Australia’s LNG exports for the year to March 2019 are estimated to be worth $47.8 billion and have the potential to reduce global emissions by up to 152 Mt CO2-e, or up to 28 per cent of Australia’s annual emissions.
Emissions from electricity generation, Australia’s largest source of emissions, fell 2.1 per cent or 3.8 Mt CO2-e over the year to March 2019, as the share of electricity sourced from renewables continues to grow.
In 2018, Australia led the world in clean energy investment, with more than double the per-capita investment of countries like France, Germany and the United Kingdom. This investment will contribute to further reductions in emissions from the electricity sector and the emissions intensity of the economy over coming years as substantial amounts of new renewable generation come online.
The report shows emissions per capita and the emissions intensity of the economy continue to fall and are at their lowest levels in nearly three decades.
In the year to March 2019, emissions per capita have fallen 40.1 per cent since 1990, while the emissions intensity of the economy has fallen 62.4 per cent.
Australia’s emissions are also 14 per cent below the peak recorded in the year to June 2007 and 11.7 per cent below emissions in 2005 (the baseline year for the Paris Agreement).
The Government welcomes these positive developments as it implements the $3.5 billion Climate Solutions Package, which maps out how we will meet our 2030 Paris target down to the last tonne. We are taking a sensible and balanced approach to securing a better future for Australians, reducing emissions while ensuring our economy remains strong.
Figure 1: Impact of Australia’s LNG exports on emissions (year to March basis)