Australia’s electricity emissions rise at quickest pace in a decade

Published 02:08 on August 5, 2015  /  Last updated at 02:08 on August 5, 2015  /  Asia Pacific, Australia  /  No Comments

Carbon emissions from Australia’s electricity generation sector over the past two months rose at the quickest pace since 2004, as coal replaced renewables and natural gas in the mix, a report said Wednesday.

Carbon emissions from Australia’s electricity generation sector over the past two months rose at the quickest pace since 2004, as coal replaced renewables and natural gas in the mix, a report said Wednesday.

Annual carbon emissions from the National Electricity Market, which accounts for around a third of Australia’s total GHG emissions, increased 1.2% the past two months, according to Cedex, a monthly emissions update from consultants Pitt & Sherry.

Coal’s share of emissions rose to 76.3% in the 12 months to July 2015, the report said, compared to 72.7% in the year to June 2014, after which the government dismantled the carbon price.

The increase came as electricity demand continued to rise at a modest pace, while gas, wind and hydro generation all slowed, paving the way for more coal consumption.

The decline in gas gathered pace as more of the lower-emitting fuel was being exported, according to the report. Meanwhile, the energy-intensive process of liquefying gas for export added to domestic coal use.

“There is an element of irony in the fact that production of LNG, much of which will be used to generate lower emission electricity in the destination countries, is using large quantities of coal fired electricity in Australia,” said Hugh Saddler, principal consultant at Pitt & Sherry.

“In doing so, it is already on track to increase Australia’s emissions by between 1.5 and 2.0 million tonnes CO2‐e per annum, a figure which is certain to get much bigger in the next two or so years.”

The report confirmed the trend of Australia’s power sector emissions rising every month since the carbon tax was repealed last year.

The government is currently finalising its post-2020 emission pledge that it will bring to the UN climate talks in Paris in December, and is expected to announce the target this month.

By Stian Reklev – stian@carbon-pulse.com

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