Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions rose 0.3% year-on-year in the 12 months to March, government data showed Friday, with increases in emissions from energy and LULUCF offsetting cuts in carbon output from agriculture.
The nation emitted 545.1 million tonnes of CO2e over the 12-month period, an increase of 1.9 million tonnes compared to the previous period, according to data from the Department of the Environment.
The biggest increase came in the LULUCF sector, where emissions rose by 2.9 million tonnes (35.5%) to 11.1 mt.
Emissions from electricity generation grew by 1.3 mt (0.7%) to 182.1 mt despite falling demand, as a result of coal taking up a bigger share of the energy mix after the carbon price was repealed last year.
CO2 from stationary energy sources excluding electricity also rose by 1.1 mt (1.2%).
Emissions from agriculture fell by 2.9 million tonnes (3.4%), driven by a decline in the beef cattle population, while there were small drops in fugitive emissions and carbon output from industrial sources, the data showed.
The data cast further doubt on Australia’s ability to meet its targets to cut emissions to 5% below 2000 levels by 2020 and 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030.
But Environment Minister Greg Hunt said Australia remained on track to meet its ambitions. In a press statement that ignored LULUCF emissions – which left Australia with a 0.2% GHG reduction – he said the country’s per capita emissions were at their lowest level in 25 years.
“These figures clearly show that it is possible to reduce emissions without Labor’s massive carbon tax which drives up electricity prices for Australian families, pensioners and businesses,” Hunt said.
“We are on track to meet and beat our target of cutting Australia’s emissions by five per cent from 2000 levels by 2020, and we have a strong and credible target for the post-2020 period,” he added.
By Stian Reklev – firstname.lastname@example.org