The Federal Government has released its quarterly update of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory for December 2017.
In the year to December 2017 Australia’s climate pollution increased 1.5% (including land use, land use change and forestry).
Fugitive emissions from the production, processing, transport, storage, transmission and distribution of fossil fuels, such as coal, crude oil and natural gas, increased by 10.5% over the year to December 2017, driven by a 17.6% increase in natural gas production.
There was a 3.1% decrease in emissions from the electricity sector. According to the Environment and Energy Department this decrease reflected weakening demand in the National Electricity Market and a reduction in brown coal generation.
Stationary energy use, which includes emissions from direct combustion of fuels, predominantly in manufacturing, mining, residential and commercial sectors, increased by 3.8%. This was largely caused by a 41.4% increase in LNG production in 2017 with a further 18.1% increase forecasted for 2018.
Turnbull Government’s record
Since coming to office in September 2013 the Coalition has made no progress in reducing Australia’s overall climate pollution. In fact, there is an upward trend. In its first quarter in government (December 2013), emissions were at 130.4 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2 -e). For the December 2017 quarter they are now at 133.7 Mt CO2 -e. An increase of 2.5%.
Since the Federal Government repealed a price on pollution in June 2014 emissions have risen 3.6%, with Australia’s emissions currently above 2012 levels. This contrasts with the 2007–2013 period under the former federal government in which pollution came down over 11%.
The current Federal Government has set Australia’s 2030 emission target at 441 – 435 Mt CO2-e. Australia’s emissions for the year to December 2017 are at 533.7 Mt CO2-e. This 2030 target is not consistent with the government’s commitment under the Paris Accord to limit global warming well below 2°C and achieve net-zero pollution by 2050.
Quotes attributable to Australian Conservation Foundation Climate Change Program Manager, Gavan McFadzean:
“It is truly embarrassing that a wealthy and developed country like Australia would have rising climate pollution. This is a failure of the Turnbull Government’s leadership on climate change policy.
“This data confirms pollution is rising from transport, industry and gas production because there is no plan from Canberra to replace burning polluting coal, oil and gas with clean energy.
“The Turnbull Government has stalled in its attempts to introduce pollution standards for vehicles equivalent to those in the United States and Canada. And its caps on industrial climate pollution are full of holes.
“The Federal Budget contained no new money to incentivise industry and landowners to clean-up their act. The Climate Change Authority will be worse off to the tune of $550,000. Yet there is money for big miners: the diesel fuel rebate remains in place.
“We need a comprehensive national climate change plan that will rapidly cut pollution across our society and ensures Australia plays its fair role in halting global warming and ensuring we maintain our safe climate.”