Data shows while emissions from electricity sector are in decline, gains have been wiped out by increases from other industries
— Australia’s annual carbon emissions have reached a new high and drops in emissions from the electricity sector have been wiped out by increases from other industries, according to new data.
Ndevr Environmental, an emissions-tracking organisation that releases quarterly greenhouse gas emissions data, said on Thursday that annual emissions for the year up to December 2018 increased to 558.4m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. It was the highest level on record when excluding unreliable land use data.
Ndevr’s data showed Australia was still not on track to meet its Paris target of a 26-28% reduction in emissions on 2005 levels and that carbon pollution was increasing across most sectors of the economy.
The Morrison government has repeatedly claimed Australia will meet its targets “in a canter” and was criticised earlier this month for falsely claiming emissions were decreasing.
The Ndevr report said emissions in the December quarter decreased by 1.4m tonnes on the September quarter.
But it also highlighted that emissions increased by 0.9m tonnes on the same quarter a year ago.
Emissions fluctuate seasonally, with the September quarter typically recording the highest emissions levels within each year.
“This quarter rounds out the calendar year for 2018 and what it shows is that emissions have increased again to a record high,” Matt Drum, Ndevr’s managing director, said.
The report shows emissions from the electricity sector continue to decline due to large-scale renewable energy projects.
But those gains were cancelled out by increases in emissions from all forms of transport, stationary energy (fuels burnt in equipment or plants not involved in electricity generation) and fugitive emissions (leaks from other activities such as methane from a coalmine).
“Over 2018 electricity emissions decreased by about 7m tonnes but those three sources together increased by more than 12.5m tonnes,” Drum said.
Climate scientists have warned policymakers that emissions outside of the power sector account for the majority of Australia’s carbon pollution.
Australia is lagging behind other countries in setting new national vehicle emissions standards and transitioning to electric cars.
“It’s something we’ve been screaming from the rooftops for a long time now,” Drum said. “The electricity sector is not the problem. The problem is all other sectors that aren’t subject to any real binding carbon emissions reduction target or policy.”
by Lisa Cox | The Guardian