Clean energy, less fuel use cut emissions

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Fewer jets in the air, vehicles on the road and cleaner energy have helped cut Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The latest data shows Australia’s emissions for the year to March were 494.2 million tonnes, down 27.8 million tonnes, or 5.3 per cent, relative to a year earlier.

The figure is 20.8 per cent below 2005 levels – the baseline year for Australia’s 26-28 per cent Paris 2030 target – and the lowest level on record.

The largest contributors to this reduction were the continued decline in electricity emissions (down by 9.7 million tonnes) and the transport sector (down by 13.1 million tonnes).

In the year to June, emissions from the national electricity market fell 4.6 per cent to a new record low.

“While there is still work to be done, this data shows the government’s comprehensive suite of policies to meet its emissions reduction commitments, encourage innovation and back new and emerging low emissions technologies are working,” Energy Minister Angus Taylor said.

Also over the past year there has been a decline in industrial emissions, resulting in a 1.5 per cent drop in emissions from stationary energy, reflecting a small decline in LNG exports.

As well, fugitive emissions were down 8.3 per cent, reflecting in part the operation of WA’s Gorgon carbon capture and storage project and a fall in coal production.

Australia is under pressure from global leaders and the business and environmental lobby to commit to net zero emissions targets by 2050.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison has only committed so far to achieving net zero “as soon as possible”.

The next major stocktake on global climate action will occur at the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November.

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