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According to the September 2019 Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Australia’s emissions are 13 per cent below emissions in 2005 (the baseline year for the Paris Agreement). 

The inventory was released on 24 February 2020. It found that in the year to September 2019, emissions fell 0.3 per cent or 1.4Mt CO2-e to 530.8Mt CO2-e.

Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, said that while the Australian economy is steadily decarbonising, growth in Australia’s exports is putting upward pressure on emissions.

“Our liquified natural gas (LNG) exports are reducing global emissions by displacing more emissions-intensive fuels overseas,” Mr Taylor said. 

Emissions related to LNG production, a key export sector, increased by 16.9 per cent or 6.3Mt CO2-e in the year to September 2019. Australia’s LNG exports are estimated to be worth $50.4 billion in the year to September 2019.

“The value of our exports has increased by $83 billion since September 2013, reflecting the government’s good economic management,” Mr Taylor said.

Emissions generated by exports have increased 54 per cent on 2005 levels and are now 39.1 per cent of Australia’s total emissions.

Despite this upward pressure, emissions per capita and the emissions intensity of the economy continue to fall, and are at their lowest levels in nearly three decades.

In the year to September 2019, emissions per capita have fallen 40.4 per cent compared to 1990, while the emissions intensity of the economy has fallen 62.7 per cent.

Emissions from electricity generation fell for a third year in a row, down 2.0 per cent or 3.6Mt CO2-e. During the September Quarter 2019, emissions in the National Electricity Market fell to their lowest level since records began in 2001.

The report also highlights the ongoing impact of the drought and Queensland floods on emissions produced in the agriculture sector.

During the September Quarter 2019, emissions were unchanged relative to the previous quarter, on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis as well as in trend terms.

The government is taking action to reduce emissions and welcomes these developments as it delivers it $3.5 billion Climate Solutions Package, which maps out how Australia will meet its 2030 Paris target.

The Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: September 2019 can be found here.

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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