Climate protest

The Australian Federal Government has officially submitted its annual National Inventory Report to the United Nations (UN), covering emissions estimates from 1990 to 2021 and providing in-depth information on how Australia measures and reports its emissions.

This report is the first in the world to meet the emissions reporting requirements of the Paris Agreement.

For Australia to attract crucial investment to become a renewable energy superpower, the Federal Government insists on the highest levels of transparency and accountability – and to provide policy certainty to trading partners and international investors.

In 2021, Australia’s net greenhouse gas emissions were 464.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This result shows emission reductions of:

  • 27.0 per cent (171.5 Mt CO2-e) from 636.3 Mt CO2-e in 1989–90
  • 24.6 per cent (151.5 Mt CO2-e) from 616.3 Mt CO2-e in 2004–05
  • 6.0 per cent (29.5 Mt CO2-e) from 494.2 Mt CO2-e in 2019–20

The energy sector continued to be the largest source of national emissions, while the land sector continued to be a net sink for emissions. Updated emission estimation methods were applied to the energy, waste and land sectors. 

The report reflects Australia’s commitment to continuous improvement of Australia’s national inventory. 

These improvements will be incorporated into the upcoming Quarterly Update of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the year to December 2022, scheduled for release at the end of May 2023.

The Federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, said this report reiterates the Federal Government’s commitment to climate credibility.

“I welcome today’s release of the first National Inventory Report to ensure we are meeting our obligations under Paris and upholding the highest levels of transparency,” Mr Bowen said.

“One of our first acts in government was to reinvigorate the Climate Change Authority and deliver annual climate statements, to increase transparency of Australia’s climate challenges and opportunities.

“Being the first country to submit a Paris Agreement inventory underlines our commitment to deliver climate transparency, which will help Australia attract the investment needed to become a renewable energy superpower.”

The information in the report will be subject to independent technical review by the UN, keeping Australia accountable for the quality of emissions estimates that we report to the global community as well as our broader action on climate change.

The report forms part of the National Greenhouse Accounts 2021. 

Throughout April and May 2023, the remaining elements of the accounts will be published; the State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories 2021 and National Inventory by Economic Sector 2021, which disaggregate the National Inventory Report by jurisdiction and economic sector respectively.

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