Emissions Audit shows energy sector backsliding on emissions

A new emissions audit of Australia's energy sector released by The Australia Institute shows that Australia's total energy emissions increased in the quarter to March 2017, and on current government projections would reverse reductions and return emissions to 2005 levels by 2030.

In Paris, Australia committed to reduce emission by 26-28% on 2005 levels by 2030.

The National Energy Emissions Audit, written by energy analyst and ANU Honorary Associate Professor, Dr Hugh Saddler, tracks Australia's emissions of greenhouse gases from the combustion of fossil fuels.

The Audit will be published on a quarterly basis, in September, December, March and June each year. In each intermediate month the NEEA Electricity Update will report on changes to emissions from electricity generation in the National Electricity Market (NEM).

Dr Sadler said the data published in The Audit show that Australia's electricity sector is operating without regard for climate policy.

The Audit and government estimates show that in the absence of further policy action, Australia’s total emissions will increase from the 2015 level to between 571 and 616 Mt by 2030, i.e. back to the 2005 level.

Dr Sadler said the increase in total energy emissions was being driven by gas used to produce Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) at the three export plants near Gladstone, in Queensland.

“The LNG-driven increase more than offsets reductions in emissions from electricity generation and petroleum combustion.”

Dr Sadler said the Audit highlights "just how far Australia currently is from being ‘on track’ to achieve its 2030 emissions reduction target. In the hype around the Finkel Review, this sobering reality seems to have been forgotten.”

“Furthermore,” he said, “the Audit shows that aside from land clearing and land use changes, energy combustion emissions are also increasing” .

Dr Sadler pointed to a number of serious omissions of the Finkel review, significant in formulation of future policy.

“The issue of how the electricity sector should contribute to Australia’s overall emissions reduction task is not addressed in the Finkel Review. Neither are major policies such as the renewable energy targets adopted by the state governments of both Victoria and Queensland, planning for both of which is well advanced.”

The National Energy Emission Audit is available at http://www.tai.org.au/publication/national-energy-emissions-audit

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