Australia’s CO2e emissions continue to rise

Despite attempts by the Government to bury the news, the latest update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory from the Department of the Environment and Energy show that the total emissions of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) are rising.

Based on the following figure from page 3 of the report, the Prime Minister likes to emphasise that “we’ve got emissions per capita at the lowest level in 28 years.”

Emissions per capita and per dollar of real GDP (Source: Department of the Environment and Energy)

But total emissions, however,  have continued to rise. The following figure (p. 40) shows how emissions fell between 2007 (around the time that Kevin Rudd, a former Prime Minister, described climate change as “the great moral challenge of our generation“) and 2013 when Tony Abbot was elected with a promise to abolish carbon pricing, but have steadily increased ever since. 

According to the ABC, the report was released late last Friday, which was a public holiday in Victoria, the start of a long weekend in three other states (NSW, ACT and SA), just before the NRL and AFL grand finals (major national football codes for anybody outside of Australia), and just after the release of the Interim Report of the banking royal commission. It is hard to believe that the timing of the release was anything but an attempt to bury the news—the Government had received the report nearly 2 months earlier.

It’s no wonder they tried to bury it. Using unofficial emission figures  released by NDEVR Environmental two weeks earlier, the Guardian shows that Australia is well on track to miss the Paris climate targets.

Australian Quarterly Emissions (Source: The Guardian)

When emissions from land use, land use change and forestry are excluded (which are difficult to estimate and monitor), emissions are the highest since records began in 2002.

Australian Quarterly Emissions by sector (Source: The Guardian)


The Government continues to claim that Australia will meet its Paris targets, ignores or minimises the likely impacts of climate change, refuses to tackle Australia’s reliance on fossil fuels, and has no meaningful policy to reduce CO2 emissions. It is simply not good enough.

If you liked this post please follow my blog, and you might like to look at:

  1. Our addiction to growth
  2. 10 ways to reduce your consumption
  3. Is our love affair with fossil fuels an abusive relationship?
  4. Give Frank a Break! (A humorous video about the serious issue of plastic pollution)
  5. How (and why) I joined the Transition movement
  6. Four roles of social activism

If you find any problems with the blog, (e.g., broken links or typos) I’d love to hear about them. You can either add a comment below or contact me via the Contact page.

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, environmentalist, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace, sustainability.
This entry was posted in Environmental sustainability and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Australia’s CO2e emissions continue to rise

  1. Nic Stuart says:

    I hear, although haven’t confirmed, that the huge electricity demand of bitcoin mining – the creation of crypto-currencies using computers – is likely to mean that this will soon be generating similar levels of emissions to those produced by airline travel.

    Liked by 1 person

I'd love to hear what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.