Market Update: Australian emissions rise to 3 per cent above 2000 levels

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In early May, the Department of Environment released Australia’s National Greenhouse Accounts (NGA) for 2014, containing Australia’s national greenhouse gas emissions for 1990-2014, our official submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Department also released Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory (NGGI) though the December 2015 quarter, rounding out Australia’s preliminary 2015 emissions figures.

Notably, adjustments to Australia’s historical emissions indicate a reduction to Australia’s emissions in the year 2000, with the fall creating an updated reference point for Australia’s 5 per cent emissions reduction target by 2020. Updates to historical figures also indicate that Australian emissions fell to 4 per cent below the newly adjusted 2000 levels in 2014 – just one per cent above Australia’s 5 per cent target.

Since this point, however, Australian emissions have returned to a growth trajectory, driven by the land-use and electricity generation sectors, with the latest update to the NGGI (December quarter) confirming continued growth in emissions over the 2015 calendar year.

We continue to estimate that national emissions will remain on a growth trajectory to 2020, with emissions forecast to grow beyond 2020 to 2030 under current policy. While our current policy forecast shows ‘no peak in sight’, the extent of emissions increases through to 2030 will be highly sensitive to changing macroeconomic conditions, varying degrees of global action to reduce climate change, and domestic activity factors. Even so, our current policy expectations suggest further reform is required in order to achieve both an absolute 5 per cent target and Australia’s longer-term 2030 goal. 

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