Carbon Emissions in Australia: Where Are We At?

Following an interview on ABC TV program Insiders, many Australians felt none the wiser over carbon emissions in Australia. The Insiders host Barrie Cassidy grilled Energy Minister Angus Taylor on whether carbon emissions are up or down.

Government Reporting of Carbon Emissions in Australia

Angus Taylor spent much of the Insiders interview claiming carbon emissions were down. He pointed to a National Greenhouse Gas Inventory  report, which showed emissions were down 1.4%. However the issue was that figure was only for the quarter to September 2018.

The Other Side of Carbon Emissions in Australia

Barrie Cassidy presented a different view of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. He pointed out carbon emissions in Australia were up over the course of the whole year. He was right. Furthermore, since June 2013 carbon emissions have increased every single financial year. Although there’s been a few quarters where reductions have occurred, these reductions were not enough to influence the whole year’s data.

What are the Targets for Carbon Emissions in Australia?

Under the Paris Agreement, Australia has committed to reduce carbon emissions by 26-28% by 2030. This uses 2005 figures as a starting point. Following that, we should be reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Most experts believe we can achieve these targets considering our potential for renewable energy. However, a 2018 report by ClimateWorks suggested we were only on track to reduce emissions by 11% by 2030. But government policy and industry support are key factors deciding whether we can easily meet the targets as suggested by the report.

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