Annual emissions from the utilities sector fell by 19.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent gas (Mt CO2-e) during the two years of the carbon pricing scheme but then rose by 14.6 Mt CO2-e over the two years following its repeal. However, the NGGI data indicate emissions from electricity generation fell in the late 2010s and the Government expects them to continue to fall through the 2020s due to rooftop solar uptake and large-scale renewable energy supported by state and territory government policies. Five states and territories have renewable energy targets and six states and territories have a net zero emissions target for 2050 or earlier.
Annual mining emissions rose by 16.4 Mt CO2-e between 2013-14 and 2016-17; annual emissions from oil and gas extraction alone increased 68 per cent (15.6 Mt CO2-e).
This was mostly the outcome of increased liquefied natural gas (LNG) production with export volumes of natural and manufactured gas (including LNG) jumping 83 per cent over the same period. Mining emissions will likely continue to rise until 2019-20 when ANZ Research expects LNG export volumes to peak. In 2019, Australia became the world’s largest LNG exporter, ahead of Qatar.
There has been a long-term upward trend in transport emissions but growth accelerated between 2014-15 and 2016-17. Annual transport emissions increased by 4.6 Mt CO2-e over these two years. While domestic air transport emissions growth has slowed, growth in emissions from the road transport (freight and passenger) and “other” (sightseeing, postal, operations) subsectors accelerated over 2015-16 and 2016-17.
Household transport emissions (around three-quarters of total household emissions) jumped 7.2 per cent in 2014-15 but have since fluctuated. Household non-transport emissions recorded their smallest rise over the recorded period in 2016-17.
The consistent decline in manufacturing emissions is in line with falling output.
Intensity still falling, but slower
The utilities industry, as well as having the highest total emissions, has the highest emissions intensity. This is mostly due to the electricity and gas supply subsector.
After falling for six years, utilities emissions intensity rose by a cumulative 3.6 per cent in the two years following the repeal of the carbon pricing scheme. But positive signs for the future are emerging. The 3.4 per cent fall in intensity in 2016-17 will likely be followed by further reductions in the late 2010s and into the 2020s, given the increase in renewables investment, growing share of electricity generation from renewable sources, and the closure of Hazelwood and other coal-fired power stations.