Australia’s emissions projections

Domestic PolicyTaskforces on Past Domestic Policy InitiativesUnited Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Tuesday, 11 August 2015
Publication author(s):
Australian Government
Publication abstract:

Australia’s 2030 target is strong, credible and responsible. It will require significant and sustained effort to achieve, given our national circumstances.

Australia has a strong track record on climate change. We exceeded our first Kyoto Protocol target and are on track to meet our 2020 commitment. Our 2030 target builds on our strong performance.

Australia is on track to meet its 2020 target

Australia has committed to reduce our emissions to 13 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020, which is equivalent to 5 per cent below 2000 levels. Meeting this target will require Australia to reduce emissions to no more than 533 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO₂-e) in 2020, which is 126 Mt CO₂-e lower than our current projections.

Australia is on track to meet this target. Our Direct Action plan, including the Emissions Reduction Fund, is achieving results. The first Emissions Reduction Fund auction in April 2015 contracted 144 projects to deliver emissions reductions totalling 47 Mt CO₂-e. Around 2.3 million household solar systems have been supported by the Renewable Energy Target, which will achieve more than 23 per cent of Australia’s electricity generation from renewables by 2020. Energy efficiency standards on appliances, equipment and buildings are contributing by reducing emissions from Australia’s electricity system.

We are meeting our targets while continuing to grow our economy. Our economy has grown by 50 per cent since 2000 while our emissions have reduced by 2 per cent.

Australia’s emissions trends

In 2012–13, Australia’s emissions were estimated to have been 549 Mt CO₂-e. Without taking the Emissions Reduction Fund into account, Australia’s emissions are forecast to grow by 108 Mt CO₂-e between now and 2020, and by 69 Mt CO₂-e between 2020 and 2030.

This growth to 2030 represents a 18 per cent increase on 2005 levels, and is driven by high population growth, an emissions intensive export base, and a reliance in our electricity networks on coal-fired generation.

Australia’s domestic emissions in 2012–13

Figure 1. Australia’s domestic emissions in 2012–13 were mainly due to electricity generation, direct combustion of gas (e.g. for heating) and transport. LULUCF stands for Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry.

Source: Department of the Environment, National Inventory Report 2013

Australia’s emissions reduction task is falling—The task of meeting Australia’s 2020 target has been revised downwards over time. These revisions have reflected a range of factors, including reduced energy demand due to greater energy efficiency by households and businesses.

Australia performed well in its efforts to constrain growth in emissions. Our 2030 target will mean Australia’s emissions per person and emissions intensity will continue to fall significantly.

(Mt CO₂-e)
Emissions per person
(t CO₂-e/person)
Emissions intensity
(t CO₂-e/$ ’000 GDP PPP)
1990 564 33.1 1.34
2000 561 29.5 1.00
2005 612 30.3 0.9
2020 533 20.5 0.5
2030 441–453 . 14.7–15.1 0.3

Emissions between 1990 - 2030

Figure 2. Australia has reduced its emissions while growing the economy


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