Greenhouse Indicator

Our weekly Greenhouse Indicator for Australian States gave real-time information on the greenhouse gases produced from energy use. We tracked emissions from New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

Each and every week we release greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Because they can't be seen, it is difficult to understand how much is being produced.

All countries provided a detailed annual report of their greenhouse gas emissions. But such reports are normally released long after the emissions have occurred. Thus this information, while comprehensive and critical for policy planning and scientific assessment, arrives too late for us to respond to it in the manner necessary to tackling this problem.

The Greenhouse Indicator put a figure on what is happening and enables everyone to follow how much we are emitting each and every week.

  • Advisory Board

    To ensure the accuracy of the Greenhouse Indicator, The Climate Group engaged the following advisory group to assist with its development.

    Chris Mitchell, Leader Climate, Weather and Ocean Prediction Theme at the CSIRO

    Chris Mitchell has a 20-year management and advocacy involvement in Australian and international climate research. He returned to CSIRO in February 2006 as Business Development Manager for CSIRO Atmospheric Research after roles since 1991 as Coordinator of the CSIRO Climate Change Research Program and CSIROs Climate Variability and Impacts Program. These programs are the two largest and most complex multi-divisional programs within CSIRO. He was Chief Executive Officer at the CRC for Greenhouse Accounting between 2002 and 2004. He has advised government and business leaders of new developments in the science of climate change, been a member of an international consultative group of experts established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and more recently provided expertise on carbon accounting to Standards Australia. Chris has extensive experience in issues management, with more than ten years of explaining climate change in mass media. He wrote the Federal Governments key greenhouse science information booklet and edited major consultancy reports for State Governments.

    Alan Pears, Adjunct Professor RMIT University and Director, Sustainable Solutions

    Alan Pears is an engineer and educator who has worked on energy and environmental issues for more than 25 years. He is a Director of the environmental consultancy Sustainable Solutions and an Adjunct Professor at RMIT University. In 2003 he was awarded a Centenary Medal for his contribution to climate change policy, and in 2000 a Sustainable Energy Industry Association award for his lifetime contribution to the sustainable energy industry. Alan has helped develop energy and environmental policies and programs with governments, including the Australian Building Greenhouse Rating Scheme and appliance energy labeling. He has helped to design green appliances with RMIT University's Centre for Design and has been involved in a number of green building projects including the RAPI award winning Moreland Civic Centre and the CityWest Water Sustainability Award-winning George Street Apartments. Alan worked with his business partner Bro Sheffield-Brotherton as environmental consultants on the 60L Green Building project.

    Rob Gell, Weather presenter for 25 years and environmental consultant

    Rob Gell is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and an Inaugural Fellow of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand. He is a coastal geomorphologist by training; he taught Environmental Science and Physical Geography at tertiary level, then for twenty-five years he presented television weather. In his professional life he works as an environmental and communications consultant and is Chairman of Access Environmental Pty Ltd. He is a published author and a photographer. Locally he is the President of Greening Australia Victoria, Chairman of the Mornington Peninsula and Westernport Biosphere Reserve Foundation Ltd. and a member of the Victorian Coastal Council. Rob Gell is an outstanding communicator who has earned the respect of government, business, environmental groups for his approach to sustainable development.

    Ian Porter, Executive Director Sustainability Strategies DSE

    Ian Porter is Executive Director, Sustainability Policy, in the Department of Sustainability and Environment in Victoria a state which has significantly strengthened its sustainability agenda in recent years. Ian is responsible for the development and co-ordination of the Government's strategies in three weighty areas: sustainability, waste and greenhouse. With climate change increasingly under the spotlight, an important focus of his role has been the further development of the Victorian Greenhouse Strategy and promoting the State Government's position on emissions trading. Ian has a chemistry background and has been involved in energy and natural resources policy since the late 1980s, specialising in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

    Julia Birch

    Julia Birch developed the methodology for The The °Climate Group's Greenhouse Indicator. Julia's experience includes: analysis and development of sustainable energy government policy; sustainable energy project management; proposal development for government funding programs; sustainable energy industry analysis; and corporate sustainability, including community involvement. Julia has a Graduate Diploma in Arts (Sustainable Development Studies) and a Bachelor of Engineering (Aerospace) with honours.

  • Methodology

    The weekly greenhouse gas indicator is believed to be the first of its kind in the world. It uses actual data to determine an accurate figure for the greenhouse gas emissions produced from the three main sources of emissions from energy: coal, natural gas and petroleum. The methodology for calculating weekly emissions from these fuels in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia is detailed below.

    A review of both the Indicator’s methodology and the data released by the Gas Bulletin Board means that the 2010 gas emissions figures have been revised. This increase in coverage has led to an increase in emissions recorded from gas to date this year in Queensland (48.7%), New South Wales (18.5%) and South Australia (18.9%). 2009 gas emissions figures for Queensland have also risen (7.8 percent). Other states remain unaffected for 2009.

    Coal

    • Used for electricity generation

    Emissions are calculated from the electricity generated by each coal-fired power station in the State using detailed market data from the National Electricity Market Management Company (NEMMCO). Emissions factors are based on the ACIL Tasman Report on NEM Generator Costs, prepared for Inter Regional Planning Committee (IRPC) and NEMMCO, 2009.

    Natural Gas

    Victoria

    • Used for heating (domestic, commercial and industrial), electricity generation and cooking

    Emissions are calculated from the natural gas consumed in the State using detailed gas market data from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). AEMO data covers some 99% of the natural gas used in Victoria. A small amount (<5%) of the natural gas measured each week is used in non-thermal applications, such as the production of methanol and plastic bags. Emissions factors are based on the Department of Climate Change June 2009 National Greenhouse Accounts (NGA) Factors.

    New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia

    • Used for heating (domestic, commercial and industrial), electricity generation and cooking

    Emissions are calculated from the natural gas consumed in each State using detailed gas market data from the National Gas Market Bulletin Board. The data on the gas bulletin board represents scheduled injections. This is different to the Daily Gas Consumption data for Victoria, which is withdrawal data (i.e. end-use). This data therefore also includes:

    • unaccounted for gas (gas which may be lost in transportation);
    • compressor gas (gas used to transport the gas through the pipeline); and
    • line-pack gas (gas used to maintain pressure in the pipeline) (gas that remains compressed in the pipeline and may not be used until the next day for instance).

    The inclusion of such data, however, only has a marginal impact on the end results.

    In addition to gas injections to major pipelines (as recorded by the bulletin board) is added gas consumption from power stations which take their gas directly from gas fields (not via a major pipeline). This includes Condamine Power Station (Qld), Darling Downs Power Station (Qld) and 70 per cent of the gas consumption of Braemar Power Station  (Qld)

    Emissions factors are based on the Department of Climate Change June 2009 National Greenhouse Accounts (NGA)

    Emissions are calculated from the natural gas consumed in the State using detailed gas market data from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). AEMO data covers some 99% of the natural gas used in Victoria. A small amount (<5%) of the natural gas measured each week is used in non-thermal applications, such as the production of methanol and plastic bags. Emissions factors are based on the Department of Climate Change June 2009 National Greenhouse Accounts (NGA) Factors.

    Petroleum

    • Used for automotive gasoline, diesel (automotive and industrial), LPG (transport and non-transport), aviation (gasoline and turbine) and fuel oil

    This is determined on detailed figures provided by the petroleum industry on monthly sales to the Australian Governments Department for Industry and Tourism. Rolling averages of each month's data are used to obtain weekly figures. The averaged monthly figures offer an excellent indication of weekly volumes of petroleum burnt since petroleum sales from week to week are relatively stable. Also, the exact time that emissions occur from the burning of petroleum is uncertain due to the environment's ability to store it. Emissions factors are based on the National Greenhouse Accounts (NGA) Factors, November 2009.

  • Final week's results (2013)

    The Greenhouse Indicator provided accurate and real time information on the amount of greenhouse gases produced each week in the following Australian states from energy use, from 2007-2013. Below is a snapshot of the final week's results.

    New South Wales

    The weekly Indicator accounts for around 90% of NSW's total energy emissions and 65% of the State's total greenhouse gas emissions. Remaining emissions come from agriculture, land use, waste, industrial processes and fugitive emissions from coal mining.

    Greenhouse gas emissions in NSW not included by the Indicator are estimated to be on average 1.1 million tonnes per week.

    Please note: A review of both the Indicator’s methodology and the data released by the Gas Bulletin Board means that the 2010 emissions figures from gas have been revised. This increase in coverage has led to a rise in emissions recorded from gas this year in New South Wales of 18.5%.

    Queensland

    The weekly Indicator accounts for about 80% of Queensland's total energy emissions and 45% of the State's total greenhouse gas emissions. Remaining emissions come from agriculture, land use, waste, industrial processes, electricity generated on-site by industry and fugitive emissions from coal mining.

     Greenhouse gas emissions in Queensland not included by the Indicator are estimated to be on average 1.9 million tonnes per week.

    Please note: A review of both the Indicator’s methodology and the data released by the Gas Bulletin Board means that the 2009 and 2010 emissions  figures from gas have been revised. This increase in coverage has led to a rise in emissions recorded from gas in Queensland of 7.8% for 2009, and 48.7% for 2010 to date.

    South Australia

    This accounts for around 90% of South Australia's emissions from energy and about 65% of the State's total greenhouse gas emissions. Remaining emissions come from agriculture, waste and industrial processes. 

    Greenhouse gas emissions in South Australia not included by the Indicator are estimated to be on average 195,000 tonnes per week. 

    Please note: A review of both the Indicator’s methodology and the data released by the Gas Bulletin Board means that the 2010 emissions  figures for gas have been revised. This increase in coverage has led to a rise in emissions recorded from gas this year in South Australia of 18.9%. 

    Tasmania

    The weekly Indicator accounts for around 64% of Tasmania's total energy emissions and 34% of the State's total greenhouse gas emissions. Remaining emissions come from agriculture, land use, waste, and industrial processes.

    Greenhouse gas emissions in Tasmania not included by the Indicator are estimated to be on average 107,000 tonnes per week.

    Average 1990 Tasmania weekly emissions 58,000 Mt CO2e

    Average 2000 Tasmania weekly emissions 47,000 Mt CO2e

    Victoria

    This accounts for just about all of Victoria's emissions from energy and about 80% of the States total greenhouse gas emissions. 

    Remaining emissions come from agriculture, waste and industrial processes. Forestry also acts as a sink for about 2% of the total emissions. 

    Greenhouse gas emissions in Victoria not included by the Indicator are estimated to be on average 380,000 tonnes per week.

     

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