Australia: Greenhouse Indicator shows rising emissions across eastern states

11 January 2009

Greenhouse emissions from energy-use in Australia's eastern states rose in 2008, according to a Greenhouse Indicator Report released by The Climate Group today. Across Victoria, NSW and Queensland annual emissions were 3.6 million tonnes higher in 2008 than in 2007. This is a rise of 1.3 per cent for the year.

The increase was not uniform across all states. Emissions in Victoria and Queensland rose in 2008, up 2.2 and 2.0 million tonnes respectively, while in NSW emissions fell by 0.5 million tonnes.

The Climate Group's Greenhouse Indicator tracks the main sources of greenhouse emissions (those produced by coal, natural gas and petroleum) in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland on a weekly basis.

Compared with 2000 levels, emissions from energy-use were significantly higher across all states, collectively up 19 per cent. In 2008 the NSW Indicator was 25 per cent higher than equivalent 2000 emission, the Victorian Indicator was 6 per cent higher and the Queensland Indicator was 34 per cent higher.

The increase above equivalent 1990 levels is even more substantial. In Queensland it has risen 116 per cent, NSW it is up 30 per cent and in Victoria the rise has been 32 per cent.

Rupert Posner, Australia Director of The Climate Group said: "Most of the increase in emissions in 2008 was from coal-fired generators in Queensland and Victoria, which both produced an extra 1.5 million tonnes each. This was 3.6 per cent more emissions from coal than in 2007 in Queensland and a 2.4 per cent increase in Victoria. In NSW, emissions from coal-fired electricity rose by 0.7 per cent or nearly half a million tonnes."

Across the three states the total electricity generated in 2008 was 1.3 per cent higher than 2007. However, the resulting emissions from electricity increased more substantially, (up 2 per cent) as more electricity was produced from coal-fired generators and less from gas and renewable sources than in 2007.

"The Indicator clearly demonstrates that our reliance on coal for electricity is our biggest problem when it comes to cutting our greenhouse gas emissions. We need to change this pretty quickly if we want to cut greenhouse emissions," said Posner.

Posner said the results should be a call to action for everyone: "The Greenhouse Indicator's 2008 results clearly show we all need to start taking action now if we want to reduce our greenhouse pollution. The window of opportunity open to us to prevent dangerous climate change is becoming smaller but there are lots of things that people can do immediately to start making a difference. Those who want to do something can visit and find out easy ways they can help fight climate change."

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