Greenhouse Gas Emissions Fall In 2010 Across Australia's Four Eastern States

8 February 2011
  • Emissions down for second year running
  • Coal emissions down in all states
  • State by state breakdown available

Greenhouse gas emissions from energy-use in Australia’s eastern states fell by 2.17 per cent in 2010 according to a new report released today. The Climate Group’s Greenhouse Indicator Annual Report shows that across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, annual emissions were 6.6 million tonnes lower in 2010 than 2009. The decrease comes on top of a 1.8 per cent fall in emissions the previous year.   

Emissions fell in all four eastern states. New South Wales recorded the largest decrease of 5.3 million tonnes or just under five per cent on 2009 emissions levels. Emissions in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia all fell by around 0.7 per cent. This amounted to 671,000 tonnes less in Victoria, 566,000 tonnes less in Queensland and 129,000 tonnes less in South Australia.

The main reason for the decrease was a drop in electricity generation from coal . Coal-fired generation fell by five per cent across the four states, producing 8.7 million MWh less electricity and 8.7 million tonnes less emissions overall. The fall continued the trend from 2009 when coal-fired generation fell by 3.1 per cent. Coal’s share of total scheduled electricity generation was 84.3 per cent, down from 87.8 per cent in 2009.

In contrast, there was an increase in emissions from gas of 3.8 per cent, or 1.4 million tonnes. This increase was because of a 21 per cent rise in gas-fired electricity production, much of which occurred in Queensland with the commissioning of two new power stations at Condamine and Yarwun. Gas now makes up 11.4 per cent of the scheduled electricity generation mix, up from 9.3 per cent in 2009. Emissions from gas used for domestic and industrial purposes fell by 1 per cent or 269,000 tonnes of emissions in 2010.

The share of scheduled electricity generation from renewables also rose by 50 per cent in 2010.   

Rupert Posner, The Climate Group’s Global Director of Energy, said:

“A 2.17 per cent fall in emissions is a significant annual decrease and the fact that this is the second fall in as many years is good news.”

“It is encouraging to note that this year’s fall in emissions has occurred at the same time as a return to stronger economic growth rates compared with 2009. This is a clear demonstration that we can cut emissions while maintaining growth and jobs.”

“This is also the second year in a row that we have seen a drop in emissions from coal, as well as growing scheduled generation from gas and renewables. Hopefully this is evidence that we are finally starting to turn the corner towards cleaner forms of energy generation that can underpin a prosperous and sustainable Australian economy.”

Electricity demand fell by an average of 0.5 per cent across the states as a whole while the total amount of electricity generated fell by 1.1 per cent. The larger fall in generation was because less electricity was exported from the grid to Tasmania than the previous year.

The fall in electricity demand and emissions occurred despite growth in both population and Gross State Product across all states during 2010. Each state recorded overall growth in Gross State Product of between 1.5 and 2.0 per cent. Population also grew by between 1.2 and 2.0 per cent.
Compared with 2000 levels, emissions from energy-use were higher across all states by 12.7 per cent overall. The gap in emissions above equivalent 1990 levels was more substantial with the states up by an average of 42.3 per cent overall.

Download a copy of the full report.

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