Greenhouse Indicator: Winter GHG emissions up in Victoria and Queensland, down in NSW

2 September 2008

Greenhouse gas emissions from energy on Australia's east coast were 0.9 million tonnes or 0.9% higher this winter than last. In Victoria and Queensland emissions were up 0.7 and 0.9 million tonnes respectfully while in NSW emissions fell by 0.6 million tonnes.

"The largest proportion of this increase was coal-fired generators in Queensland, which produced an extra 0.4 million tonnes or almost 4 per cent more emissions than last winter," said Rupert Posner, Australian Director of The °Climate Group. "In Victoria emissions from coal-fired generators were up almost 3 per cent and in NSW they fell by more than 1 per cent."

Total electricity generation was 1 per cent higher but emissions increased at a slightly higher rate as less electricity was produced from hydro generators and therefore coal generators had to produce more.

"The good news is that electricity demand did not increase substantially, up just 1 per cent overall - with Queensland increasing by more than 2 per cent and Victoria and NSW increasing by less than 1 per cent.

"Over last few years we have seen electricity demand increase on average by around 2 per cent pa so the results for this winter are a step in the right direction.

"However, as we know we need to do far better than this and start to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Total emissions from energy in NSW and Victoria are approximately 30 per cent above 1990 levels - the baseline used for the Kyoto targets (Australia has to meet 108 per cent of its 1990 levels by 2012) - and in Queensland they are a whopping 100 per cent higher, so we have a way to go.

"Cold weather generally does result in higher greenhouse gas emissions as we have our heaters running that bit harder and in the last few weeks of winter in particular, which have been much colder, demand and emissions were higher than the same time in 2007," said Posner.

Petrol prices seem to be having a mixed impact on use and therefore greenhouse gas emissions. This winter has seen emissions from petroleum products go down by around 4 per cent in NSW but they have gone up in Victoria and Queensland by 3.2 per cent and 2.3 per cent respectively.

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