Australia’s primary database for tracking greenhouse gas emissions is the Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GGI), managed by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy, and Resources (now renamed as Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW)). The data is released on a quarterly basis and provides the most up-to-date information on Australia’s emissions.
The GGI is of considerable value, given that they have been presented by the federal government since 2009. The data presented in the GGI aligns with reporting commitments to the UNFCCC, although the methodologies used to compile the reports are unique to Australia and have changed over time. Each quarterly update includes a detailed report which itemizes data sources and methodologies. Furthermore, controversy around delays in the release of data, and excluded emissions has persisted. For example, Australia generates emissions via fossil fuel exports that are equivalent to more than double direct domestic emissions, yet these scope 3 emissions are not included in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions reporting. Aside from these issues, the longevity of data and its granular level of detail makes the GGI quarterly data a valuable measure to reflect trends in emissions.
The data is prepared by DCCEEW and presents quarterly emissions up to March 2022. Emissions are broken down into categories:
- Energy (electricity)
- Energy (direct combustion)
- Fugitive emissions
- Industrial processes
- Land use, land use change, and forestry
Figure 1: Overall emissions trend from 2019-2022 according to National Greenhouse Gas Inventory
While it is difficult to find comparative data from other sites for the years 2020 and 2021, Climate Watch finds different results for 2019. Their data indicates that Australia produced 608.49MtCO2e of emissions in 2019, whereas GGI calculates 516.4MtCO2e. The International Energy Assessment recorded 380.74Mt of total CO2 emissions in 2019 (note this does not include CO2 equivalent emissions). Climate Action Tracker rates Australia’s emissions progress as ‘insufficient’. Their data, also taken from GGI, does not include the carbon sink estimated from ‘land use, land use change, and forestry data, which have fluctuated substantially in the past, and have been used by the government to revise emissions projections downwards.
This post was submitted by Australia Country Manager Robyn Gulliver