CANBERRA, AAP – Australia’s emissions rose slightly last quarter, driven by a transport rebound as coronavirus restrictions eased across the country.
The government’s latest emissions data covering the September quarter reveal a 1.7 per cent increase compared to the previous period.
Emissions decreased by 4.4 per cent in the year to September, largely thanks to the electricity sector, transport, agriculture and industrial processes.
Australia is signed up to the Paris Agreement, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor calculates emissions are 19 per cent below 2005 levels.
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“Despite upward pressure from exports and industry, emissions per capita and the emissions intensity of the economy continue to fall and are at their lowest levels in three decades,” he said.
Unlike all states and territories the federal government has not committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
The Morrison government faces growing international pressure to do so but some coalition members stridently oppose it.
Mr Taylor has outlined a technology-based plan to reduce Australia’s emissions but there is no government projections for when net zero would be reached on current trends.
Labor MP Chris Bowen has recently taken on the climate portfolio for the federal opposition.
The party has also struggled to find a happy middle-ground on energy and climate policy.
Mr Bowen says he’s focused on putting together a road map for net zero by 2050.
“That road map will have job creation, investment in our regions and suburbs, ensuring the investment framework for cheaper electricity so we can see some reinvigoration of manufacturing,” he told the ABC.
“We need a plan to reduce emissions and create jobs and that is exactly what our plan will do.”
The data released on Friday showed transport emissions rose by more than 10 per cent and agriculture saw a 8.3 per cent increase as drought conditions eased.
The government is focusing on the data on trend terms, which show a one per cent decrease in the September quarter compared to the previous three months.
Another slew of climate data released this week shows energy company AGL is Australia’s biggest polluter by far, followed by Origin, Stanwell Corporation and Energy Australia.