Greenhouse Gas Accounts

Tasmanian Climate Change Office

National context

This section provides a summary of contemporary national and international policy development that may affect Tasmania’s greenhouse gas emissions over the coming years.

The Paris Agreement

The Australian Government, as a party to the UNFCCC, joined almost 200 other countries in reaching a global climate agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris in December 2015 (Paris Agreement). The Paris Agreement, which was ratified by Australia on 9 November 2016, builds on commitments made under the Kyoto Protocol and sets a goal to hold the average global temperature increase to well below two degrees Celsius.

The Paris Agreement has inbuilt and ongoing review and collaboration mechanisms designed to achieve its long-term goals. Under the Paris Agreement, Australia has committed to an emissions reduction target of between 26 and 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Australian national greenhouse accounts, National Inventory Report 2015, reports Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions were 525.6 Mt of CO2-e in 2015, or 12 per cent below 2005 levels. The reported preliminary estimate for Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2016, excluding the LULUCF sector, is 541.6 Mt CO2-e, which is an increase of 1.6 per cent on the corresponding 2015 levels.

In 2018, countries will meet for ‘facilitative dialogue’ discussions, designed to assess progress towards achieving the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. While some countries are required to set new nationally determined contributions (NDCs) by 2020, countries with 2030 targets, including Australia, are required to set a NDC in 2025; that is, the Australian Government will be required to raise its emissions reduction target.

National Electricity Market

Dr Alan Finkel AO, Chief Scientist, presented the Final Report of the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Leaders’ meeting on 9 June 2017.

Among the recommendations of the report, is that the Australian Government implement a Clean Energy Target (CET) to provide an orderly transition to a lower emissions electricity sector. The report does not stipulate a precise target, but suggests that it should be in line with what is required to meet the Australian Government’s Paris Agreement commitment, stating:

A CET would provide an incentive for all new generators that produce electricity below a specified emissions intensity threshold. All fuel types, including coal with CCS or gas, would be eligible for the scheme provided they meet or are below the emissions intensity threshold. Eligible generators would receive certificates for the electricity they produce in proportion to how far their emissions intensity is below the threshold. New eligible generators would receive certificates for all electricity generated, while existing eligible generators could receive certificates for any electricity that they produce above their historic output. Consideration would also need to be given to the treatment of extensions to long-lived renewable assets like hydro.

The Tasmanian Government is a strong supporter of further renewable energy development in the State. Tasmania’s historic investment in hydro electricity generation will play an increasingly important role in meeting the current energy challenges facing mainland Australia, as it transitions to low emissions generation.

Leveraging National Programs

Tasmanians benefit from the implementation of the COAG Energy Council’s energy efficiency and energy productivity programs, through better information for purchasing decisions, savings on power bills, improved thermal comfort of their homes and better health outcomes. Increased levels of energy efficiency can also lead to improved energy security.

On 4 December 2015, the COAG Energy Council released the National Energy Productivity Plan (NEPP), which sets out the framework and initial measures to deliver an economy-wide 40 per cent improvement in Australia’s energy productivity by 2030. NEPP is expected to contribute around a quarter of the additional savings required to meet Australia’s current commitment under the Paris Agreement.

The Energy Efficiency Advisory Team (EEAT) was established to deliver an integrated program on Minimum Energy Performance Standards and manage the energy (star) ratings labelling for equipment and appliances, as well as improve the energy performance of new residential housing. The work streams prioritised under EEAT are expected to deliver emissions reductions of approximately 93 Mt of CO2-e by 2030, which is around 10 per cent of Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction commitment.

These programs can be leveraged to maximise Tasmania’s renewable energy advantages. By reducing local electricity demand, Tasmanian renewable energy generators will be better prepared to contribute to improved energy security of the National Electricity Market and seize opportunities flowing from Australian Government clean energy incentives.

The Emissions Reduction Fund was established by the Australian Government with a budget of up to $2.55 billion to fund emissions reduction activities. Seven Tasmanian projects have been awarded carbon abatement contracts by the Clean Energy Regulator: five reducing landfill gas emissions, one protecting forests on private land, and one heat recovery project. In addition, several national and multi-state projects with activities in Tasmania have been awarded carbon abatement contracts over the five auctions.


[2] The UNFCCC defines an emission factor as the average emission rate of a given greenhouse gas for a given source, relative to units of activity.

[3] Global warming potentials are a relative measure of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere. They compare the amount of heat trapped by a certain mass of the gas in question to the amount of heat trapped by a similar mass of carbon dioxide.

[4] From 505,151 vehicles registered in 2008 to 571,550 in June 2015; Historical registration and licensing statistics, Tasmanian Department of State Growth, http://www.transport.tas.gov.au/registration/information/statistics/

[5] The emissions from the ‘other sectors’ and ‘fugitive emissions from fuels’ subsectors are not available for reporting by subsector. However, emissions from those subsectors are included in the totals set out in Table 3, which are accordingly different from the sum of the figures available for publication.

[6] Office of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator, Energy in Tasmania – Performance Report 2014-15 (January 2016), page v.

[10] Australian Forest and Wood Products Statistics, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, http://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/publications/display?url=http://143.188.17.20/anrdl/DAFFService/display.php?fid=pb_afwpsd9abfe20160526_11a.xml.

[11] Socio-economic impacts of forest industry change: Tasmanian forest industry employment and production, 2012-13 Phase  Report (2014) Schirmer, J., Dunn, C. and Loxton, E. University of Canberra http://www.stategrowth.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/98149/Socio-economic_impacts_of_forest_industry_change_-_November_2013.pdf.

[12] Australian Forest and Wood Products Statistics, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, http://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/publications/display?url=http://143.188.17.20/anrdl/DAFFService/display.php?fid=pb_afwpsd9abfe20160526_11a.xml.

[14] The data shown is from 2000-01 onwards.