Australian greenhouse gas emissions shoot above 2010 target

According to Australian government figures released on 13 July there was a 16.9 % increase in greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 1998, already far surpassing the Kyoto Protocol target of an eight percent increase by 2010.

The National Greenhouse Gas Inventory showed net emissions for 1998, the most recent year for which figures are available, were 455.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents, up 5.2 percent from 1997. The figures did not include emissions from land clearance.

Australian Greenhouse Office Chief Executive, Gwen Andrews, cited economic growth as the reason for the increase, and said that the country faced, “a significant challenge in meeting its Kyoto commitments.”

Andrews stressed that since 1998 significant steps had been taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including almost £400 million of Commonwealth funding for new initiatives since 1997. She said that over one-third of this money is being used for renewable energy sources, and the same amount to support to the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program .

“Legislation currently before the Federal Parliament will also help reduce emissions from the important electricity sector by requiring an additional renewable energy component in our electricity mix. This will help produce enough additional electricity from renewable sources to provide the residential needs of a city of 4 million people,” Andrews said, adding that the impact of these measures would take “some time to feed in to Australia’s national inventory.” The 13 July figures showed that electricity generation accounted for some 37% of all net greenhouse emissions.

Andrews also stated that 1998’s rise was not directly comparable with Australia’s Kyoto target because of the use of ‘different accounting.’


As an encouraging accompaniment to Andrews’ words, Australian renewable energy company, Pacific Hydro Ltd, also announced on 13 July that it would soon begin work on the country’s largest wind farm in Victoria State.

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