The research by Ndevr Environmental, an emissions-tracking organisation that publishes quarterly greenhouse gas emissions data months ahead of Australia’s federal government, also shows fugitive emissions from Australia’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry also continue to fuel rising national emissions.
The Guardian Online reports Ndevr Environmental’s latest research shows emissions for the year to March 2019 increased to 561 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
That was up from 554.5 million tonnes the previous year and 551.2 million tonnes in 2017.
These figures exclude unreliable data from the land-use sector, but Ndevr said that even when land-use was included emissions had still increased for four consecutive years over the same period.
The Guardian reports according to Ndevr’s research, there was an 8.2 per cent increase in emissions from the electricity sector between the December and March quarters.
It follows three consecutive quarters of declines in electricity emissions and is the highest increase in emissions from that sector since March 2017.
However, rising emissions from electricity generation between the December and March quarters is not unusual due to higher energy use in the warmer months.
The Guardian reports Ndevr’s managing director, Matt Drum, said there was less renewable generation in March 2019 than there was in the March quarter the previous year, with Ndevr’s data showing falls in both wind and hydro power.
Mr Drum said the continued rise in fugitive emissions as a result of Australia’s LNG industry showed there was “a lot of work to be done around offsetting and reducing emissions from the LNG sector”.
“That’s offsetting particularly through land-use projects, but also energy efficiency,” he said.
“And whether the carbon capture and storage (CCS) nut can be cracked for that sector is going to be really important.”
The Guardian reports Mr Drum dismissed recent comments by the Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister in Australia’s conservative Liberal-National government, Angus Taylor, that LNG exports were contributing to emissions reductions overseas.
“I don’t think you can prosecute that argument unless you also take into account our coal exports, which have a counter effect,” Mr Drum said.
There is no evidence to support Mr Taylor’s claim and the biggest consumer of Australia’s LNG, Japan, is using it in place of emissions-free nuclear power.
“There’s still work to be done on policy. I sound like a broken record,” Mr Drum said.
He told The Guardian: “At the end of the day, participation in the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) is decreasing.
“Fewer projects, fewer contracts, less abatement,” Mr Drum added.
“Unless something happens, something significant, this government will just be presiding over quarter after quarter, year after year, of increasing emissions. It’s as simple as that.”