A 31.1 per cent jump last year in renewable energy within the National Electricity Market serving eastern Australia also helped drive emissions from electricity to its lowest level since 2008.
Brown coal consumption dropped by 6 per cent and gas-fired generation dived 26.6 per cent, the report said.
A separate report out today, however, showed emissions from NSW’s black coal-fired plants topped 50 million tonnes for the first time since 2012-13.
«The report shows national emissions were 15.1 per cent below the peak recorded in 2007,» Ms Price said. «Emissions per capita and the emissions intensity of the economy were at their lowest levels in 29 years.»
The Abbott government pledged Australia’s 2005-level emissions would be cut 26-28 per cent by 2030 as part of the Paris climate accord. This week, the Morrison government confirmed it would count any surplus credits during the Kyoto Protocol climate agreement against Australia’s Paris goal, effectively slicing the 2021-30 abatement task in half to about 12 per cent.
Federal Labor is yet to rule out using the credits to achieve its pledged Paris goal of a 45 per cent emissions reduction by 2030.
In annual terms, most sectors of the economy aside from the electricity sector — which accounts for about a third of total emissions — reported increases in pollution.
Emissions from stationary energy, such as in the LNG and steel industries, rose 5.8 per cent in the 12 months to September. So-called fugitive emissions, such as from gas escaping from LNG facilities and coal mines, rose 7.3 per cent.
Transport emissions — the third largest source — rose 2 per cent, while those from drought-hit agriculture fell 3 per cent. Land use changes, such as from land clearing, eased 0.3 per cent, the government said.
Brad Smith, a campaigner at the NSW Nature Conservation Council, said it was notable that the state’s black coal-fired increased their emissions by 550,000 tonnes to 50.3 million tonnes of CO2-e in the year to last June.
“This increase in climate pollution is equivalent to putting 180,000 more cars on NSW’s roads,» Dr Smith said.
Peter Hannam writes on environment issues for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.