The Australian Government has released the quarterly National Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the March quarter 2014. It shows that, in the year leading to March 2014, greenhouse gas pollution in Australia fell by 1.1%, largely driven by falls in electricity generation.
Importantly, the year leading to March 2014 was one in which Australia’s carbon price was still in operation.
In the three months to 31 March 2014, pollution levels in Australia remained unchanged, however the annual trend from March 2013 to March 2014 saw emissions fall by 1.1%.
The drop came primarily as a result of strong pollution cuts in industry sectors subject to carbon pricing – specifically in electricity generation, which saw pollution levels fall by 3.9% over the same 12 month period.
Accompanying this pollution cut was a 3% annual increase in ‘fugitive’ emissions – pollution created during the process of mining fuels like coal and gas.
The graph above shows the reduction in emissions since 2012, which accompanied the introduction of the now-abolished carbon price.
Industry performance was varied, and changes in pollution over the year to March 2014 was partly determined by exposure to the now abolished carbon price.
Thus the electricity generation sector saw the largest annual drop of 3.7%.
Electricity generation is by far the single greatest source of Australia’s pollution – accounting for nearly a third of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The most significant increase in pollution came from fugitive emissions associated with coal mining, which jumped 3%.