Graph of the Day: Australia's surging fossil fuel emissions | RenewEconomy

Graph of the Day: Australia’s surging fossil fuel emissions

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Australia’s fossil fuel emissions have hit record levels, and there is no federal policy in place to address them.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Australia can claim a new title: In the same way that the US and Syria are the only two countries to have either not signed or vowed to quit the Paris climate agreement, Australia can now lay claim with Turkey to be the only developed countries to break fossil fuel emissions records.

According to The Australia Institute’s newly released National Energy Emissions Audit, compiled by Dr Hugh Saddler, Australia’s annual emissions from energy use have increased to their highest ever level, higher than the previous peak seen eight years ago, in 2009.

Audit Sept Graph


“Australia’s failure to invest in efficient transport infrastructure, such as rail, has led to emissions from transport fuels continuing to grow, again, unlike the rest of the developed world,” Saddler says in the report.

“The continued rise in fuel emissions demonstrates why requiring a reduction for the electricity sector that is only equal to the Paris target would likely see Australia fail to meet its international commitment,” Dr Saddler said.

The main contributions to this disturbing record are an increase in petroleum and particularly diesel consumption, and there is no indication of when or if this growth will stop. It is more than offsetting a fall in electricity emissions.

That’s because Australia has no policies to address this. It doesn’t even have emissions standards for vehicles (or much else for that matter).


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

  1. trackdaze 3 years ago

    Aside from the Co2 issue, it makes absolutely no sense for a country that imports most of its fuel.

    • Brian Tehan 3 years ago

      …close to 100% and only has a couple of months supply. Imagine what would happen if sea trade were disrupted – there are a number of scenarios that could affect sea trade in the Pacific at this point in time.

      • david H 3 years ago

        Are you sure it is as much as a couple of months?
        My understanding is that most of the reserve is in tankers on their way to Aus with refined products, which makes the strategic situation even worse.

        • Brian Tehan 3 years ago

          Yes, You’re right – it’s only about 10 days. I should have known that. We’re supposed to keep 3 months reserves.

          • david H 3 years ago

            Thanks for the ABC News link. I have to say I am astounded at the nativity/stupidity of our politicians. In fact it would seem that if we want common sense in politicians we would need to recruit senior ex-defense force personnel. But I suppose their common sense would prevent them from getting into politics.

  2. Cooma Doug 3 years ago

    I drove on the M1 a few days back at 830 am on a working day. I counted 100 vehicles going past. Of the 100, there were 6 that had more than one passenger.
    Lets have a toll on each road. Zero for three passengers maximum for 1. Lests have a credit for 4+. Also zero for electric vehicle.

    With the technology of today the roads could be managed as the electricity grid is load managed. There could be price nodes that vary in key locations and drivers enticed to take routes that reduce and avoid conjestion. Just like interconnector constraint management.
    So you get in your car and tell it where you are going. It may ask you if you mind a slight delay and get a credit or zero toll by following the conjestion manager. In emergency situations the manager would instruct.

    • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

      I’ll start buying second-hand crash test dummies to sell on e-bay. Every car will have 4+ …and I’ll be in Tahiti if anybody needs to reach me.

      • Cooma Doug 3 years ago

        Technology available to beat you and loss of rego for 12 months plus 3000 dolkar fine

        • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

          But Your Honour, I wasn’t trying to game the system, I was merely helping to trouble-shoot it.

        • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

          But Your Honour, I was merely driving four friends to a costume party.

  3. Joe 3 years ago

    And in NSW it is full steam ahead for Big New Roads which sucks in more cars onto the roads. It is just crazy dumb stuff. But Australia as a whole is addicted to cars with over 1 million new cars sold each year. Time to mandate EV’s and bring in RE charging stations.

    • Chris Schneider 3 years ago

      i hope you only ride a bike! geez!

      • Joe 3 years ago

        Hello Chris, thank you for the encouragement and YES I do ride a bicycle which does me wonderfully well. I have never owned a car or had a drivers licence…never intend to either.

  4. D. John Hunwick 3 years ago

    Car ownership is not necessarily the problem, but the type of car chosen is! I am waiting for a full electric vehicle that I can afford with a range of 400km – then I will buy it.

    • technerdx6000 3 years ago

      Second hand Tesla Model 3 should go close!!

      • D. John Hunwick 3 years ago

        Thanks for the suggestion – I’ll keep a look out!!

        • technerdx6000 3 years ago

          Yeah! It’s what I’ll be looking at. I don’t expect those to come on the market until ~2020 at the earliest though, and who knows what Nissan, Holden or BMW might have then.

    • russelld 3 years ago

      Nice thought!! if you have a solar panels and storage, great, however while Talcum Fuffball and the LNP Coal-ition non-energy policy is to have us get electricity from Coal fired generators, then getting an electric car is only going to shift the CO2 emissions from the tail pipe to the smoke stack.

      • Mike Shackleton 3 years ago

        If I remember correctly, an electric car still generates less emissions running on black coal (not brown) than a conventional ICE car. There are a lot of emissions embedded in extraction, refining and transportation of petrol/diesel that nobody really talks about. Plus electric cars don’t require regular oil changes. Even brake replacement is on a longer interval as most of the braking effort is regenerative braking designed to recover energy into the battery.

  5. Rod 3 years ago

    Just shows Australia is still 20 years behind the rest of the World when we think building more freeways is the answer to road congestion.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      Yeah, that’s the inane logic…continually ‘building your way out of congestion’.

  6. John Saint-Smith 3 years ago

    This couldn’t be right. Minister Frydenberg has confirmed today that Australia is still on track to beat it’s 2020 5% emissions reduction target by 244 million tonnes. Are you suggesting that he isn’t telling the truth?

  7. nakedChimp 3 years ago

    Yay, we’re the best!


  8. onesecond 3 years ago

    Come on Australians, you are better than this!

    • George Darroch 3 years ago

      No, we’re not. But we should be.

  9. Goldie444 3 years ago

    There was an argument that we (Australia) were protecting our local car making industry by having poor (nor nil) car fuel standards. Now that industry has gone the way of the DoDo birds, why would we not have good fuel standard now. We are going to end up with the worst of the worst of cars and trucks that can’t be sold anywhere else.

  10. Chris Schneider 3 years ago

    progress… both sides need to make it sound shit for some reason. it’s getting better stuff is on it’s way the market is now able to force the change. it’s on it’s way but then you can always find a stat that makes it look bad

  11. Ben Davies 3 years ago

    Is this increase on a per capita basis or for the whole country?

    I think Australia’s population in increasing due to immigration inflows and natural increase. Turkey I think also has a high population growth. it is therefore possible that these increases are due to that reason. After all, nearly the first thing every highly educated immigrant does when they get to Australia is to buy a car and start consuming electricity.

    It would be a great thing that even with a positive population growth, the country could still cut emissions. Perhaps a second go at the home insulation program. One for Malcolm to ponder – along with Liddell 2.0?

    • Mike Shackleton 3 years ago

      Electricity emissions are dropping despite our population growth- we would be a lot further along if the carbon pricing scheme hadn’t been binned. As it stands, we are only just getting back to where we were before it was rolled back.

      Emissions in transportation is disturbing. If we are buying a million new cars every year, and those cars should on balance, be a lot more fuel efficient than the ones being scrapped, even with a larger overall fleet, we should still be seeing a drop there.

  12. Farmer Dave 3 years ago

    This is a totally unacceptable situation and is a gross policy failure of both major political parties. No Australian government – Federal, State or local has to my knowledge a credible policy to even slow down the rate of growth in transport emissions, let alone to reduce them. We need to demand more from our elected representatives at all levels.

Comments are closed.

Get up to 3 quotes from pre-vetted solar (and battery) installers.