Green energy surge sparks emission reductions in Australia, says analysis

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Australia’s efforts to transition to renewable energy sources have yielded significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, with the latest analysis revealing a decline in emissions for the September 2023 quarter compared to the same period in 2022.

The Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory indicated that Australia’s emissions are now 25.4 per cent below June 2005 levels, the baseline year for the nation’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Total emissions across all sectors amounted to 459.7 million tonnes, showing a decrease of about 2.2 million tonnes compared to the previous September quarter, representing a 0.5 per cent reduction.

Notably, the increasing share of renewables played a crucial role in slashing electricity sector emissions by 4.9 per cent, equivalent to 7.7 million tonnes over the year leading up to September 2023.

This rise in renewables has not only contributed to emission reductions but has also led to a significant drop in wholesale electricity prices.

In the third quarter of 2023, wholesale prices plummeted by 71 per cent compared to the previous year, indicating the tangible economic benefits of renewable energy adoption.

Furthermore, improvements in industrial processes resulted in a 0.5 per cent reduction in emissions, while fugitive emissions decreased by 2.3 per cent, equivalent to over 1 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

The Albanese Government’s reforms to the Safeguard Mechanism are anticipated to further drive down emissions, with projections suggesting over 200 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions will be avoided by 2030.

However, challenges remain in sectors such as transport and agriculture, where emissions increased by 4.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent, respectively, in the year leading up to September 2023.

Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen emphasised the pivotal role of renewable energy in emission reduction efforts, highlighting its simultaneous impact on lowering emissions and wholesale prices.

He stated, “Australia’s renewable surge helped to deliver a 71% decrease in wholesale electricity prices over this period – while also driving down emissions.”

He also criticised the lack of commitment from the LNP regarding emission reduction targets, contrasting it with the Albanese Government’s investments in cleaner and more affordable energy solutions.

The Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory for September 2023 and Australia’s emissions projections for 2023 can be accessed through the Department of Climate Change, Energy, and Environment’s website.