Australia’s carbon emissions reached record levels this year, according to new figures from emissions consultants NDEVR Environmental. Emissions of greenhouse gases have continued to rise, in spite of the increased use of wind power cutting emissions from electricity production, according to a report from the Guardian.
The increases suggest that Australia will face difficulties meeting its Paris target commitments, as well as the even tougher cuts called for by the science-based targets recommended by the nation’s own Climate Change Authority.
Emissions in the last quarter measured hit levels only reached once before in the prior six years. Wind power in Victoria and New South Wales more than doubled, but the emissions reductions from the National Electricity Market were offset by rising transport emissions, especially increases in the use of diesel and aviation fuel. Other sources of carbon emissions were stable, or in some cases increased slightly.
NDEVR founder Matt Drum emphasizes that these results demonstrate that carbon emissions are unlikely to see significant reductions until a sufficient climate policy is put into action. According to Drum, the cuts in electricity emissions were a result of market imperatives, rather than policy.
“If you don’t foster renewable energy, it’s only going to get worse,” he said.
In the last two years, the Australian government released data that revealed rising missions, in the days leading up to Christmas both years. The timing has led to speculation that the government is trying to downplay the release of the data. Documents released thanks to freedom of information laws have shown that the government has acquired the data months before choosing to release it. Now, this year’s emissions data has yet to be released, two weeks ahead of Christmas.
“They might drop it just before Christmas again but it’s not much of a Christmas present for Australia’s emission profile and it goes to show that Australia’s climate policy needs a lot of work,” according to Drum.
The Climate Council has asked the government to end what it referred to as ‘climate censorship.”
According to the organization’s chief executive, Amanda McKenzie:
“At a time when Australia’s federal climate and energy policy remains in limbo, it has never been more important for transparent pollution information. Continuing to keep the information hidden just raises questions about what there is to hide.”