Emissions rising, Government ‘censors’ the data

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie

The Climate Council of Australia has called on the Government to release Australia’s latest quarterly carbon emissions data, saying that its failure to do so amounts to ‘climate censorship’.

Meanwhile, independent modelling using the same methodology as that used by the Department of Environment and Energy shows that Australia’s emissions are rising.

“Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution data should be urgently released,” said Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie. “The Federal Government has failed to provide an update for almost six months.”

She said the Government has a record of delaying the release of the data. The most recent data, for the March quarter of 2017, shows a rise of 1.6 percent.

“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,” she said.

“For several years, there’s been a consistent delay from the Department of the Environment and Energy’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory on releasing vital emissions data. This raises serious concerns over the Federal Government’s transparency on Australia’s pollution levels.”

“The only way the public can keep the government accountable on climate progress is if they have transparent processes for releasing emissions data.”

Ms McKenzie said the clear solution to tackling Australia’s rising pollution levels was the “urgent rollout of strong climate and energy policy, supporting the transition to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and storage technology.

“In 2017 alone, we’ve already seen mass coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, along with extreme heatwave events and supercharged storms. Meanwhile national policy debate on climate and energy policy is happening in the absence of the latest pollution data.

“How can Australia implement new climate and energy policy, without our politicians taking our rising pollution levels into account? Any further delays on releasing this information can only amount to climate censorship.”

In the absence of Government data, consultancy Ndever Environmental has released a report that uses the same methodology as that used by the Government’s missing analysis. It has found that emissions for the September 2017 quarter were the second highest quarterly result in five years.

Emissions from the National Energy Market (NEM) – electricity generator emissions – fell to three-year lows, driven by a massive increase in wind generated electricity in Victoria and NSW. But despite this, total carbon emissions continue to rise.

The emissions for the September quarter are predicted to be 7.3 Mt CO2-e – higher than the required trajectory to meet the Paris Agreement and 17.2 Mt CO2-e higher than the required trajectory to meet Australia’s Science Based Targets (the level the Climate Council says Australia needs to help keep global warming to less than 2 degrees).

Much of the problem is emissions from transport, especially from growth in the usage of diesel and aviation fuel, which are projected to be the highest on record. Stationary energy emissions, fugitive emissions and emissions from industrial processes are also all projected to increase.

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