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Australia’s Recovery from COVID-19 Leads to Higher Emissions

An analysis has just been released that shows the drop in Australia’s emissions due to COVID-19. This is only going to be short lived with economy returning to pre COVID-19 levels in 2021.

Although the official government emission data has not been released that cover July to September 2020, an independent report has modelled the most likely outcomes.

The report shows emissions for the first quarter of the financial year are likely to be 124.2 Mt CO2-e. It is an increase of 1.5 Mt CO2-e compared to the previous quarter, however this would still result in a reduction of 9.1 Mt CO2-e compared to the previous year.

Previously the government have indicated the current reduction in emissions will keep Australia on track to meet its Paris target, but this latest data shows the Paris target will be missed.

Emission projections for Quarter 1 of FY21 for the electricity sector were the lowest on record as far back as 2001. Demand was impacted slightly by COVID-19 but the drop in emission is linked to the growth of renewable energy and the decline of coal fired generation.

As a result of COVID-19, domestic gas prices have dropped resulting in an increase in Gas powered generation, this has resulted in more emissions from this sector.

Interestingly the reduction in emissions of around 6.8 Mt CO2-e from the electricity and agriculture sectors has been offset from emissions from stationary energy, transport, fugitive, industrial and waste sources.

The electricity sector is doing its bit to help reduce climate change, now it is up to the other CO2 producing sectors to do their bit.