Australian emissions have fallen to record lows amid COVID-19 pandemic restrictions impacting the ability for many businesses to operate as usual.
According to data from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, Australian emissions are at their lowest levels since 1998, with a 16.7% drop when compared to emissions data from 2007.
Estimates nation-wide for the June quarter of 2020 say that emissions have dropped by 8%, or around 7.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, when compared to data from the 2019 June quarter.
“Agricultural emissions were down by 5.8% in part due to the ongoing impact of the drought,” according to the Department, and “emissions from electricity continued to decline, down 4.2% in the year to March 2020.”
“In the year to March 2020,” the authors write, “emissions per capita and the emissions intensity of the economy were at their lowest levels in 30 years. Emissions per capita were lower than 1990 by 42.9%, while the emissions intensity of the economy was 64.2% lower than in 1990.”
According to a release from the Department, “the industrial and electricity sectors have been more resilient,” with a drop in metered use just 1.4% lower than June 2019.
Federal Energy and Emissions Reduction minister, Angus Taylor has said that “with the impacts of the COVID-19 restrictions being felt across the economy, emissions have reduced as expected.”
However, Taylor added that the drop in emissions was the result of “unsustainable restrictions on Austarlians’ livelihoods and freedom to travel.”
Since the pandemic began, there has been a 79% drop in the use of, and subsequent emissions of aviation fuel. In terms of normal fuel consumption for passenger cars, emissions have dropped 26% in the June 2020 quarter over 2019 figures.
This drop was the result of a 17.9% reduction in the consumption of liquid fuels – petroleum and diesel – for passenger, commercial and freight vehicles.
When compared to 2005 figures, which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change uses as a baseline for its emission reduction targets, Australia’s June quarter of 2020 represents a 14.3% drop in emissions.