Department of the Environment

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Publications archive - Ecologically Sustainable Development


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Are We Sustaining Australia? Report Against Headline Sustainabilty Indicators

Environment Australia, 2002
ISBN 0 642 54771 8

Value 18: Climate change

Rationale for inclusion of issue

Atmosphere is an essential component of all ecological systems on Earth, and climate change is a potential threat to biodiversity and to all ecosystems, economies and societies. It is therefore a crucial element in safeguarding the welfare of future generations (Core Objective 1), providing for inter-generational equity (Core Objective 2) and protecting biological diversity, ecological processes and life support systems (Core objective 3).

Indicator 21

Total net greenhouse gas emissions at 1999

458.2 Mt

Source: National Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Rationale for selection of indicator

This indicator will provide an indication of trends in greenhouse pressure from Australian emissions. Net rather than gross emissions are used to take account of the effect of carbon sinks. While Australian emissions are only a small contributor to the global emissions which collectively threaten the Earth's life support systems, they are the only contribution over which Australians have any real control.

Explanatory and elaborative information

Australia's CO2-e (Carbon dioxide equivalent) emissions for 1999, not including emissions from land clearing, increased by 1.1% since 1998 and by 17.4% between 1990 and 1999. Incorporating the current best estimate of land clearing emissions would bring Australia's total emissions to 529.9 Mt CO2-e in 1999 and 493.8 Mt CO2-e in 1990. However the assessment of trends in land clearing since 1990 is highly uncertain and likely to change significantly in the future, and is therefore excluded from the figures given in this Report.

Net Carbon Dixoide equivalents emissions: Time series data

  1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Net emissions (Mt CO2-e ) 389.9 392.1 393.2 396.0 398.7 412.4 423.7 433.2 455.9 458.2

Source: National Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

Net Carbon Dioxide equivalents emissions (Mt CO2-e) by year

Net Carbon Dioxide equivalents emissions (Mt CO2-e) by year

Supplementary indicators: