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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
10 April 2001
Australia's greenhouse emissions grew by 1.1 per cent in 1999, according to the latest greenhouse gas figures released today by Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill.
"This figure is much lower than the previous year's growth of 4.5 per cent and significantly less than the annual average growth between 1990 and 1999 of 1.9 per cent," Senator Hill said.
"Furthermore, the lower growth of 1.1 per cent was to a background of Gross Domestic Product growth over the same period of 5.4 per cent which shows that Australia is now decoupling carbon growth from economic growth."
In announcing the release of the 1999 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Senator Hill said the latest figures highlighted the importance of the Government's $1 billion package in tackling the problem of reducing greenhouse emissions.
"This package is laying the groundwork for Australia's part in reducing global emissions," Senator Hill said.
"A substantial component of this greenhouse package was only introduced in 1999 through the Government's Revised Tax Package, so its impact will obviously not be evident in the figures released today."
The 1999 Inventory shows emissions (excluding land use changes) in 1999 were 17.4% above 1990 levels. However, adding the emission consequences of land use change reduces this figure to approximately 7.3 per cent.
In the 1999 inventory, Australia has maintained its previous practice for reporting land use change separately.
Robust estimates of land clearing emissions are expected to be available in late 2001 from the National Carbon Accounting System which will enable integrated reporting within a few years.
Senator Hill said the inventory emissions estimates - even with land use change - do not equate to Australia's Kyoto target as the accounting requirements for the Kyoto Protocol had yet to be finalised.
"They do, however, indicate that whilst Australia's performance is improving, the Kyoto target remains a challenging objective," Senator Hill said.
The energy sector continues to be the major source of Australia's emissions, accounting for almost 80% in 1999. This includes electricity generation (37% of national emissions) and transport, (16% of national emissions). Emissions from stationary energy sources have risen 24.6 per cent between 1990 and 1999. Emissions from transport have risen 20.3 per cent over the same period.
"The Government has recognised the importance of working with industry to reduce Australia's reliance on fossil fuels and as part of its climate change package has committed almost $400 million to initiatives to build our renewable energy industry," Senator Hill said.
"In addition, the Government has been successful in passing legislation which will require energy producers to source an additional two per cent of their power from renewable energy sources. This will create an estimated $2 billion worth of new investment in the renewable energy industry.
"Another $400 million has been committed to the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program (GGAP), which targets large-scale and sustained abatement and sinks activities. The Government recently announced the first projects to receive GGAP funding with $26 million going towards producing cleaner power for Australia and almost $9 million being provided for the distribution of cleaner ethanol-based fuel."
The National Greenhouse Gas Inventory records emissions from human activity from sectors including energy, transport, agriculture, forestry and land clearing, waste and industrial processes.
Copies of the 1999 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, fact sheets and FAQs are available from the Australian Greenhouse Office website at www.greenhouse.gov.au or from the AGO Infoline on 1300 130 606.
Tuesday, April 10, 2001
Media Contact: Belinda Huppatz 08 82377920 or 0419 258364