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Department of Premier and Cabinet


In 2017 the Tasmanian Government released Climate Action 21: Tasmania’s Climate Change Action Plan 2017-2021 (Climate Action 21) and the Climate Action 21 Implementation Plan.

Climate Action 21 sets the Tasmanian Government’s agenda for action on climate change including reducing emissions, preparing for and responding to the impacts of a changing climate, and supporting the transition to a low carbon economy.

The Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Tasmanian Climate Change Office (TCCO) is responsible for coordinating the implementation of Climate Action 21 and reporting on progress.

TCCO implements Climate Action 21 in collaboration with all levels of government, business and industry, the scientific community, peak organisations and the broader Tasmanian community. This includes seeking the views of others to inform the scope and delivery of programs and projects.

Each year, TCCO reports on progress towards the implementation of Climate Action 21. This is the third report card which shows progress made from July 2019 to June 2020.

Key Achievements

  1. Electric Vehicle Working Group – providing advice and information sharing to build collective understanding of the emerging industry.
  2. Installation of electric vehicle chargers – supporting a statewide electric vehicle charging network.
  3. Business Resource Efficiency Program – supporting 11 Tasmanian businesses to reduce waste.
  4. Power$mart Businesses Program – supporting 22 businesses to undertake energy efficiency audits and reduce energy use.
  5. Smarter Fleets Program – supporting Tasmanian Government, local government and heavy vehicle fleets to improve fleet efficiency and prepare for electric vehicle uptake.
  6. Climate Resilient Councils – supported 17 councils to understand and improve how climate change is considered by their council when making strategic and financial decisions.
  7. Climate change research – offering climate research grant funding; and undertaking priority research on compound extreme events; enterprise suitability mapping; climate change and health; and onsite wastewater management systems.
  8. Tasmanian Climate Symposium – second annual Symposium held on 17 October 2019.

2019 Climate Update

Setting the scene: recent observations in Tasmania’s climate and developments in climate policy

Since the release of Climate Action 21, Tasmania has experienced significant climate events including bushfires, floods, heatwaves, prolonged dry periods and unseasonal snowfall. These climate events present substantial risks for business, industry, local government and the broader community. Increasingly,it is becoming recognised on a global scale that all organisations, including government and businesses, need to better consider climate change risks.

Black Summer

In the summer of 2019-20, now known as ‘Black Summer’, Australia experienced significant bushfires, particularly in NSW and Victoria. This is now the subject of an Australian Government Bushfire Royal Commission.

In January 2020, bushfire smoke drifted to Tasmania, prompting smoke alerts and causing poor air quality across the State, resulting in the cancellation of outdoor events such as the Bridport Triathlon. Tasmania’s bushfire season began in late October 2019 and burnt an estimated 36,000 hectares.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Annual Climate Statement 2019 found that 2019 was:

  • Australia’s warmest year on record, with an annual national mean temperature 1.52°C above average; and
  • Australia’s driest year on record, with annual total rainfall 40 per cent below average.

Tasmania’s total rainfall for 2019 was about 7 per cent below average. It was well below average over most of the eastern half of the State, but above average in the western highlands. Tasmania’s mean maximum temperature for the year was 0.64°C above average, and some sites set new records for the highest temperature on 30 December 2019. The extreme weather forecast on that day forced the early closure of the Taste of Tasmania festival in Hobart.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s annual climate report records ongoing, long-term climate change interacting with underlying natural variability. Australia has warmed by over 1°C since 1910, with most of the warming since 1950.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report shows that these historical observations are going to accelerate, with extreme weather events becoming more frequent and intense in a changing climate.

Tasmania’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Each year, the Australian Government releases its annual State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories. The latest figures, for the 2018 reporting period, were released in May 2020.

Tasmania’s net emissions in 2018 were minus 2.19 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2‑e), which is a 111 per cent decrease from the 1990 baseline level of 20.10 Mt CO2-e.

This result indicates that for the seventh year in a row Tasmania has achieved its legislated emissions reduction target under the Climate Change (State Action) Act 2008, of 60 per cent below 1990 baseline levels by 2050, and its policy target of net zero emissions by 2050 for the past four years.

At minus 2.19 Mt CO2-e, Tasmania has the lowest net emissions of all other Australian states and territories in 2018. Tasmania’s low emissions status is variable over time and the carbon sink in our managed forest estate is not fixed. It is influenced by a range of factors.

With the exclusion of emissions from the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector, the emissions intensity of Tasmania's economy has demonstrated a downward trend, indicating Tasmania is successfully transitioning to a lower carbon economy.

Excluding emissions from the LULUCF sector, the annual emissions across the rest of the Tasmanian economy increased by only 1.0 per cent between 1990 and 2018. This is considered significant, given that during this period Tasmania’s Gross State Product increased by around 74 per cent and the State’s population increased by around 14 per cent.

Implementation Progress

Summary of progress against Climate Action 21 – 2020

Climate Action 21 has 37 actions across six priority areas. The purpose of this Report Card is to show progress against each of the actions contained in Climate Action 21. The status of each action is shown as: In progress, Nearing completion, Complete, Ongoing or Discontinued.

Since the launch of Climate Action 21, 14 actions have been completed and five actions are nearing completion. Three actions are in progress, 14 actions are ongoing and one action has been discontinued.

In progress

1.1, 1.3, 6.1

Near completion

2.3, 3.1, 3.3, 4.6, 4.7


1.2, 2.2, 2.4, 2.7, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 5.1, 5.2, 5.5, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5


1.4, 2.1, 2.5, 2.6, 3.2, 3.4, 3.5, 4.1, 4.8, 4.9, 5.3, 5.4, 5.6, 5.7



Next: Understanding Tasmania's future climate