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Department of Premier and Cabinet

1. Changes in Tasmania’s emissions

This chapter presents changes in Tasmania’s emissions over the periods 1990 to 2017 and 2016 to 2017, Tasmania’s emissions per person and per unit of GSP, and Tasmania’s contribution to national emissions.

1.1 Tasmania’s emissions - 1990 to 2017

Tasmania’s emissions decreased by 17.74 Mt CO2-e between 1990 and 2017, which is a 95 per cent reduction from the 1990 baseline, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1 highlights the downward trend in Tasmania’s annual emissions from 1990 to 2017 by sector and energy sub-sector.

Figure 1: Tasmania’s emissions by sector and energy sub-sector - 1990 to 2017

This figure combines a stacked bar chart, showing the change in sectoral and energy sub-sectoral annual greenhouse gas emissions, with a line graph showing total net emissions, from 1990 to 2017. It shows the dramatic decline in Tasmania’s net emissions, from 18.61 Mt CO2-e in 1990, peaking at 22.65 Mt CO2-e in 2003, then rapidly declining to minus 0.33 Mt CO2-e in 2016, before increasing in 2017 to 0.87 Mt CO2-e. 
It shows LULUCF was largely responsible for the changes in Tasmania’s total net emissions, with LULUCF emissions reaching a peak of 14.97 Mt CO2-e in 2003, before declining to become a net carbon sink in 2012, reaching a minimum of minus 8.38 Mt CO2-e in 2016, before increasing slightly in 2017 to minus 7.59 Mt CO2-e. 
It also shows emissions from electricity generation fluctuating year by year, with a trend of increasing emissions in IPPU and direct combustion, while agriculture and transport have remained fairly constant.

Source: DoEE 2019B.

Table 1 shows the change in both total and sectoral, and energy sub-sectoral emissions between 1990 and 2017. Changes in the LULUCF sector have had a major influence on Tasmania’s total annual emissions, reducing emissions and increasing carbon sequestration by 18.14 Mt CO2-e (172 per cent decrease).

Modest reductions in emissions also occurred in the following sectors and sub-sectors: electricity generation (0.13 Mt CO2-e, or 23 per cent); waste (0.11 Mt CO2-e, or 22 per cent); and agriculture (0.01 Mt CO2‑e, or 1 per cent).

Sectors and energy sub-sectors where emissions increased over this period were: direct combustion (0.34 Mt CO2-e, or 22 per cent); IPPU (0.22 Mt CO2-e, or 14 per cent); and transport (0.05 Mt CO2-e, or 3 per cent).

Table 1: Tasmania’s emissions by sector and energy sub-sector - 1990 to 2017

Sector/Sub-sector

Emissions (Mt CO2-e)

Change (%)

1990

2017

Energy (including fugitive emissions)

3.72

4.01

8

Direct combustion

1.56

1.90

22

Transport

1.58

1.63

3

Electricity generation

0.57

0.44

-23

Agriculture

2.32

2.31

-1

IPPU

1.56

1.77

14

Waste

0.48

0.37

-22

LULUCF

10.54

-7.59

-172

Total

18.61

0.87

-95

Source: DoEE 2019B.

1.2 Tasmania’s emissions – 2016 to 2017

In 2016 Tasmania was the first jurisdiction in Australia to achieve zero net emissions. This was of international significance and reflected Tasmania’s longstanding investment in renewable energy and the carbon sink in our forests. Tasmania’s emissions profile is subject to change and ongoing emissions abatement efforts are required for the State to maintain zero net emissions in the longer-term.

Between 2016 and 2017, Tasmania’s emissions increased by 1.20 Mt CO2-e. Table 2 highlights the change in sectoral and energy sub-sectoral emissions between 2016 and 2017. The main contributor to this increase was the LULUCF sector, with lower rates of sequestration and re-growth in previously harvested native forests and plantations (0.91 Mt CO2-e, or 9 per cent).

There was also an increase in emissions from: manufacturing industries and construction in the direct combustion sub-sector (0.14 Mt CO2-e, or 11 per cent); the mineral industry in the IPPU sector (0.05 Mt CO2-e, or 7 per cent); enteric fermentation from cows and sheep in the agriculture sector (0.14 Mt CO2-e, or 9 per cent); and solid waste disposal in the waste sector (0.03 Mt CO2-e, or 10 per cent).

Reductions in emissions occurred in: electricity generation (0.04 Mt CO2-e, or 9 per cent); transport (0.08 Mt CO2-e, or 5 per cent); and wastewater treatment and disposal in the waste sector (0.01 Mt CO2-e, or 8 per cent).

Table 2: Tasmania’s emissions by sector and energy sub-sector - 2016 to 2017

Sector/Sub-sector

Emissions (Mt CO2-e)

Change (%)

2016

2017

Energy (including fugitive emissions)

3.99

4.01

1

Direct combustion

1.74

1.90

9

Transport

1.71

1.63

-5

Electricity generation

0.48

0.44

-9

Agriculture

2.10

2.31

10

IPPU

1.61

1.77

10

Waste

0.36

0.37

5

LULUCF

-8.38

-7.59

9

Source: DoEE 2019B.

The relative contribution of each sector to the change in Tasmania’s emissions between 2016 to 2017 is presented in Figure 2. Figure 2 highlights the large proportional contribution of the LULUCF sector (66 per cent) to the increase in Tasmania’s emissions, and relatively moderate contributions by the agriculture (17 per cent), IPPU (13 per cent), energy (2 per cent), and waste (2 per cent) sectors.

Figure 2: Relative contribution of sectors to the change in Tasmania’s emissions - 2016 to 2017

This donut chart shows the relative contribution of each sector to the change in Tasmania’s emissions between 2016 to 2017. It highlights the large proportional contribution of the LULUCF sector (66 per cent) to the increase in Tasmania’s emissions, and relatively moderate contributions by the agriculture (17 per cent), IPPU (13 per cent), energy (2 per cent), and waste (2 per cent) sectors.

Source: DoEE 2019B.

1.3 Tasmanian emissions per person

Figure 3 shows that in 2017, Tasmania had the lowest emissions per person of any Australian jurisdiction, at 1.7 t CO2-e. This is substantially less than the national average of 21.7 t CO2-e per person.

Figure 3: Tasmania’s emissions per person relative to Australia and other states and territories – 2017

This bar chart shows that Tasmania had the lowest emissions per person of any Australian jurisdiction in 2017, at 1.7 t CO2-e. In increasing order, it shows Tasmania was followed by the ACT (3.2 t CO2-e), SA (12.8 t CO2-e), NSW (16.7  t CO2-e), VIC (17.4 t CO2-e), Australian National Average (21.7 t CO2-e), Western Australia (34.4 t CO2-e), Queensland (32.8 t CO2-e), and the NT (66.9 t CO2-e).

Source: DoEE 2019B, ABS2017A.

Figure 4 highlights that Tasmania’s emissions per person have decreased from 40.3 t CO2-e in 1990 to 1.7 t CO2-e in 2017, a reduction of 96 per cent (38.6 t CO2-e) over 18 years.

Figure 4: Change in Tasmania’s emissions per person - 1990 to 2017

This area chart shows that Tasmania’s emissions per person have decreased from 40.3 t CO2-e in 1990 to 1.7 t CO2-e in 2017, a reduction of 96 per cent over 18 years. Emissions have remained relatively steady between 1990 and 2008, when they started to decline noticeably, and drop sharply from 2011.

Source: DoEE 2019B, ABS2017A.

Figure 5 provides information on the percentage change in Tasmania’s population and emissions per person, with and without the LULUCF sector, from 1990 to 2017 relative to the 1990 baseline. When emissions from the LULUCF sector are excluded, the percentage change in Tasmania’s emissions per person relative to the 1990 baseline also declines, while Tasmania’s population has steadily grown.

Figure 5: Percentage change in Tasmania’s population and emissions per person – 1990 to 2017

This line chart shows the percentage change in Tasmania’s population and emissions per person, with and without the LULUCF sector, from 1990 to 2017 relative to the 1990 baseline. The line with large orange dashes shows Tasmania’s population has steadily grown, having increased by 11.91 per cent between 1990 and 2017. When emissions from the LULUCF sector are included, the line with small green dashes shows fluctuations 20 per cent of either side of 0, and a steady decline from 2003 to a low in 2016 of about minus 100 per cent. When emissions from the LULUCF sector are excluded (dotted line), the percentage change in Tasmania’s emissions per person relative to the 1990 baseline declines very slightly. In 2017, the graph shows a 6.83 per cent decrease in emissions per person (excluding LULUCF) relative to the 1990 baseline.

Source: DoEE 2019B, ABS 2017A.

1.4 Tasmania’s emissions and Gross State Product

Figure 6 shows the change in Tasmania’s emissions and real GSP from 1990 to 2017. During this period Tasmania’s real GSP increased by 74 per cent while Tasmania’s emissions decreased by 95 per cent.

Figure 6: Change in Tasmanian emissions and real Gross State Product – 1990 to 2017

This figure combines an area chart representing Tasmania’s real Gross State Product (GSP), and a line chart representation Tasmania’s total emissions, to show the change in Tasmania’s emissions and GSP from 1990 to 2017. It shows Tasmania’s real GSP steadily increasing by a total of 74 per cent over this period (from $16,402 million to $28,577 million). The dashed line shows a 95 per cent decrease in Tasmania’s total net emissions over this period, with emissions reaching a peak in 2003, declining rapidly to achieve negative net emissions in 2016, before increasing slightly in 2017.

Source: DoEE 2019B, ABS2017B.

The rise in Tasmania’s GSP, coupled with the decrease in Tasmania’s emissions, resulted in a reduction in emissions intensity of the Tasmanian economy, from 1,135 to 30 tonnes (t) CO2-e per million dollars (98 per cent reduction).

When the emissions from the LULUCF sector are excluded, the emissions intensity of Tasmania’s economy demonstrates a downward trend, declining from 492 to 296 t CO2‑e per $M GSP between 1990 and 2017, which is a reduction of 40 per cent over time. This trend reflects Tasmania’s ongoing transition to a lower carbon economy.

Figure 7 provides information on the percentage change in Tasmania’s real GSP and emissions intensity, with and without the LULUCF sector, from 1990 to 2017 relative to the 1990 baseline.

Figure 7: Percentage change in Tasmania’s real GSP and emissions intensity – 1990 to 2017

This line chart shows the percentage change in Tasmania’s real GSP and emissions intensity, with and without the LULUCF sector, from 1990 to 2017 relative to the 1990 baseline. It shows Tasmania’s real GSP (large dashed line) steadily increasing between 1990 and 2017, with a sharp, but short, dip in 2003. When LULUCF is included (short dashed line), it shows a strong downward trend in the emissions intensity of the Tasmanian economy since 2003, decreasing by 101 per cent in 2016, before increasing to a 98 per cent reduction in 2017. When LULUCF is excluded (dotted line), it shows a largely constant downward trend since 1990, with the emissions intensity of the Tasmanian economy having declined by 43 per cent in 2015, before increasing slightly to a 40 per cent decrease relative to 1990 in 2017.

Source: DoEE 2019B, ABS2017B.

1.5 Tasmania’s contribution to national emissions

In 2017, Tasmania made the smallest contribution to Australia’s total emissions (534.67 Mt CO2-e), contributing 0.16 per cent (Figure 8).

Figure 8: Tasmania’s contribution to national emissions – 2017

This donut chart shows that Tasmania made the smallest contribution to Australia’s total emissions, contributing 0.16 per cent. Other state and territory contributions were: ACT (0.20 per cent), NT (3.11 per cent), SA (4.12 per cent), WA (16.6 per cent), VIC (20.69 per cent), NSW (24.71 per cent), and QLD (30.33 per cent).

Source: DoEE 2019B.

Figure 9 highlights Tasmania’s contribution to national emissions from 1990 to 2017. Tasmania’s share of Australia’s total emissions has decreased significantly since 1990 from 3.1 per cent in 1990 to 0.16 per cent in 2017.

Figure 9: Tasmania’s contribution to national emissions - 1990 to 2017

This area chart shows that Tasmania’s share of Australia’s total emissions has decreased significantly since 1990, from 3.1 per cent in 1990 to 0.16 per cent in 2017. It closely reflects the trend in Tasmania’s total net emissions, with a peak in 2003, decreasing sharply to a negative contribution in 2016, before increasing slightly in 2017.

Source: DoEE 2019B.