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Department of Premier and Cabinet


This Report presents an overview of Tasmania’s greenhouse gas emissions (emissions) from 1990 to 2017. It includes an explanation of sources of emissions, how emissions have changed over time and likely reasons for those changes.

Under the Climate Change (State Action) Act 2008 (the Act), Tasmania has an emissions reduction target of 60 per cent below 1990 baseline levels by 2050. The Climate Change (Greenhouse Gas Emissions) Regulations 2012 (the Regulations) require the Minister to publish the reduction in emissions compared with the 1990 baseline level.

The Regulations set out the approach for measuring Tasmania’s 1990 baseline emissions, and changes to the State’s emissions over time. The approach outlined in the Regulations is consistent with national and international emissions reporting requirements.

What are greenhouse gases?

Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere and make the Earth warmer. Those with the most significant impact on global warming are water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Other common greenhouse gases include ozone and chlorofluorocarbons.

How are emissions measured?

Each greenhouse gas varies in terms of its contribution to climate change. Global warming potentials are used as a measure of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere. They compare the amount of heat trapped by a certain mass of each gas to the amount of heat trapped by a similar mass of carbon dioxide. Using this method, greenhouse gases are combined into a single, consistent, value of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e), which is presented in this Report.

What are carbon sinks?

A carbon, or emissions, sink removes more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits. The removed carbon is stored, often in the form of growing vegetation.

How are emissions reported?

Reporting framework

Tasmania’s emissions are reported in accordance with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reporting framework for national greenhouse gas inventories (IPCC 2006).

Data sources

State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories (STGGI)

The main source of data on Tasmania’s emissions is the Australian Government’s State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories 2017 (STGGI).

The STGGI is prepared as part of the National Inventory Report, which is submitted annually in accordance with the international guidelines agreed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol (KP).

The National Inventory Report runs two years behind the current date, and represents the most recent official data in Australia on annual emissions. The current National Inventory Report details estimates of Australia’s emissions for the period 1990 to 2017. It reports in financial years to 30 June. The year 2017 refers to the Australian financial year 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017.

Under the UNFCCC, the National Inventory Report must report net emissions from the following sectors:

  • energy;
  • industrial processes and product use (IPPU);
  • agriculture;
  • land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF); and
  • waste.

Sectors are based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (IPCC 2016).

For the purposes of this Report, the energy sector is further broken down into three sub-sectors:

  • electricity generation;
  • the direct combustion of fuels from all other forms of stationary energy excluding electricity generation (direct combustion); and
  • transport.

Within the STGGI, electricity generation is reported under the energy sub-sector ‘Energy Industries’. Direct combustion has been aggregated to include the STGGI energy sub-sectors of ‘Manufacturing Industries and Construction’, ‘Other Sectors’ and ‘Other’.

‘Fugitive emissions’ forms another energy sub-sector. The Australian Government treats Tasmania’s fugitive emissions as confidential, so these emissions are reported in the total emissions from the energy sector.

The STGGI uses the information provided in the National Inventory Report and disaggregates it for each jurisdiction.

The STGGI data relates to production-based, rather than consumption-based emissions in Tasmania. The data account for emissions from goods and services produced in, and exported from, Tasmania.

National Greenhouse Gas Inventory (NGGI)

This Report also draws on data in the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory (NGGI) (DoEE 2019C), which is publicly available on the Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System (AGEIS) website (DoEE 2019A). The NGGI is prepared under the reporting provisions of the Kyoto Protocol, as opposed to the UNFCCC. The main difference between the two accounting frameworks is the treatment of emissions sources and sinks from the LULUCF sector.

The emissions figures reported in the 2017 STGGI and NGGI are not directly comparable to the figures published in the STGGI and NGGI reports of previous years. Each year the Australian Government updates how it calculates the national emissions figures, including Tasmania’s, for the reporting year. The figures are then updated from 1990 to the previous reporting year using the latest available data, improved modelling techniques, land use reclassifications and accounting methodologies. The figures are recalculated to ensure that the estimates of emissions are accurate, transparent, complete, consistent through time and comparable with those produced in other countries.

Units of measure

Greenhouse gases are frequently reported in megatonnes (Mt) CO2-e, with 1 Mt CO2-e equal to 1,000 kilotonnes (kt) CO2-e and 1 kt CO2-e equal to 1,000 tonnes (t) CO2-e.

Because Tasmania is a small jurisdiction with relatively low emissions levels compared with other Australian states and territories, reporting in Mt CO2-e at a sub-sector level can obscure data, and introduce rounding anomalies. To avoid this, Tasmania’s sectoral emissions are reported in kt CO2-e in Chapter 2.

Confidential Information

In accordance with Australian Government protocol, where reporting at a sub-sector level could lead to the disclosure of commercially sensitive emissions data, the Australian Government treats the information as confidential and aggregates it with other sectors before publication. Examples in Tasmania include fugitive emissions, which are reported in the total emissions from the energy sector, and emissions from the metal industry and chemical industry, which are reported as combined emissions in the IPPU sector under ‘Other’.

Discrepancies in Table totals

Data in the tables of this Report are sourced directly from the STGGI. Any discrepancy between table totals and the sum of sectors and sub-sectors reflects rounding anomalies and/or the inclusion of confidential emissions data in the total figure.

Report structure

Chapter One 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 Gross State Product (GSP), and Tasmania’s contribution to national emissions.

Chapter Two presents Tasmanian emissions by sector and sub-sectors using the IPCC sector categories. It describes historical changes in emissions in each sector and sub-sector, and identifies likely reasons for these changes.

A list of Abbreviations and Acronyms is included at the end of this Report.