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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Tasmanian Climate Change Office

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Tasmania's greenhouse gas emissions

This information is available in different formats:

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 relative 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 or CO2-e.

What are carbon sinks?

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

How are emissions reported?

Each year, the Tasmanian Climate Change Office releases a report on Tasmania’s latest greenhouse gas accounts, which shows the State’s progress towards its emissions reduction target and monitors emissions by sector.

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

The Tasmanian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2016-17 details Tasmania’s latest greenhouse gas accounts.

Data sources

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.

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. 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.

More information is available from the Australian Government's environment website.

Snapshot of Tasmania's emissions, 1990 to 2017

In 2017, Tasmania’s emissions were 0.87 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). This is a 95 per cent decrease from 1990.

Where do our emissions come from?

  • Energy: 4.01 Mt CO2-e, made up of:
    • Direct combustion: 1.90 Mt CO2-e
    • Transport: 1.63 Mt CO2-e
    • Electricity generation: 0.44 Mt CO2-e
  • Agriculture: 2.31 Mt CO2-e
  • Industrial Processes and Product Use: 1.77 Mt CO2-e
  • Waste: 0.37 Mt CO2-e
  • Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF): -7.59 Mt CO2-e

Tasmania’s forests absorb carbon dioxide. They offset the majority of our emissions.

How have our emissions changed between 1990 and 2017?

SectorPercentage change
TransportIncreased by 3 per cent
Industrial Processes and Product UseIncreased by 14 per cent
Direct combustionIncreased by 22 per cent
AgricultureDecreased by 1 per cent
WasteDecreased by 22 per cent
Electricity GenerationDecreased by 23 per cent
Land Use, Land Use Change and ForestryDecreased by 172 per cent

In 2017, Tasmania had the lowest emissions per person in Australia, at 1.7 tonnes of CO2-e. The national average is 21.7 tonnes CO2-e.

Tasmania continues to transition to a lower carbon economy

Tasmania’s Gross State Product (GSP) is increasing and our greenhouse gas emissions are decreasing. Between 1990 and 2017 Tasmania’s real GSP increased by 74 per cent and our population grew by 14 per cent, while our emissions decreased by 95 per cent.

Meeting our emissions reduction target

Under the Climate Change (State Action) Act 2008, Tasmania has a legislated target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 60 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

In 1989-90, Tasmania’s baseline greenhouse gas emissions were 18.61 mega-tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2-e). The State’s total greenhouse gas emissions for 2016-17 were 0.87 Mt CO2-e, which is a 95 per cent reduction since 1990. This confirms Tasmania's status as a very low emitter.

Learn more about Tasmania's emissions, carbon storage, and clean energy on our Resources page.