Australia

'Pollution blowout': Australian emissions hit seven-year high

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While the federal government says it's on track to meet emissions targets, new figures show pollution continues to climb.

Ahead of the start of climate talks in Poland next week, the latest report shows Australia's greenhouse emissions are at their highest level since 2011.

The National Greenhouse Gas Inventory figures for the June quarter show total emissions were the equivalent of 533.7 million tonnes, up 5.1 per cent since the carbon price was abolished in June 2014.

However, while emissions from the production, processing, transport, storage, transmission and distribution of coal, crude oil and natural gas increased by 5.2 per cent over the year to June 2018, there was a 2.8 per cent fall in emissions from the electricity sector.

The federal government says it's on track to meet emissions targets - but new figures show pollution continues to climb.
The federal government says it's on track to meet emissions targets - but new figures show pollution continues to climb.
AAP

This was due to an increase in the use of renewable energy in the national electricity market.

Transport sector emissions increased 2.6 per cent over the year to June 2018, mainly due to higher use of diesel fuel.

Environment Minister Melissa Price, who will attend the United Nations COP24 conference in Katowice, said the figures showed Australia was on track to beat its 2020 emissions reduction target.

"These results were driven by stronger than-expected growth in LNG production for export, with volumes increasing by 18.4 per cent," she said in a statement on Friday.

"Our LNG exports have the potential to save importing countries 130 million tonnes of emissions per year."

Environment Minister Melissa Pric.
Environment Minister Melissa Pric.
AAP

Australian Conservation Foundation economist Matt Rose said it was the steepest increase in emissions in a quarter since 2004.

"Australia is smashing climate pollution records and doing it in a canter," Mr Rose said.

"Unfortunately, the Morrison government has no policies to address this pollution blowout."

Ms Price will underline Australia's commitment to a 2030 target of a 26-28 per cent cut in climate pollution against 2005 levels.

However, Mr Rose said there was no sign Australia would meet its 2030 commitment under current policy.

Labor climate spokesman Mark Butler said the government could no longer say the Paris target would be met "in a canter", as it was expressed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week.

"The government's own data doesn't lie."

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