April 16 Australia's greenhouse gas emissions
fell 0.8 percent in 2013, according to government data, driven
by lower electricity demand and a bigger share of renewables in
the energy mix.
The country emitted 538.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide
equivalent (CO2e) last year, not counting emissions from land
use and forestry, the Department of Environment said.
Despite the cuts, Australia's emissions per capita stand at
23.2 tonnes, among the highest in the world and nearly four
times more than China.
"Over the year to December 2013, there was a decline in
emissions from electricity, reflecting lower electricity demand
and changes in the generation mix. Emissions from industrial
processes also declined over the year," the department said.
Electricity generation is the biggest source of emissions in
coal-dependent Australia, accounting for a third of the
country's greenhouse gases, but saw a 5-percent drop last year
as solar and wind increased their share in the mix.
Those cuts were offset somewhat by a 6.7-percent increase in
emissions associated with mining.
2013 was the first full calendar year that 350 of
Australia's biggest companies had to pay a tax on their carbon
emissions, which analysts say has contributed to the fall in
The country aims to cut emissions to 5 percent below 2000
levels by 2020, and must stop over 430 million tonnes of CO2e
being released into the atmosphere between now and then to meet
The Conservative government that took power last year wants
to remove the carbon tax and replace it with a fund that would
pay emitters to pollute less.
(Reporting by Stian Reklev; Editing by Joseph Radford)