Gas boom fuels Australia’s third straight year of rising emissions


LNG was major contributor to 1.5% rise in year to December 2017, government data shows


Greenhouse gas emissions were driven by an increase of 17.6% in natural gas production. Photograph: Ken Mulvaney

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions continue to soar, increasing for the third consecutive year according to new data published by the Department of Environment and Energy.

The Turnbull government published new quarterly emissions data late on Friday which reveals Australia’s climate pollution increased by 1.5% in the year to December 2017.

The expansion in LNG exports and production is identified as the major contributor to the increase, but the data shows a jump in emissions across all sectors – including waste, agriculture and transport – except for electricity, the one area that recorded a decrease in emissions.

In particular, the department’s data shows a 10.5% increase in fugitive emissions from the production, processing, transport, storage, transmission and distribution of fossil fuels such as coal, crude oil and natural gas, driven by an increase of 17.6% in natural gas production.

It comes at a time when the government has been pressuring states and territories to lift bans on fracking for new unconventional gas development and just weeks after the Northern Territory announced it would end its ban on fracking.

Publication of the data also comes after Australia recorded its hottest and driest April in 21 years.


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