ACT greenhouse gas emissions

The ACT has a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2020 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. These are some of the most ambitious targets in Australia and compare favourably with the targets of many cities and jurisdictions around the world.

The ACT reports annually on greenhouse gas emissions.

ACT per person emissions target reached

The ACT achieved our first legislated emissions reduction target of peaking per person emissions by 30 June 2013. This means that the amount of greenhouse gas emissions (in carbon dioxide equivalent, ‘CO2-e’) generated per person in the ACT has declined since 2013.

In 2016-17 the ACT emitted 9.64 tonnes of CO2-e per person. This was a further reduction from 2015-16 when emissions were 10.14 tonnes CO2-e per person. In 2005-06 ACT per person emissions peaked at 12.72 tonnes CO2-e per person.

A line graph showing the change in emissions from 1990 to 2016. The line is relatively flat with a slight increase in 2006, then a slight decline to 2010 before a clear drop to 2012. There is a slight increase from 2012 to 2014 but a decline to 2016 showing per capita emissions at under 10 tonnes per person for the first time.

Figure: ACT greenhouse gas emissions per person 1990 to 2016

ACT emissions trends

The baseline year for the ACT’s emission reduction targets is 1989-90, when emissions were 3197 kilotonnes CO2-e. In 2016-17 ACT emissions were 3916.2 kilotonnes CO2-e, 23% higher than 1989-90. However, emissions are set to decrease rapidly as we approach 2020 as the transition to a zero emissions renewable electricity supply accelerates.

In 2016-17 electricity emissions fell by 9.8% due to renewable electricity in the grid increasing from 20% to 29%.

ACT emissions by sector

In 2016-17, electricity accounted for 52% of ACT emissions, followed by transport (29%), natural gas (10%), industrial processes (5%) and other sources (7%) and waste (2%). As the electricity supply will be 100% renewable (zero emissions) from 2020, the ACT is now focus on targeting emissions reductions in transport, natural gas and waste.

A pie chart showing the proportion of emissions by sector as part of the emissions profile. Electricity (in blue) is the largest wedge at 52%, followed by transport (grey) at 29%, natural gas (orange) at 10%, All other sources (Yellow) at 7% and waste (dark blue) at 2%.

Figure: ACT greenhouse gas emissions profile 2016-17

A stacked column graph with columns for 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 showing emissions by sector of Electricity (light blue), Natural gas (orange), Transport (grey), All other (yellow) and waste (dark blue). Emissions in kilotonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents are on the y axis. It shows electricity is the largest source in emissions across all years. Total emissions have decreased slightly since 2012-13.

Figure: ACT Greenhouse Gas Emissions by source type between 2013 and 2017

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