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Australia's Emissions Drop Driven by Spike in Renewables

20 Mar 16:00 by Steve Walia

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Greenhouse gas emissions in Australia dropped between September and December 2016, putting the country back on course to hit its quarterly commitments signed up to in Paris. The drop was driven by a spike in the generation of renewable energy.

Australia's greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 3.57 million tonnes during the final quarter of the year, representing the biggest drop since emissions began to be tracked in 2001. 

Analysis showed that it was due to the record highs of wind and hydro generation during October. Fresh capacity in both renewable technologies has rapidly increased their share in Australia's energy mix.

However, projected emissions for the quarter were still above the targets set by the Climate Change Authority by 6.89 million tonnes. Figures show that, in the longer term, Australia is at risk at running over 300 million tonnes above its scientifically set Paris targets by the target date of 2030.

Ndevr Environmental carried out the environmental analysis, which it does for all major sources of emissions in Australia. The body exists to produce data at a more rapid pace than the government could in order to help policy-makers to keep progress on track.

During 2012-2016, the country's emissions were just over 20pc of its share of targets for 2013-2050. These targets are set to keep the risk of global warming under 2 C.

If the country continues to maintain its carbon-emissions average, it will have spent its whole carbon budget by the end of 2031. This means that renewable energy is currently the only thing keeping Australia in the race to meet its climate targets and may mean that the country needs to heavily invest in renewable energy in the longer term as well as find means of slashing industrial emissions.