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Renewables, Climate and Future Industries Tasmania

Reducing our emissions

Our emissions reduction target

In response to the recent independent review of Tasmania’s climate change legislation, the Tasmanian Government plans to legislate a new emissions reduction target for Tasmania of net zero emissions from 2030.

  • Under the Climate Change (State Action) Act 2008, Tasmania has a legislated target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 60 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. The Government has also committed to net zero emissions by 2050.
  • Based on the latest available data, Tasmania has achieved its commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 for six of the past seven years.

Tasmania’s greenhouse gas emissions

On 19 April 2021 the Australian Government released the State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories: 2019 (the latest figures).

You can read the full State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories, as part of the National Greenhouse Accounts, on the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources website.

Latest figures

In 2019, Tasmania’s emissions were minus 1.68 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2-e). This is a drop of 108.6 per cent from 1990 levels.

The 2019 emissions for each reportable sector were: - Land Use, Change and Forestry (LULUCF): minus 10.04 Mt CO2-e - Waste: 0.39 Mt CO2-e - Industrial Processes and Product Use (IPPU): 1.69 Mt CO2-e - Agriculture: 2.40 Mt CO2-e - Energy: 3.88 Mt CO2-e, made up of: - Electricity generation: 0.33 Mt CO2-e - Transport: 1.80 Mt CO2-e - Direct combustion: 1.75 Mt CO2-e

The 2019 emissions for each reportable sector were:

  • Land Use, Change and Forestry (LULUCF): minus 10.04 Mt CO2-e
  • Waste: 0.39 Mt CO2-e
  • Industrial Processes and Product Use (IPPU): 1.69 Mt CO2-e
  • Agriculture: 2.40 Mt CO2-e
  • Energy: 3.88 Mt CO2-e, made up of:
    • Electricity generation: 0.33 Mt CO2-e
    • Transport: 1.80 Mt CO2-e
    • Direct combustion: 1.75 Mt CO2-e

Tasmania was the first Australian jurisdiction to achieve net zero emissions, and did so in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

What is the government doing?

The Tasmanian Government delivers action on climate change through our climate change action plan.

Monitoring emissions

As the State’s biggest employer, the Tasmanian Government is leading by example to understand and manage its greenhouse gas emissions and energy use.

We use emissions reporting software to generate a wide range of reports, from high-level overviews to detailed spreadsheets. These reports show energy and fuel-use trends and help identify ways to achieve savings. Reducing emissions can increase our energy productivity and reduce operational costs, making more funds available for delivery of essential government services.

Taking action on transport

Transport is a significant source of Tasmania’s greenhouse gas emissions. Vehicle fleet costs are a major expense for the Tasmanian Government, local government, private sector fleets and the community.

Actions to reduce transport emissions:

  • Electric Vehicle Working Group
  • Improving fleet efficiency through the Smarter Fleets program
  • Electric Vehicle ChargeSmart Grants Program
  • Committing to transition the government fleet to 100 per cent electric vehicles by 2030
  • Waiving stamp duty on electric vehicles for two years
  • Waiving registration fees on electric vehicles for hire car companies
  • Investing in Metro Tasmania to trial an electric bus in the South and supporting a hydrogen bus trial in the North of the State, once hydrogen supply starts

Business support

Business Resource Efficiency Program

The Business Resource Efficiency Program worked with 11 small to medium-sized Tasmanian businesses to reduce the amount of waste they produce. Each business received a comprehensive waste audit, and worked with other program participants to develop plans to reduce waste.

The 2021-22 Tasmanian Budget includes $200,000 for a second BREP program, expected to get underway early in 2022.

Learn more about the Business Resource Efficiency Program

Power$mart Businesses

Energy costs make up a significant proportion of the operating costs of Tasmanian businesses. Improved energy efficiency can help lower power bills, protect against future energy price rises, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Tasmanian Government’s Power$mart Businesses program offered funding to conduct energy audits that reviewed business energy use and helped find ways to reduce it.

Learn more about Power$mart Businesses.

What are greenhouse gases?

Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere and make the Earth warmer. Those with the most significant impact on global warming are water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Other common greenhouse gases include ozone and chlorofluorocarbons.

How are emissions measured?

Each greenhouse gas varies in terms of its contribution to climate change. Global warming potentials are used as a relative measure of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere. They compare the amount of heat trapped by a certain mass of each gas to the amount of heat trapped by a similar mass of carbon dioxide.

Using this method, greenhouse gases are combined into a single, consistent value of carbon dioxide equivalent or CO2-e.

What are carbon sinks?

A carbon, or emissions, sink removes more carbon than it emits. The removed carbon is stored, often in the form of growing vegetation.

How are emissions reported?

The Tasmanian Government releases a report each year on Tasmania’s latest greenhouse gas emissions figures, which shows the State’s progress towards its emissions reduction target and monitors emissions by sector.

Tasmania's emissions are reported in accordance with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reporting framework for national greenhouse gas inventories.

Emissions from energy

Electricity generation

Electricity generation accounts for 6 per cent of Tasmania’s emissions excluding LULUCF. In contrast, emissions from electricity generation account for more than half of Victoria’s total net emissions.

Tasmania has an enviable renewable energy profile. We are 100 per cent self-sufficient in renewable energy and have a commitment to generate 200 per cent of our energy needs from renewable energy by 2040, which means Tasmania will double its renewable energy production. The Tasmanian Government is also fast-tracking a renewable hydrogen industry in Tasmania, with the goal of using locally-produced renewable hydrogen in Tasmania by 2022, and commercially exporting clean hydrogen by 2030.

Energy efficiency

We can reduce emissions associated with electricity generation by reducing the amount of electricity government, industry, businesses, and households use.

Improved energy efficiency can lower emissions, as well as reduce electricity bills, and improve the health and wellbeing of Tasmanians.

Direct combustion

Direct combustion of fossil fuels for stationary energy accounts for approximately 21 per cent of Tasmania’s emissions (excluding LULUCF). Direct combustion includes emissions from: burning coal, gas, agricultural waste or forestry residue to generate heat, steam or pressure for manufacturing industries and construction; agriculture, forestry and fishing operations; commercial operations; and burning wood or gas for household heating and cooking.

Opportunities to reduce emissions from the direct combustion of fossil fuels include electrification and fuel switching to bioenergy to replace natural gas and coal fired boilers in commercial and industrial applications, and the use of heat pumps to replace residential wood and gas heating.

Emissions from transport

Transport accounts for 19 per cent of Tasmania’s emissions (excluding LULUCF). The majority (94 per cent) of transport emissions come from road transportation (made up of cars: 58 per cent, heavy duty trucks and buses: 23 per cent, and light commercial vehicles: 19 per cent). Reducing emissions from transport involves transitioning to technologies that improve efficiency; fuel switching to low and zero emissions sources, such as battery electric vehicles, renewable hydrogen fuel cell technologies and biofuels; and supporting the transition to alternative means of transport such as walking, cycling or public transport.

Emissions from industry

Agriculture

Agriculture is a key growth sector in Tasmania’s economy. Currently, the sector accounts for 28 per cent of Tasmania’s emissions (excluding LULUCF). The majority (71 per cent) of these emissions comes from enteric fermentation (digestive processes that result in methane production), mainly from cattle and sheep.

Emissions from agriculture can be reduced by improving soil carbon through regenerative farming practices and using precision agricultural technologies. There are also promising trials underway to include seaweed in the feed of livestock which may significantly reduce methane emissions from enteric fermentation.

Read more about the CSIRO livestock seaweed project

Forestry and land use

Forestry is a well-established industry in Tasmania, which provides jobs and large-scale export opportunities. Tasmania’s forests act as a carbon sink, which offsets the majority of the State’s greenhouse gas emissions. Projected climate changes mean it will be important to sustainably manage our current forests and plantations in order to offset atmospheric greenhouse gases.

The use of wood products that store carbon for long periods, such as in building construction applications, can sequester carbon for longer. This has the additional benefit of replacing more emissions-intensive building products such as concrete and steel.

Industrial processes and product use

Emissions from industrial processes and product use (IPPU) account for 21 per cent of Tasmania’s emissions (excluding LULUCF).

IPPU includes emissions from: the calcination of carbonate compounds (eg cement, lime or glass production); carbon when used as a chemical reductant (eg aluminium, ferromanganese and zinc production); and the production and use of synthetic gases such as hydrofluorocarbons (eg refrigeration, air conditioning and solvents).

Emissions from waste

Emissions are produced by the decomposition of organic waste in landfills, and from the release of greenhouse gases during the treatment of wastewater. Emissions from waste account for 4 per cent of Tasmania’s emissions, excluding LULUCF.

Data sources

The report on Tasmania's greenhouse gas emissions is compiled using data from the Australian Government's State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories 2019 (STGGI). which is prepared as part of the National Inventory Report. The Australian Government submits the Inventories to meet Australia's annual reporting commitment under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol.

Under the UNFCCC, the National Inventory Report must report net emissions from the following sectors:

  • energy;
  • industrial processes and product use (IPPU);
  • agriculture;
  • land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF); and
  • waste.

The National Inventory Report runs two years behind the current date, and represents the most recent official data in Australia on annual emissions. The current National Inventory Report details estimates of Australia’s emissions for the period 1990 to 2019. The year 2019 refers to the Australian financial year 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019.

Each year, the Australian Government updates how it calculates the national emissions figures, updating all the figures from 1990 to the previous reporting year. The figures are recalculated to ensure that they are accurate, complete, and can be compared with reports from other countries. This means the latest accounts cannot be compared with those released in previous years.

More information is available from the Australian Government's website.