CANBERRA, Sept. 29 - Gas exports and production were responsible for Australia's greenhouse gas emissions rising in 2017, a government report has revealed.
(Source: Adapted from Global Warming Cool it!, copyright Commonwealth of Australia)
The report, released by the Department of Environment and Energy on Friday evening, found that emissions were up 1.3 percent in the year to March 2018.
Emissions were up in every sector except electricity where they fell 4.2 percent and land use, which was down 5.2 percent.
Bill Hare, director of Climate Analytics, said the results meant Australia was not on track to meet its Paris Agreement commitment to reduce emissions by between 26 and 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
"While emissions from the national electricity market continue to decrease due to increasing renewable electricity, Australian emissions as a whole continue to increase," he told the Guardian Australia.
"On present trends, with virtually no policies apart from the renewable energy target, which will expire in 2020 and not be replaced, emissions are set to gallop way past the Paris agreement target."
The government released the data on the same day that an explosive royal commission into the nation's financial sector published its interim report, effectively burying the report.
Minister for the Environment Melissa Price said that emissions were down 11.2 percent on 2005 levels and Australia was on track to meet its 2020 emissions target.
The government abandoned its signature energy policy, the National Energy Guarantee (NEG), earlier in September because conservative members threatened to rebel over the emissions reduction target embedded in the policy.
The opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) has promised to commit to a 45-percent emissions reduction target if winning the upcoming general election.
Kelly O'Shanassy, chief executive of the Australian Conservation Foundation, said that emissions rising in a country as wealthy as Australia was "embarrassing."
"This latest pollution scorecard casts extreme doubt over the government's claim that Australia will meet our 2030 emissions reduction targets 'in a canter' without strong new action," she said.
"This latest result is also flattered by falling emissions from power generation, driven by the construction of solar and wind energy under our national renewable energy target.
"The government has declared it will not replace this target after 2020, meaning Australian climate pollution is at risk of growing even further."