Australian Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen delivers first annual climate statement in 2022
The Annual climate change statement to Federal Parliament was delivered on the 1st December by Chris Bowen, the Minister for Climate change and Energy. It is the first annual statement as mandated under the Climate Act (2022).
The speech outlines the achievements of the Labor Government in the first 6 months in addressing all the issues that were neglected by the previous Liberal National Party Coalition Government.
The last 6 months has been a whirlwind of starting to implement Labor’s climate policies taken to the election. However, these policies overwhelmingly focussed on ramping up renewables and restructuring the National Electricity Market (NEM) east-coast electricity grid, with some strategies for encouraging EV transition and Fuel efficiency standards. Policies on Fossil fuel production phasout and addressing the 114 new coal and gas projects in the approvals pipeline were absent. There was also no commitment to phaseout the $11 billion in yearly tax subsidies to fossil fuel companies.
The Annual statement highlights that the ‘baseline’ scenario largely reflects already-implemented policies and shows a 32% reduction in emissions on 2005 levels by 2030.
The ‘additional measures’ scenario is based upon two major elements of the Powering Australia plan, achieving the 82% national renewable electricity target by 2030 and the Safeguard Mechanism reforms. Under this scenario, Australia is on track to reduce emissions by 40% on 2005 levels by 2030.
Other Powering Australia and the National Electric Vehicle Strategymeasures have not been included in the scenario. The Government is confident that implementation of these and other measures will result in achieving the 43% emissions reduction by 2030 target.
The Government is also reforming the Safeguard Mechanism to provide long-term clarity on emissions reduction of the top 200 major carbon polluters. The integrity of carbon credits will be critical for the Mechanism to work effectively. Up to 80% of Australian carbon credits have had their integrity questioned.
Watch the full speech (full transcript at end of post):
Climate Change Authority First Annual Progress Report
The Climate Change Authority does not provide a succinct summary of recommendations in its Executive summary, but here are some of its recommendations contained in the body of the report:
- To realise Australia’s increased ambition, we must accelerate action and address practical barriers to success. Achieving Australia’s 2030 target requires rapid deployment of the emissions reduction technologies available today. For a successful transition:
- supply chains need to deliver adequate technology and equipment supplies.
- approvals and other regulatory processes must be efficient and timely.
- skills formation programs must be in place to ensure workforce needs are met.
- private finance must be flowing to fund the net zero transition.
- Meeting Australia’s 2030 and 2050 targets means sustaining a decarbonisation rate of at least 17 Mt CO2 -e per year, on average. This a significant challenge that is getting harder as time runs out. Australia needs a big upwards shift in momentum. Since 2009, Australia has decarbonised its economy at an average annual rate of 12 Mt CO2-e per year
- Most of the emissions reduction to date have been in the electricity and land use sectors. The Safeguard Mechanism should drive emissions reductions at large industrial facilities, more attention is now required in the transport and agricultural sectors.
- Need for Planning for net zero by 2050 including bolstering extending the Government’s emissions modelling out to 2050. To meet this, there would be a benefit in the Government developing a plan for technology research, development and deployment for all sectors.
- The Authority’s Review of International Offsets recommended the Government publish a National Carbon Market Strategy, which would, amongst other things, map out Australia’s use of offsets to 2050.
- set out long-term infrastructure investment plans such as low-emissions electricity transmission systems and urban infrastructure and transport systems;
Australia’s emissions projections 2022
The Labor Government has set a 43 percent by 2030 on 2005 baseline emissions reduction target. Baseline emissions reduction scenario modelling shows Australia is on target for 30 percent emissions reduction by 2030. With some of the additional measures of the Powering Australia policy modelling shows 40 percent emissions reduction by 2030. Other policy levers may left the achievement to 43 percent reduction or more.
The IPCC recommended that we need to, on a global level, peak emissions by 2025 and reduce emissions by 43 percent by 2030.
In the scenarios we assessed, limiting warming to around 1.5°C (2.7°F) requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by 43% by 2030; at the same time, methane would also need to be reduced by about a third. Even if we do this, it is almost inevitable that we will temporarily exceed this temperature threshold but could return to below it by the end of the century. – (IPCC 4 April, 2022, The evidence is clear: the time for action is now. We can halve emissions by 2030)
Australia as a developed country , for our fair share, should really be aiming higher than 43 percent emissions reduction by 2030. The Climate Council recommended 75 percent by 2030.
The Emissions Projection report does not take into account Victoria’s new emissions reduction and renewables targets: 75-80% emissions reduction target for 2035, Net zero by 2045, New Renewables Targets VRET of 65% by 2030, 95% by 2035.
Most of the reduction in emissions to date have come from ramping up renewables and the decarbonisation of electricity, and in reduced land clearing and Land Use Land Use Change and Forestry.
Transport was 19 percent of Australia’s total emissions in 2020: The Emissions projections report highlights the issue particularly with transport emissions.
“Transport emissions are projected to increase as activity recovers following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. In 2030, transport emissions are projected to be similar to pre-pandemic levels. While EV uptake grows to 2030, the associated emission reductions are offset by the growth in uptake of larger vehicles (e.g. Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and light commercial vehicles) and from increased activity and emissions from medium and heavy duty trucks. These emission projections do not take account of potential new policies under the National Electric Vehicle Strategy.”
Fuel Efficiency standards and National Electric Vehicle Strategy will be essential to electrify transport, particularly in small vehicle and light commercial vehicles. There is no mention of the role of public transport and active transport, but in urban areas these provide important solutions to reduce transport emissions. Public and active transport infrastructure is a State function, although Federal government may assist with funding.
Without the extra measures on fuel efficiency and EV strategy and other regulatory actions, transport emissions are forecast to grow:
In 2030, transport emissions are 6 Mt or 6% higher relative to last year’s projections. The increase in projected emissions is primarily due to the use of updated emissions intensities for light duty vehicles (4 Mt), lower current sales and slower forecast uptake of EVs, other changes in the technology mix, (1 Mt) and updated freight forecasts (<1 Mt). Compared to the previous projections, cumulative emissions are projected to be higher by 30 Mt from 2021 to 2030.
Domestic aviation emissions make up about 8 percent of transport emissions, reduced during the pandemic, but with expectations to grow again.
“Emissions from domestic aviation were 8 Mt CO2-e in 2019, or 8% of total transport emissions. In 2022, emissions in this sector were 6 Mt CO2-e. As activity returns to pre-pandemic levels, emissions are projected to reach almost 9 Mt CO2-e in 2023, and then grow steadily with activity to 10 Mt CO2-e in 2035.”
For agriclture, LULUCF and Fugitive emissions it says:
“Agricultural emissions are also projected to increase to 2030 from historically low levels in 2020. This is due to projected restocking of the cattle herd as drought conditions ease. The net sink in the LULUCF sector is projected to decline in the second half of the decade primarily reflecting harvesting of plantations. Smaller increases in emissions are projected in the fugitives’ sectors as a result of gas production shifting to higher carbon dioxide basins.”
Fugitive emissions section is interesting. They are 11 percent of Australia’s total emissions in 2020, 53 Mt CO2-e, and are projected to increase to 55 Mt CO2-e in 2030, then remain relatively stable until 2035.
Coal: Fugitive emissions from coal were 31 Mt CO2-e in 2020 and accounted for 57% of all fugitive emissions of carbon dioxide and methane. The 10 largest emitting mines account for around half of total coal fugitive emissions.
Oil and Gas: Fugitive emissions from oil and gas were estimated to be 23 Mt CO2-e in 2020, representing 43% of total fugitive emissions. Emissions are projected to increase to 26 Mt CO2-e in 2030 and 27 Mt CO2-e in 2035. Fugitive emissions from natural gas intended to be consumed in Australia (domestic gas) were estimated to be 10 Mt CO2-e in 2020 and are projected to increase to 11 Mt CO2-e in 2030 and 12 Mt CO2-e in 2035.
“The projections assume new gas developments in Narrabri, Beetaloo and other unconventional gas sources in Queensland will be brought on to meet demand. Projected increases in emissions from new unconventional gas developments are somewhat offset by the commencement of Santos’ carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at Moomba, South Australia, in 2025. Once fully operational the project is expected to capture around 1.7 Mt CO2 per year.”
CCS projects are notorius for failing to live up to sequestration expectations. The Santos project is just the latest with high expectations when the reality is so often much less. Take for example Chevron’s Gorgon gas plant epic CCS fail, reported by Michael West Media. Santos’ carbon capture and storage is explicitly part of Enhanced Hydrocarbon Recovery and using this to apply for carbon creedits is a carbon accounting scam argues the Australia Institute.
LNG: Fugitive emissions at LNG facilities were estimated to be 12 Mt CO2-e in 2020. Emissions are projected to decline early in the decade before increasing to 15 Mt CO2-e in 2030 and remaining at that level in 2035.
“Fugitive emissions at LNG facilities are projected to decline over the next 2 years as the Darwin LNG facility will be offline between 2023 and 202438. The facility is assumed to return in 2025 with gas from the Barossa field, a relatively high carbon dioxide field when compared to the current gas source. As such, fugitive venting emissions are projected to increase from 2025.”
Remember how the IPCC and IEA said no new fossil fuel projects? Well Australia is going hell for leather expanding gas fields and LNG trains.
The Pluto LNG expansion is assumed to go ahead in 2025. The expansion includes the construction of a second train at the Pluto LNG onshore facility and gas sourced from the Scarborough field. Scarborough is a relatively low carbon dioxide field and so contributes a comparatively small emissions increase in 2025. In 2027, the Crux field is assumed to provide backfill to the Prelude Floating LNG project. In 2029, the Browse basin is assumed to provide backfill gas to the North West Shelf LNG facility. Both backfill sources are relatively high carbon dioxide basins and fields, contributing to projected increased venting emissions to 2030.
The emissions increase over the decade are partly offset by the CCS project at the Gorgon LNG facility. While the project has experienced technical issues since its commencement in August 2019, the projections assume that once resolved the project will capture around 3.4 Mt CO2 per year as announced.
Several companies, including Santos and Inpex, have indicated plans for CCS measures at their LNG facilities. As these plans are in the early stages of development and have not reached final investment decision, they were not included in the 2022 baseline emissions projections.
Once again we see overly optimistic reliance on carbon capture and storage in this report rather than a realistic assessment of CCS technology track record.
Industrial Processes and product use form 6 percent of Australia’s total emissions. IPPU emissions are projected to decline from 32 Mt CO2-e in 2020 to 28 Mt CO2-e and 25 Mt CO2-e in 2030 and 2035, respectively. This is largely due to projected declines in emissions from HydroFluorocarbons (HFCs). It is local legislation implementing the Montreal protocol on chemicals affecting the ozone layer which is reducing emissions.
“Product uses as substitutes for ozone depleting substances, or HFCs, is the largest source of emissions in the IPPU sector in 2020, contributing 11 Mt CO2-e or 34% of total emissions. Emissions from HFCs are projected to decline from 11 Mt CO2-e in 2020 to 7 Mt CO2-e in 2035. This is the result of the HFC phase-down implemented through the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 and associated regulations. The HFC-phase down legislates an annual import quota on bulk imports of HFCs that will reduce until 2036.”
Agriculture forms 15 percent of Australia’s total emissions in 2020.
“Agriculture emissions are projected to be 79 Mt CO2-e in 2030, 6 Mt CO2-e higher than in 2020. Emissions are expected to peak in 2023 at 81 Mt CO2-e due to the influence of the ongoing La Niña event, which is continuing to ease drought conditions across northern and eastern agricultural areas. La Niña is associated with increased rainfall and cloudiness, which usually results in above-average winter-spring rainfall across the east and north of Australia. Agriculture emissions are projected to decline 1 Mt CO2-e between 2030 and 2035 to 78 Mt CO2-e as agricultural activity is assumed to return to average seasonal conditions towards the end of the decade.”
Low emission feed supplements are expected to reduce animal methane emissions. Asparagopsis and the compound 3-NOP are expected to be introduced to grain fed beef cattle, grazing beef cattle, dairy cattle, and sheep in the coming years.
“Annual abatement from feed supplements is projected to be 0.6 Mt CO2-e in 2030 and 1.6 Mt CO2-e in 2035. This will initially have the greatest impact on grain fed cattle emissions as the supplements will be delivered most effectively in feedlots. “
Waste is 3 percent of Australia’s total emissions in 2020. “Emissions in the waste sector are projected to decline from 13 Mt CO2-e in 2020 to 11 Mt CO2-e in 2030, and further to 10 Mt CO2-e in 2035. The downward trend is primarily the result of state, territory, and federal policies to reduce the amount of solid waste deposited to landfill, and increased methane capture rates.”
Full speech transcript
- increasingly devastating
- increasingly frequent
- increasingly unnatural.