South Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions

The South Australian government has set goals to reduce South Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% below 2005 levels by 2030, and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. 

In the 2019 financial year, South Australia contributed 4.5% to Australia’s total net greenhouse gas emissions. Figure 4 below shows that South Australia had the third lowest per capita emissions (14 tonnes of CO2-e/person) compared to other states and territories. This is lower than the national average of 21 tonnes of CO2-e/person.

Progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions

South Australia is making good progress towards its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. In the 2019 financial year, South Australia emitted 24 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2-e). This represents a 33% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the 2005 financial year.

South Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory

The following greenhouse gas emissions information is provided by the Commonwealth Government, which develops greenhouse gas inventories for all states and territories based on emission estimates in the National Inventory Report submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) each year.

Sources of greenhouse gas emissions include the following:

  • Transport
  • Agriculture
  • Energy Industries
  • Other energy
  • Industrial processes
  • Fugitives
  • Waste
  • Land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF)

Figure 1 below shows the contribution of each emission source to total net greenhouse gas emissions for South Australia in the 2019 financial year. Transport was the highest emitting source, with 28% of total net emissions. LULUCF includes both emissions sources and sinks (i.e. sequestration of carbon) and when combined provide a net figure.

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Figure 1: South Australia's greenhouse gas emissions in the 2019 financial year. Source: Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Figure 2 below shows the change in greenhouse gas emissions in South Australia from each source from financial years 2005 to 2019, and the overall net emissions trend over this period.

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Figure 2: South Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions from all sources from financial years 2005 to 2019. Source: Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Another way of presenting greenhouse gas emissions for South Australia is to breakdown emissions by key economic sector (Figure 3). This information is derived from the greenhouse gas information provided by the Commonwealth Government:

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Figure 3: South Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions in the 2019 financial year, by key economic sector. Source: Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Figure 4 shows a state by state comparison for greenhouse gas emissions per capita.

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Figure 4: Greenhouse gas emissions per capita comparison for all states and territories. Source: Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources and Australian Bureau of Statistics 3101.0 - Australian Demographic Statistics, June 2019.

South Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions reporting

Under Section 7 of the Climate Change and Greenhouse Emissions Reduction Act 2007 the Minister for Environment and Water prepares progress reports on the operation of the Act including information on South Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.