1 Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts (AEEA) contains accounts for key environmental themes. The style of the AEEA differs from earlier ABS publications that applied environmental accounts to particular environmental issues, like green growth, sustainability and climate change adaptation. This issue-based approach was used in Completing the Picture - Environmental Accounting in Practice (cat. no. 4628.0.55.001) and Information Paper: Towards the Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts (cat. no. 4655.0.55.002). In contrast the AEEA is data focused, with minimal interpretation or analysis.
2 In the 2018 AEEA, detailed accounts are provided for environmental assets, water, energy products, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and environmental taxes. Throughout the publication, tables and data are presented to emphasise socioeconomic aspects of environmental themes either as drivers of environmental pressures, or as part of the policy response to these pressures. The publication highlights the capacity of environmental accounts to support analyses across various environmental themes and also between environmental and economic themes. For a full list of the statistics contained in this publication please see the list of tables in the contents page of the data cube. Where available, a time series of information has been provided for each of the environmental themes. As the ABS has developed its environmental accounting program incrementally, the different accounts have time series of varying lengths. A summary of work undertaken by the ABS in the area of environmental accounting is provided below. Information about the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) Central Framework, which provides the conceptual framework of the AEEA, also appears below. References are also made to related ABS environmental accounts publications for further guidance on data sources, concepts and estimation methodologies. Please see the Glossary for brief definitions and descriptions of terms used in the AEEA.
SYSTEM OF ENVIRONMENTAL-ECONOMIC ACCOUNTING
3 The AEEA is based on the SEEA Central Framework. The SEEA Central Framework is a conceptual framework designed to support understanding and measurement of the interactions between the economy and the environment, and the stocks and changes in stocks of environmental assets. The SEEA Central Framework was adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission as an international statistical standard in 2012.
4 The SEEA Central Framework uses a systems approach to organise environmental and economic information, covering, as completely as possible, the stocks and flows that are relevant to the analysis of environmental and economic issues. In using this approach, the SEEA Central Framework applies the accounting concepts, structures, rules and principles of the System of National Accounts (SNA). In practice, environmental-economic accounting includes the compilation of physical supply and use tables, functional accounts (such as environmental taxation accounts and environmental expenditure accounts), and asset accounts for natural resources.
5 The integration of information concerning the economy and the environment is an interdisciplinary exercise. The SEEA Central Framework brings together, within one measurement system, information on water, minerals, energy, timber, fish, soil, land and ecosystems, pollution and waste, production, consumption and accumulation. Each of these areas has specific and detailed measurement approaches that are integrated in the SEEA Central Framework to provide a comprehensive view.
6 The SEEA Central Framework provides a foundation for related topic and theme specific statistical publications. A SEEA module related to water (‘SEEA-Water’) has been in operation since 2007, and a module related to agriculture, forestry and fisheries ('SEEA-AFF') has been endorsed by the United Nations as an Internationally Agreed Methodological Document in support of the SEEA Central Framework. A further SEEA module related to energy is currently under development.
7 The SEEA Central Framework is accompanied by two additional parts: SEEA Experimental Ecosystem Accounting, and SEEA Extensions and Applications. SEEA Experimental Ecosystem Accounting provides the basis for the development of ecosystem accounting at the national and sub-national levels. SEEA Extensions and Applications presents various monitoring and analytical approaches that could be adopted using SEEA-based information.
ENVIRONMENTAL ACCOUNTING IN THE ABS
8 The ABS first published environmental accounts in 1995, beginning with monetary estimates for a number of environmental assets within scope of the SNA asset boundary. In particular, estimates for subsoil assets (footnote 1), and forests and land were developed within the ABS national accounts program and these are now an established feature of the national balance sheet within the Australian System of National Accounts (cat. no. 5204.0). Also during the 1990s the ABS commenced a program of environmental accounts development within its environmental statistics area and this program continues to drive the development of these accounts within the ABS - often in partnership with other agencies.
9 Estimates of the value of some environmental assets are included in the Australian System of National Accounts (cat. no. 5204.0) in inventories (e.g. plantation forests) and non-produced assets (e.g. land, minerals, timber in native forests), and are produced according to the SNA. The definition, classification, scope and valuation of environmental assets contained in AEEA is defined by the SEEA Central Framework. The SEEA Central framework uses the term environmental assets, which in other contexts is referred to as natural capital.
10 SEEA defines environmental assets as being "the naturally occurring living and non-living components of the Earth, together comprising the bio-physical environment that may provide benefits to humanity". Within the SEEA, assets are measured in both physical and monetary terms, whereas the SNA relates only to monetary information.
11 The notion of environmental assets used in this publication is consistent with the SEEA definition and has the potential to include:
- Mineral and energy resources
- Oil resources
- Natural gas resources
- Coal and peat resources
- Non-metallic mineral resources (excluding coal and peat resources)
- Metallic mineral resources.
- Soil resources
- Timber resources
- Cultivated timber resources
- Natural timber resources.
- Aquatic resources
- Cultivated aquatic resources
- Natural aquatic resources.
- Other biological resources (excluding timber resources and aquatic resources)
- Water resources
- Surface water
- Soil water.
Monetary valuation of environmental assets is applied only to those assets meeting the SNA definition of an asset. SNA defines an asset as "a store of value representing a benefit or a series of benefits accruing to the economic owner by holding or using the entity over a period of time. It is a means of carrying forward value from one accounting period to another". The SNA and the SEEA Central Framework support consistent monetary valuation of environmental assets.
In practice, the environmental assets included in the AEEA are land, mineral and energy assets and timber. Research is currently underway to extend the range of environmental assets for which monetary estimates can be generated (e.g. for water).
For estimates of mineral and energy assets, the ABS has adopted Australia’s National Classification System for Mineral Resources (Geoscience Australia) to assign physical and monetary stocks based on Economic Demonstrated Resources data.
Economic Demonstrated Resources are resources judged to be economically extractable and for which the quantity and quality are computed partly from specific measurements, and partly from extrapolation for a reasonable physical distance on geological evidence. ABS mineral and energy asset stocks align with Australia’s National Classification System for Mineral Resources.
The physical asset account contained within the AEEA includes the following assets:
- Subsoil - Energy
- Natural Gas
- Crude oil
- Liquid Petroleum Gas
- Black Coal
- Brown Coal
- Subsoil - Mineral
- Iron Ore
- Rare earths
Monetary asset accounts contained within the AEEA include estimates for:
Further information on environmental assets
- Subsoil - Energy
- Natural gas
- Crude oil
- Black coal
- Brown coal
- Subsoil - Mineral
- Copper, Gold and Antimony
- Iron ore
- Lead, Zinc, Silver and Cadmium
- Nickel, Platinum and Cobalt
- Mineral sands – Ilmenite, Rutile, Zircon
- Other minerals
- Native Standing
Further information on data sources, concepts, and methods underpinning monetary and physical estimates of environmental assets can be found in Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods
(cat. no. 5216.0).
19 The Water Account, Australia, 2015-16
(cat. no. 4610.0) was developed using the SEEA Central Framework and SEEA-Water. Water supply and use tables provide a framework to link core components of the national accounts to physical information. Physical data are presented in supply and use tables, while linkages to economic data are also made.
Physical supply and use of water
The physical supply and use of water tables measure in physical terms (megalitres) the supply and use of all water within the Australian economy. The tables relate to freshwater and include the following categories of water: self-extracted, distributed, in-stream use and reuse.
The water tables include the following socioeconomic units:
- individuals and companies that directly extract water from surface water and groundwater sources for their own use (e.g. domestic, industrial, agricultural or other uses);
- households, government and businesses that use water supplied by water providers for domestic, industrial, agricultural or other uses;
- water providers that extract water from surface water, groundwater and sea water for desalination, and supply it to customers for use (e.g. domestic, industrial, or other use). The majority of water providers are in the water supply, sewerage and drainage services industry (ANZSIC 281) but the mining, manufacturing, and electricity and gas supply industries also supply a small amount of water; and
- water providers that provide reuse water to their customers; other large organisations who treat water and make it available for subsequent reuse; other large organisations who discharge water directly to the environment (e.g. power stations, mines); and major in-stream water users, for example aquaculture and hydro-electricity generation, where this information is available.
Items not covered by the water tables include:
Water consumption and water use
- the volume of rainwater used by agricultural crops/pastures that are directly rain fed;
- discharges to the environment resulting from the run-off of irrigation water;
- the reuse/recycling of water on-farm or on-site (i.e. within homes or businesses);
- household water consumption from rainwater tanks (for households connected to mains supply);
- non-point/diffuse discharges; and
- the impact of storm water infiltration into the sewerage reticulation system.
Water consumption is that part of water use not distributed to other economic units and not returning to the environment (to water resources, sea or ocean) because during use it has been incorporated into products, evaporated, transpired or otherwise consumed by households or businesses. The following accounting identities have been used:
- Total water use is equal to the sum of distributed water use, self-extracted water use and reuse water use; and
- Water consumption is equal to the sum of distributed water use, self-extracted water use and reuse water use less water supplied to other users and less in-stream use. The use of distributed water by the environment is not included in total water consumption.
For most industries, water use and water consumption are the same, as most industries do not have in-stream use, nor do they typically supply water to other users. However, water consumption and use will vary considerably for some industries, especially the water supply, sewerage and drainage services industry, electricity and gas supply industry and mining industry, where in-stream water use and water supply volumes are significant.
Monetary supply and use of water
The monetary supply and use of water tables measure in monetary terms the supply and use of water within the Australian economy. Estimates are also provided for the supply and use of sewerage, waste water and drainage services (also referred to as water related services).
Monetary aggregates are provided for:
- supply of distributed water and water related services in the economy by the water supply, sewerage and drainage services, mining, manufacturing, and electricity and gas supply industries; and
- expenditure on water and water related services by industries, households and governments.
The scope of monetary estimates is limited to distributed water, reuse water and waste water, sewerage and drainage services. No estimates are made of the value of self-extracted water. Further, the scope is limited to 'net distributed water', which is defined as water that has been supplied from one economic unit to another for a fee, creating a measurable economic transaction. Net distributed water excludes distribution losses and supply to the environment for which there is no matching economic transaction.
Water intensity indicators
Per Capita vs Per Household Consumption
Per capita calculations are based on total water consumption for Australia divided by the population. Doing so allows the intensity of water resource use as a factor of our population to be estimated.
Per household calculations are based on water consumption by Australian households divided by the number of households in Australia. This figure highlights the water consumption patterns of households.
Gross value of irrigated agricultural production
Gross value of irrigated agricultural production (GVIAP) relates to the gross value of agricultural commodities produced with the assistance of irrigation. The gross value of commodities produced is the value placed on recorded production using wholesale prices as realised in the marketplace. This definition of GVIAP does not refer to the value that irrigation adds to production, or the 'net effect' that irrigation has on production.
Further information on water
For a detailed discussion of concepts, data sources and methods used in the water tables and of the methods used for calculating water supply and use (both physical and monetary), please refer to the explanatory notes of the Water Account, Australia, 2015-16
(cat. no. 4610.0). Similarly, a more detailed discussion of concepts, sources and methods used in the compilation of GVIAP can be found in the explanatory notes of Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production, 2015-16
(cat. no. 4610.0.55.008).
32 Energy Account, Australia 2015-16
(cat. no. 4604.0) uses the SEEA as the basis for its conceptual framework.
Supply and use of energy
Energy tables in the AEEA record the physical supply and use of energy products within the Australian economy. Supply of energy includes both direct extraction of energy products (including renewables) and imports of energy products. The use of energy products relates to use by Australian industry, households and governments - including inventory changes and energy products used by non-residents (exports). The monetary supply and use of energy tables record monetary values for those flows where market (or near-market) transactions occur.
All energy accounts in the AEEA are compiled on a residence basis and therefore the national boundary relates to the activities of Australian resident units.
Energy flow accounts have generally been presented on a ‘net’ basis in this publication. Net measures of energy consider conversion losses associated with transforming one form of energy into another form. In this way, estimates for total net energy use avoid double-counting the amount of converted primary energy.
The net use of energy table records the different energy products consumed for final purposes (final use of energy plus energy losses due to conversions) and supplied to the rest of the world (exports), along with inventory changes. The main accounting identity underlying the net flow accounts for energy is:
|Supply (imports + direct extraction) = Use (exports + final use of energy + energy losses due to conversions + inventory changes)|
This accounting identity is valid only for the sum of all energy products in the economy and not for individual energy products. This is because the net supply table balances all energy use, whereas supply of an individual product will generally not equal use of that product due to losses and transformations.
Data contained in the net supply and use tables are used to compile time series of energy intensity. In concept, net supply and use of energy products most closely matches measures of monetary supply and use of energy products.
The energy supply and use tables include the following energy products (though not all products are separately identifiable):
- Black coal
- Brown coal
- Coal by-products (including blast furnace gas, coal tar, benzene/toluene/xylene feedstock and coke oven gas)
- Brown coal briquettes
- Metallurgical coke
- Natural gas (includes coal seam gas)
- Crude oil and feedstocks (including refinery feedstock, ethane and other petrochemical feedstocks)
- Propane, butane, LPG
- Other refined products (including aviation turbine fuel, aviation gasoline, kerosene, heating oil, and fuel oil)
- Biofuels (including ethanol, biodiesel, landfill and sludge biogas, and other biofuels)
- Wood and wood waste
- Solar electricity
- Wind electricity
- Other (i.e. that are generated from fossil fuels)
- Solar hot water
The industry classification used in the presentation of supply and use of energy follows the 2006 edition of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006
(cat. no. 1292.0). The following industry breakdown is used in the energy tables of the AEEA:
Energy assets, in petajoules
- Agriculture, forestry and fishing
- Electricity, gas, water supply and waste services
- Other industries
Energy assets are measured in petajoules (PJ) and utilise the same scope as used for monetary valuation of energy assets in the AEEA, that is, EDR as defined in Australia's National Classification System for Mineral Resources
(Geoscience Australia). The AEEA estimates of energy assets are generated by Geoscience Australia.
Estimates of energy content is provided for the following assets:
Energy intensity indicators
Per Capita vs Per Household Consumption
- Black Coal
- Brown Coal
- Crude oil
- Liquefied Petroleum Gas
- Natural gas (excludes shale gas and includes Coal Seam Gas for 2008-09 and 2009-10 only)
Per capita calculations are based on total energy consumption for Australia divided by the population. Doing so allows the intensity of water resource use as a factor of our population to be estimated. This differs from the method used in the Energy Account, which seeks to determine how much energy an individual consumes as opposed to an individual’s share of all energy consumption across Australia.
Per household calculations are based on energy consumption by Australian households divided by the number of households in Australia. This figure highlights the energy consumption patterns of households.
Further information on energy
For a detailed discussion of sources and methods used in the energy tables, including energy assets measured in petajoules, please refer to the explanatory notes of Energy Account, Australia, 2015-16
(cat. no. 4604.0).
Detailed waste related tables have been removed from 2018 AEEA publication due to the unavailability of current and up-todate information. However, total Australian waste generated (excluding fly ash) figures have been included in Table 1.1 (up to 2014-15) and have been sourced from the Department of the Environment and Energy, National Waste Report 2016.
Waste intensity indicators:
Per capita calculations are based on total waste generation for Australia divided by the population. Doing so allows the intensity of waste production as a factor of our population to be estimated.
GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
Estimates of direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contained in this publication are presented according to SEEA guidelines. In particular, the SEEA recommends converting the territory-based GHG emissions inventories produced according to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) guidelines onto a residence basis. When following the residence principle, the geographic boundary of a country is determined by the activities of economic units resident in that country.
The scope of GHG emissions included in this publication includes all emissions under the UNFCCC, and as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These include energy sectors (including stationary energy and transport); industrial processes; solvent and other product use; agriculture; waste; and land use, land use change and forestry.
The primary data source for estimates of inventories of GHG emissions by industry and households in Australia is the Department of the Environment and Energy's Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System. The notion of 'economic sector' used within this system is consistent with the ANZSIC industry classification.
Department of the Environment and Energy produces its Australian National Greenhouse Accounts
according to the UNFCCC. GHG Emissions compiled on this basis are recorded using the territory principle. When using the territory principle, GHG emissions occurring within the geographic boundary of a country are attributed to that country.
The adjustments required to convert the presentation of data onto a SEEA (residence) basis relate to emissions attributed to travellers while abroad, and international bunkering (related to international transport, principally shipping and aircraft).
Within the AEEA, direct GHG emissions estimates relate to the following gases:
- carbon dioxide
- nitrous dioxide
- synthetic gases (HFCs, SF6, CF4, C2F6).
Direct GHG emissions figures relate to the following industries and to households:
- Agriculture, forestry and fishing
- Electricity, gas, water and waste services
- Commercial and services.
Direct emissions are produced from sources within the boundary of an organisation and as a result of that organisation’s activities. These emissions mainly arise from the following activities:
GHG intensity indicators
Per Capita vs Per Household Consumption:
- generation of energy, heat, steam and electricity, including carbon dioxide and products of incomplete combustion (methane and nitrous oxide)
- manufacturing processes which produce emissions (for example, cement, aluminium and ammonia production)
- transportation of materials, products, waste and people; for example, use of vehicles owned and operated by the reporting organisation
- fugitive emissions: intentional or unintentional GHG releases (such as methane emissions from coal mines, natural gas leaks from joints and seals)
- on-site waste management, such as emissions from landfill sites.
Per capita calculations are based on total Greenhouse Gas Emission (GHG) generation for Australia divided by the population. Doing so allows the intensity of GHG production as a factor of our population to be estimated.
Per household calculations are based on GHG generation by Australian households divided by the number of households in Australia. This figure highlights the GHG generation patterns of households
In order to represent GHG emissions information on a SEEA basis, two adjustments to UNFCCC-based data are made:
- an adjustment related to international travellers abroad based on information from the Tourism Satellite Account (footnote 2). Direct emissions related to road transport activities by residents abroad are added to Australian inventories, while emissions related to non-residents within the Australian territory are subtracted; and
- an adjustment related to international bunkering for fuel used by international transport operators (primarily marine and aviation). This adjustment involves the addition to inventories of relevant GHG emissions produced by resident operators.
SEEA defines environmental taxes as "a tax whose tax base is a physical unit (or proxy of it) of something that has a proven, specific, negative impact on the environment", thereby increasing the price on activities and products that are harmful to the environment. SEEA categorises environmental taxes in four broad categories: energy, transport, pollution and resource taxes.
Environmental taxes include taxes on production and imports, capital taxes and current taxes on income and wealth. Environmental taxes will change over time as new taxes are introduced, such as the introduction and removal of the Carbon Pricing Mechanism (an energy tax) and the Mineral Resource Rent Tax (a resource tax).
The estimates of environmental taxes contained in the AEEA are presented by type of tax, and totals by paying industry and households. Estimates of environmental taxes contained in this publication relate to the following types of taxes:
- Crude oil and LPG
- Ozone protection and Synthetic GHG
- Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
- Carbon Pricing Mechanism
- State based energy schemes
- Transport taxes
- Stamp duty on vehicle registration
- Luxury car tax
- Passenger vehicle import duty
- Other motor vehicle taxes
- Pollution Taxes
- Resource Taxes
- Mineral resource rent tax
The methodology to estimate the ANZSIC industry breakdown has changed since the last publication. These changes have been applied to the time-series in this publication, (2003-04 to 2015-16).
Environmental taxes have been applied to households, and the following industries:
Further information on environmental taxes
- Agriculture, fisheries and forestry
- Electricity, gas, water and waste services
- Other industries.
Estimates of environmental taxes contained in the AEEA follow the concepts, sources and methods set out in Discussion Paper: Environmental taxes in Australia - Experimental new statistics, 2000-2011
(cat. no. 4629.0.55.001).
RELATED ENVIRONMENTAL ACCOUNTS PUBLICATIONS
Related ABS publications which may also be of interest include:
- Information Paper: Towards the Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts, 2013 (cat. no. 4655.0.55.002) - This information paper uses a theme-based presentation to showcase the range of ABS environmental accounts. It provides a depth of commentary to explain environmental accounts and to describe their potential to inform environmental policy decisions. It was a prelude to the initial release of the annual Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts publication.
- Completing the Picture - Environmental Accounting in Practice, May 2012 (cat. no. 4628.0.55.001) - This publication was released on 10 May 2012. It examines a number of complex issues facing policy makers in Australia, such as climate change and natural resource management, and illustrates how environmental accounts can be used to further improve the decision-making process. It also includes a range of accounts, based on the SEEA, that highlight the various interactions between the environment and economy.
- Water Account, Australia 2015-16 (cat. no. 4610.0) -The 2015-16 edition of Water Account, Australia was released on 23 November 2017. This publication presents information on the supply and use of water in the Australian economy in 2014-15 in both physical (i.e. volumetric) and monetary terms. The focus of the Water Account is on the interactions between users within the economy and the environment.
- Energy Account, Australia 2015-16 (cat. no. 4604.0) - The 2015-16 edition of Energy Account, Australia was released on 23 February 2018. This publication presents information on energy intensity and on the supply and use of energy in the Australian economy for 2015-16 in both physical (i.e. joules) and monetary terms.
- Waste Account, Australia, 2010-11 (cat. no. 4602.0.55.006) - The 2014 edition of Waste Account, Australia was released on 1 May 2014 and includes information on waste in the Australian economy for the period 2010-11. It provides tables showing data on the generation and disposal of waste to landfills or to recycling facilities, the supply of recycled materials in the economy and related financial flows.
- Discussion Paper: Environmental taxes In Australia - Experimental new statistics, 2000-2011 (cat. no. 4629.0.55.001) - The discussion paper, released on 13 December 2012, provides information on environmental taxes in Australia.
- Discussion Paper: Towards an Environmental Expenditure Account, Australia, August 2014 (cat. no. 4603.0.55.001) - This discussion paper builds on existing work in this area and responds to the growing demand for environmental expenditure information identified within environmental domains. The tables contained in the discussion paper are based on the (SEEA) Central Framework for expenditure on environmental protection and natural resource management. This paper explores the compilation of selected environmental protection and natural resource management transactions for Australia.
- Land Account: South Australia, Experimental Estimates, 2006 - 2011 (cat. no. 4609.4.55.001) - This publication was released on 27 August 2015. It provides data in the form of statistical tables as well as spatially based information. It contains the first ABS release of land data in a grid format. The publication presents data for eight Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions in South Australia. Data on land use, land cover and land value are presented for 2006 and 2011, along with information on changes between these periods.
- Gross Value Of Irrigated Agricultural Production, 2015-16 (cat. no. 4610.0.55.008) - The 2015-16 edition of Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production was released on 11 November 2017. This publication presents information on Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production (GVIAP), by type of agricultural product, for Australia, the States and Territories and the Murray-Darling Basin, as well as by Natural Resource Management (NRM) area. Estimates of Gross Value of Agricultural Production are also provided.
Related non-ABS publications which may also be of interest include:
- Bureau Of Meteorology, National Water Account - The National Water Account is produced annually by the Bureau of Meteorology. It provides a picture of water resources management for the previous financial year for nine nationally significant water regions: Adelaide, Canberra, Daly, Melbourne, Murray-Darling Basin, Ord, Perth, South East Queensland and Sydney. It includes information about water stores and flows, water rights and water use, as well as reporting on volumes of water traded, extracted and managed for economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits.
- Department Of The Environment And Energy, Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System (AGEIS) - National Inventory By Economic Sector - The Department of the Environment and Energy maintains the Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System (AGEIS). This system provides annual information on national greenhouse gas emissions on a Kyoto accounting (territory) basis, disaggregated by ANZSIC industry.
1 SNA’s 'subsoil assets' fall within the SEEA category of 'mineral and energy resources' <back
2 Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account
(cat. no. 5249.0) <back