1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Net greenhouse gas emissions(a)
Graph Image for Net greenhouse gas emissions(a)

Footnote(s): (a) Excluding emissions from the land use, land use change and forestry sector.

Source(s): Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 2010, National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, May 2010


Australia's net greenhouse gas emissions (excluding the land use, land use change and forestry sector) in 2008 totalled 549.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent gas (Endnote 1). This was an increase of 31% over 1990 emissions (418.4 million tonnes).

Over the 10 year period to 2008, Australia's emissions have increased by 16% from 473.0 million tonnes.

The most commonly occurring greenhouse gas, based on millions of tonnes of CO2-e, is carbon dioxide which comprised about three-quarters (73%) of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions in 2008. Methane accounted for a further 21%, nitrous oxide 5% and the remaining 1% was a combination of hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride in 2008 (DCCEE 2010b).

The measurement of net greenhouse gas emissions changed in 2008 due to the Kyoto Protocol accounting rules for the Land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector changing between the 1990 base year and the commitment period (2008-2012). Due to this change in definition, and for consistency over time, the time series presented here is net greenhouse gas emissions excluding the LULUCF sector.


  1. Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) provides the basis for comparing the warming effect of different greenhouse gases. Different greenhouse gases have different effects and remain in the atmosphere for different periods of time. A tonne of methane, for example, contributes as much to global warming as 21 tonnes of carbon dioxide and thus has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 21, compared to carbon dioxide's GWP of 1. Each gas has a GWP so that each can be converted to a common CO2 equivalent (CO2-e). This enables emissions of different greenhouse gases to be compared by converting them to carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2-e).


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