Between 2015 and 2019, Australia’s carbon emissions from industrial energy use grew by around 19%. Emissions intensity increased by about the same amount, suggesting that the rise in emissions was not due to increased energy demand but rather a dirtier fuel mix. Coal use increased by 27% over the period even while overall energy demand declined slightly.
Australia’s industrial emissions are ostensibly regulated through the Safeguard Mechanism. However, in reality, aggregate emissions from industrial facilities covered by the mechanism have grown since its implementation in 2016. The mechanism’s failure is in large part due to ineffective emissions baselines and the use of dubious offsets in lieu of real emissions reductions. The government has been urged to consider these and other issues in its current review of the mechanism.,
Australia’s LNG export industry, which accounts for about a quarter of the emissions covered by the Safeguard Mechanism, is particularly concerning in terms of the contribution to both domestic and global emissions reductions. While the Labor government has increased Australia’s NDC target, it is nonetheless continuing with policies that support the LNG industry and touting carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a viable means for reducing emissions., This is despite the ongoing failure of Australia’s only large-scale CCS project in operation, a facility connected to the offshore Gorgon gas field.,
The 1.5°C compatible pathways assessed here see carbon emissions from industrial energy use fall by 66-76% below 2019 levels by 2030 and reach zero between 2047-2053. This is driven by increased electrification (from a renewable-based power sector) as well as the use of hydrogen.