Fossil fuels emissions rise threatens climate, Labor’s targets


The Australian Greens say emissions data released today showing a 2.1% rise in oil and gas emissions over the year to March 2023, together with a long-term increase in Australia’s emissions from coal and gas, show that Labor cannot meet even its weak climate targets if it keeps approving new coal and gas mines.

In fact, on the numbers in this report, initial calculations based on the decline rate between 2005 and 2023 show Labor’s weak 43% by 2030 target won’t be reached until 2037, and Australia won’t hit net zero until 2080. 

Even if Labor’s 43% emissions reduction target was reached, it is consistent with a global temperature rise of over 2C, in breach of our Paris Target commitments. 

As the country recovers from the pandemic, and transport and agriculture emissions return to closer to previous levels, the emissions report shows that the switch to renewable electricity is not enough by itself to cut emissions as quickly as needed to avoid climate collapse.

With this emissions data also expected to underreport fugitive methane emissions from coal and gas, potentially by up to 60% as suggested by the International Energy Agency, it’s likely that it fails to capture the true scope of emissions.

The Greens secured important changes to the safeguard mechanism, including a pollution trigger, that can restrict pollution from coal, oil and gas projects, but Labor has to step in and use those powers. 

Lines attributable to Greens Leader, Adam Bandt MP:

“The numbers show Australia won’t meet climate targets if Labor opens new coal and gas mines,” Mr Bandt said. 

“Labor must pull the pollution trigger in the Safeguard legislation and stop new coal and gas projects. 

“The world is on fire, but Labor’s not acting like it. At this rate, because of coal and gas, Labor won’t hit net zero until 2080, by which time it will be too late. 

“Coal and gas are keeping climate pollution high when it should be falling rapidly.

“Climate pollution is going up under Labor, and unless Labor stops new coal and gas projects, these numbers will get a lot worse.

“People are putting solar on their roofs and driving down electricity emissions, but Labor’s big coal and gas projects undo all that good work.

“The Treasurer spent yesterday warning of the devastating cost of climate inaction on future generations, but under Labor emissions are increasing and global heating is getting worse.”