Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by sector: how do they compare?


Australia's economy is divided into sectors. Sectors group together a wide range of businesses and activities that have shared characteristics. These sectors are defined for the purposes of greenhouse gas inventories.

Here is an explanation of each sector.

Electricity

The electricity sector refers to the segment of the economy involved in the generation, transmission, distribution, and retailing of electricity. It is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, primarily due to the reliance on coal-fired power plants.

Stationary Energy

Burning fuel fuel for energy in settings other than transport - hence the word 'stationary'. The fuels include gas and coal. Settings include power plants and buildings.

Fugitive emissions

These are released during gas, oil and coal production. When these fossil fuels are extracted and produced, greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. This either happens via deliberate releases (aka venting) or innumerable leaks in equipment. 

Industrial processes

These are released from chemical, metal and mineral production, as well as fridges and air-conditioners.

Transport

Includes all road transport, aviation, shipping (often referred to as navigation). 

Agriculture

This includes activities related to farming, livestock raising. It is a notable contributor to the country's greenhouse gas emissions, mainly through methane from livestock, nitrous oxide from fertilised soils, and carbon dioxide from land use changes. 

Waste

The waste sector involves the collection, treatment, and disposal of solid and liquid waste. It contributes to greenhouse gas emissions through the decomposition of organic waste in landfills, which releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Most waste emissions are methane. DCCEEW says annual trends are heavily influenced by rates of methane recovery at landfills. 

Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) 

This is a "greenhouse gas inventory sector that covers emissions and removals of greenhouse gases resulting from direct human-induced land use such as settlements and commercial uses, land-use change, and forestry activities."

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