Greenhouse gas measurement

Australia’s National Greenhouse Accounts are made up of a series of comprehensive reports and databases that estimate, and account for, Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. These publications fulfil Australia’s international and domestic reporting requirements.

The National Greenhouse Accounts are supported by company emissions measurement rules, legislated under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Measurement) Determination. These reporting rules are reviewed annually.

The Department also releases official projections of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions annually. These projections forecast a range of policy environments and scenarios.

Tracking Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions

The Department publishes Australia’s National Greenhouse Accounts, which track national emissions from 1990 onwards. Australia's greenhouse gas emissions are estimated as a nation, by state and by industry.

This data is used to:

  • meet Australia's reporting commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC);
  • track progress against Australia's target under the Kyoto Protocol; and
  • inform policy makers and the public.

International reporting rules

The national inventory is prepared according to the framework of rules supporting the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. All parties to these agreements must use the UNFCCC Reporting Guidelines on Annual Inventories and the supplementary reporting requirements under the Kyoto Protocol to prepare their national inventories. These guidelines establish standardised reporting formats and require detailed information on all aspects of each party’s national inventory system, including measurement systems, data collection systems, estimation methodologies, reporting and data management.

The Australian Government’s Initial Report under the Kyoto Protocol was submitted by the Australian Government to the secretariat of the UNFCCC. This report facilitates the calculation of the assigned amount pursuant to Article 3, paragraphs 7 and 8 of the Kyoto Protocol, and to demonstrate its capacity to account for its emissions and assigned amount for the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol.

To ensure consistency and comparability between the inventories of different countries, emissions must be estimated using the methods described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Currently emission estimates are compiled in accordance with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (IPCC 1997); IPCC Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (IPCC 2000); and the Good Practice Guidance on Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (IPCC 2003). Parties may also use country-specific methodologies where these are consistent with the IPCC guidelines and improve the accuracy of emissions estimates. Australia predominantly uses country-specific methodologies and emissions factors, described in detail in the National Inventory Report.

Kyoto Protocol carry-over rules

The Australian National Registry of Emissions Units Amendment (Carry-Over) Regulation 2015 (Carry-Over Amendment Regulation) makes amendments to the Australian National Registry of Emissions Units Regulations 2011 to implement the Kyoto Protocol ‘carry-over’ rules.

The Department invited submissions on the Carry-Over Amendment Regulation between 20 July and 10 August 2015. The Carry-Over Amendment Regulation was made on 15 October 2015. The legislation and explanatory statement are available on the ComLaw website.

Company emissions measurement

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) Scheme

The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) Scheme was introduced in 2007 to provide data and accounting in relation to greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption and production.

Australia’s emissions projections

Australia releases official projections of its greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Comparative emissions

Information on Australia’s emissions compared with the United States and China is available for illustrative purposes.