Fact Check: Australia’s Emissions Performance

06.05.22 By
This article is more than one year old

This fact check assesses claims about Australia’s emissions performance. These include claims made in the Federal Government’s $31 million taxpayer-funded ‘Making Positive Energy’ pre-election media blitz across print, radio, television and online. Similar claims have also been made in taxpayer-funded promotional material sent by Liberal MPs to residents in their electorates.

What’s actually going on with the Morrison Government’s plan to reach net zero emissions? 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has misleadingly claimed that Australia’s emissions have fallen more than those of Canada, New Zealand, the US and Japan since 2005. This is not true. 

The data used to justify this statement is from a year in which there were incredibly high rates of land clearing in Australia. This means the data in the base year is abnormally high and therefore becomes a flattering metric when compared against future years. The best way to understand and compare emissions data is to remove land clearing metrics from every country and then compare using the same start and end dates.  

When this is done, we can clearly see Australia has actually increased its overall emissions and compares poorly to all other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 

Find out exactly what net zero emissions means. 

For a detailed overview of the Federal Government’s approach to climate change since the election of the Liberal-National Coalition in 2013, see our recent report The Lost Years: Counting the costs of climate inaction in Australia. 

Climate change is accelerating with devastating consequences. The ecological systems that have sustained human life and societies for generations are being severely damaged by increasing heat and worsening extreme weather. We must do everything possible to deeply and rapidly cut our emissions, while also preparing for climate impacts that can no longer be avoided.

The Climate Council is calling on all parties and candidates to explain to the public how, in the next term of the Federal Parliament, they plan to get national emissions plummeting by rapidly scaling up readily available renewable energy and building an economy that is free from fossil fuels. Find out exactly what good climate policy looks like.