Greenhouse emissions increase for third year running

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Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions increased for the third consecutive year in 2016-17, according to new Department of Environment and Energy figures.

Emissions grew by 0.7 per cent last financial year following an 0.8 per cent increase during the 2015/16 financial year, with a warning Australia was not on track to meet its 2030 emissions reduction target.

However, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the latest data showed the government expected to “close the gap on the 2030 target” despite the annual increase in gas emissions.

“Australia beat its first Kyoto Protocol target by 128 million tonnes of emissions, and updated data released by the Department of Environment and Energy shows Australia’s emissions are now at their lowest level in 28 years on a per capita and GDP basis,” Mr Frydenberg said.

Mr Frydenberg said the report showed the federal government had the right policies to meet climate change targets while securing reliable and affordable power supply.

He said the emissions reduction fund was now one of the world’s largest domestic carbon offset markets, with more than 191 million tonnes of abatement secured with an average of price of $11.90 per tonne.

Climate Council chief executive Amanda Mackenzie told ABC News the latest figures showed Australia risked becoming “the global climate laggard”.

“The consequences of worsening climate change have already been seen across Australia in 2017 alone, in the form of intensifying extreme weather events including supercharged storms, heatwaves and bushfires, along with the repeated bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Mackenzie said.

“By failing to tackle climate change and getting Australia’s pollution under control, the government is accepting dramatic changes to our climate that will have grave consequences.”