Covid sent Australia’s carbon emissions plummeting in 2020 to lowest levels in 30 years

An aerial photograph of a road with only two cars driving on it.
31 May 2021

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped last year to levels not seen in more than 30 years due mostly to the coronavirus pandemic that put a handbrake on fossil fuel burning in the transport sector and slowed economic activity.

New government data released Monday shows sectors where emissions fell sharply in 2020 due to factors beyond the government’s control – the global pandemic and the end of a sharp drought – were starting to rebound.

In the final quarter of 2020, transport emissions – which includes road and rail movement as well as domestic air travel – rose by 11% on the previous three months, reflecting the easing of lockdown restrictions and increases in domestic air travel.

Increasing levels of solar and wind energy was continuing to push out coal in the electricity sector that accounts for a third of the country’s emissions.

Emissions in this sector have dropped 21% since 2009. A milder December meant people had used less power for cooling than usual, helping cut emissions further.

Read the full article on the Guardian Australia website, Honorary Assoc. Prof Hugh Saddler