Where Victoria's emissions come from
The main source of Victoria’s emissions is burning fossil fuels – like coal, oil, and gas – for energy and transport. In 2020, the energy sector accounted for 98% of Victoria’s emissions.1 This included electricity generation (50%), transport (25%), fuel combustion (21%), and fugitive emissions from fuels (2%). Other sectors contributing to Victoria’s emissions were agriculture (19%), industrial processes and product use (IPPU, 4%), and waste (3%).2
Victoria’s forests and natural systems absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) as trees grow and release greenhouse gases when trees are removed. In 2020, the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector absorbed significantly more carbon dioxide (CO2) than it released. Overall, the sector absorbed around 25% of Victoria’s emissions in 2020.
Victoria’s total net emissions are the sum of emissions from all sectors minus net absorption of emissions by the LULUCF sector. In 2020, the state’s total net emissions were 83.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2-e).
Victoria's greenhouse gas emissions by sector in 2020
Industrial processes and product use
Fugitive emissions from fuels
Who is generating Victoria’s emissions?
Households are responsible for most of Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions. Electricity use by the commercial services sector (including services like retail and wholesale trade, health care, education and accommodation) and manufacturing sector also generate a lot of emissions.3
Scope 1 (in yellow) refers to emissions created by household or business activity. You produce scope 1 emissions when you drive your car, use a gas heater, throw out food (which then decomposes) or use a (refrigerant gas) leaky fridge or air conditioner.
Scope 2 (in teal) emissions are from electricity generated by power stations to meet the demands of households and businesses.
Victoria contributes around 17% of Australia’s emissions
Progress towards net zero emissions by 2050
Victoria has cut emissions by almost 30% since 2005
Victoria’s total net emissions fell by 29.8% between 2005 and 2020, to reach 83.3 Mt CO2-e in 2020. This emissions reduction goes well beyond the state’s target to cut emissions 15-20% below 2005 levels by 2020.
Find out more about Victoria’s emissions reduction targets.
Change in Gross State Product (GSP), population and emissions – Victoria, 1990 to 2020
Victoria’s emissions declined by nearly 25% between 1990 and 2020, even as the population increased by 53% and the economy grew by 127%.
Per capita emissions in Australia and by state and territory, 2020
Victoria’s per capita emissions in 2020 —dividing the state’s total net emissions by its population — were 12.4 tonnes (t) CO2-e per person. This was well below the national average (19.4 t CO2-e), and lower than all states and territories’ but Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
Most sectors have reduced emissions recently and since 2005
Between 2019 and 2020, Victoria’s emissions declined by 6%. This was mainly driven by falling emissions in electricity generation (2.2 Mt CO2-e) and transport (1.9 Mt CO2-e), with smaller contributions from fuel combustion (0.2 Mt CO2-e) and fugitive emissions from fuels (0.2 Mt CO2-e). The LULUCF sector also absorbed 1.2 Mt CO2-e more emissions than it did in 2019. Only emissions from agriculture (0.5 Mt) and IPPU (0.04 Mt) increased over this period.
The main drivers behind these reductions were a decrease in coal-fired generation, an increase in renewable electricity production and reduced transport activity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over a longer period, since 2005 emissions have declined for all sectors but transport and IPPU. Transport emissions have grown as the ballooning population and economy have relied on fossil-fuelled transport modes to move people and goods around, while IPPU emissions have increased with more refrigerators and air-conditioners in homes and businesses, which slowly leak refrigerant gases over time.
Change in emissions between 2005 and 2020 by sector and energy sub-sector, Victoria
The electricity sector remains Victoria’s largest source of emissions - responsible for half of the state’s emissions in 2020. It is also decarbonising the fastest - contributing almost two-thirds of the decrease in state emissions between 2005 and 2020. The LULUCF sector was responsible for over a quarter of the decrease in emissions over this period.
Greenhouse gas emissions resources
The Victorian Government publishes a report every year on Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions. The report uses data prepared by the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change Energy, Environment and Water (DCCEEW), in line with internationally agreed rules.
To learn more about Victoria’s emissions and how we are tracking towards net-zero emissions by 2050, use the following resources.
- Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2020 (PDF, 2.7 MB)
- Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2020 - Accessible (DOCX, 3.2 MB)
- Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2020 - Chart data (Excel, 2.3 MB)
Previous editions of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report are available
Updates to the way emissions are calculated
DCCEEW regularly reviews and revises greenhouse gas data to ensure it is consistent with international methodologies, reflects improved estimation methods and new sources of information as they become available.
To maintain consistency of data series across time, when revisions occur, past emissions estimates are recalculated for all years in the historical record to 1990.
This review process has resulted in revised emissions data for Victoria for the years 1990 to 2019 – particularly for the LULUCF and fugitive emissions from fuels sectors. Consequently, data for 1990 to 2019 in the Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2020 differs from the Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2019.
Further details on are available in Appendix A of the Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2020.
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1. Victoria’s latest greenhouse gas emissions data, published in 2022, is for the 2020 reporting year. Federal data on emissions become available for use two years after each reporting year.
2. Shares of emissions from each sector are compared against Victoria’s total net emissions, which includes negative emissions from sequestration in the LULUCF sector. Using this approach, the shares of emissions from non-LULUCF sectors add up to more than 100%.
3.The economic sectors in this section reflect the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC).
Page last updated: 27/09/22