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 2019, the energy sector accounted for 70% of Victoria’s emissions, transport was responsible for 25%, agriculture contributed 17%, industrial processes and product use 4%, and the waste sector a further 4% of Victoria’s emissions.

Victoria’s forests and natural systems absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) as trees grow and release greenhouse gases when trees are removed. In 2019, the sector absorbed significantly more carbon dioxide (CO2) than it released. Overall, the sector absorbed around 19% of Victoria’s emissions in 2019.

Victoria’s total net emissions are the sum of emissions from all sectors minus net absorption by the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector. In 2019, the state’s total net emissions were 91.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2-e).

There is a 2-year lag between each reporting year and when the data is available for use. Victoria’s latest greenhouse gas emissions data, published in 2021, is for the 2019 reporting year.

Victoria's greenhouse gas emissions by sector in 2019

Victoria’s emissions come from many sources. In 2019, 70% of Victoria’s emissions come from the energy sector, transport is responsible for 25%, agriculture emitted 17%, industrial processes and product use represented 4%, and the waste sector accounted for the remaining 3%. Victoria’s forests and natural systems absorbed around 19% of Victoria’s emissions. This removal of emissions in the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry sector gives a total of 100% across all sectors – in other words, produces Victoria’s total net emissions

Progress towards net zero emissions by 2050

Victoria’s emissions fell 24.8% (30.1 Mt CO2-e) between 2005 and 2019. This means Victoria’s target to reduce emissions by 15 to 20% below 2005 levels by 2020 has been met ahead of schedule and then beaten.

Victoria’s emissions reductions and targets for emissions reductions are measured against the level of emissions in 2005, as required by the Climate Change Act 2017.

Victoria's new emissions peaked in 2010

In 2019, Victoria’s emissions have fallen by 24.8% below 2005 emissions

The chart shows changes in Victoria’s total net emissions between 2005 and 2019. Victoria’s emissions peaked in 2010 and have been falling since then.

Change in net emissions

Most emissions reductions between 2005 and 2019 were from the electricity generation sector (a 19.6 Mt CO2-e cut) and absorption from the land use sector (8.8 Mt CO2-e). Emissions reductions also occurred in agriculture (2.5 Mt CO2-e), waste (1.5 Mt CO2-e) and direct combustion (1.0 Mt CO2-e). Emissions increased in transport (2.5 Mt CO2-e), fugitive emissions from fuels (0.6 Mt CO2-e) and industrial processes and product use (0.3 Mt CO2-e).

Emissions from electricity generation fell by 19.6 Mt CO-2e between 2005 and 2019; while net absorption by the LULUCF sector increased by 8.8 Mt CO2-e over this period.

Emissions increased in some sectors, most notably transport emissions increased by 2.5 Mt CO2-e between 2005 and 2019.

Major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions by economic sector

Major contributors of greenhouse gas emissions by economic sector are residential (households), followed by commercial services (including retail and wholesale trade, health care, education, accommodation and food services, professional services, etc.) and manufacturing.

major contributors of emissions by economic sector

Scope 1 in yellow: Emissions arising directly from a household or business/industry. This includes sources such as private vehicle usage; the burning of gas for heating; decomposition of organic waste; and refrigerant gases leaks from air conditioning and refrigeration units.

Scope 2 in teal: Emissions associated with the electricity bought and used by a household or business/industry. Emissions occur at power stations during the generation of the electricity to supply the demands of households, businesses and industries.

Note: The economic sectors in this chart reflect the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC).

Victoria's economy is less emissions intensive

Between 1990 and 2019, real Gross State Product (GSP) increased by 126%, while emissions fell 19%, resulting in a decline in the emissions intensity of the Victorian economy from 0.55 to 0.20 kilograms CO2-e per dollar of GSP.

Victoria’s per capita emissions have been decreasing since 2010

Between 1990 and 2019, Victoria’s per capita emissions (total emissions divided by the number of people living in Victoria) reduced from 25.8 tonnes (t) CO2-e to 13.8 tonnes (t) CO2-e.

Victoria’s per capita emissions are less than the national average

In 2019, Victoria’s per capita emissions were 13.8 t CO2-e. This was less than the national average of 20.9 t CO2-e. Per capita emission in other states and territories in 2019 were: Tasmania at -3.1 t CO2-e/person, ACT at 3.0 t CO2-e/person, SA at 13.6 t CO2-e/person, NSW at 16.9 t CO2-e/person, QLD at 32.3 t CO2-e/person, WA at 35.0 t CO2-e/person, and NT at 83.9 t CO2-e/person.

Note: Tasmania’s figure of -3.1 t CO2-e per capita reflects the fact that net absorption in the LULUCF sector in that state exceeded emissions in other sectors with the result that Tasmania had negative total net emissions in 2019.

In 2019, Victoria’s per capita emissions of 13.8 tonnes (t) CO2-e in 2019 was less than the national average (20.9 t CO2-e).

Victoria contributes 17% of Australia’s emissions

Victoria contributes 17% of Australia's emissions

In 2019, Victoria was the fourth largest contributor to Australia’s total net emissions (17.3%), behind Queensland (31.1%), New South Wales (25.8%) and Western Australia (17.4%).

Note: Tasmania’s share of -0.3% reflects the fact that net absorption in the LULUCF sector in that state exceeded emissions in other sectors with the result that Tasmania had negative total net emissions in 2019.

Greenhouse gas emissions resources

The Victorian Government publishes a report every year on Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions. The report uses emissions data prepared by the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), in accordance with internationally agreed rules.

To learn more about Victoria’s emissions and how we are tracking towards net-zero emissions by 2050, see the following resources.


Previous editions of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report are available:

Emissions data published by the Commonwealth, including descriptions of emissions accounting methodologies:

Annual inventory methodology updates

DISER reviews and, as necessary, revises national and state/territory greenhouse gas data annually to ensure the data is produced using the latest international methodologies; and to reflect improved estimation methods and new sources of information.

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.

For the 2019 report, the most significant updates include:

  • Soil carbon – improved modelling of soil carbon processes and soil factors (such as the decomposition rate of materials in soils); and a move to smooth data over 5 rather than 10 years in relevant LULUCF categories
  • Harvested native forests – use of more accurate spatial modelling of forests and improved historical harvesting data from VicForests
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) refrigerants – improved data on the rates of leakage of refrigerants from equipment and appliances, and the rate of retirement of equipment and appliances
  • Global warming potentials (GWP) – GWP values have been updated to those published in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) for a 100-year time horizon (previous reports applied GWP from the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report).

Appendix A of the Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2019 provides further details of these and other updates.

Contact us

Contact us via email climate.change@delwp.vic.gov.au

Page last updated: 01/11/21