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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets
Victoria's Climate Change Act 2017 establishes a long-term target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Act also requires 5-yearly interim emissions reduction targets to be set to keep Victoria on track to meet the state's long-term target of net-zero.
Victoria’s interim target for the period 2021–2025 is for emissions to reduce 28–33% below 2005 levels by the end of 2025.
The interim target for the period 2026–2030 is for emissions to reduce 45–50% below 2005 levels by the end of 2030.
Targets provide certainty for investors and the business community and will help create jobs in clean energy, land restoration, zero-emissions transport, and the circular economy. Victoria’s 2030 target confirms our position among leading jurisdictions around the world, such as the United States and the European Union.
The process has begun to set Victoria’s next target, for 2035 - with a Panel established to provide independent, expert advice (see below). The 2035 target will be set in 2023.
During June and July 2019, following the release of independent expert advice on interim targets, the government invited input from Victorians to inform its decision on targets and identify priority actions to reduce emissions.
Please visit Engage Victoria to view the results of that consultation.
As required by Victoria’s Climate Change Act 2017, many factors were considered when setting greenhouse gas emissions targets, including the latest climate science, the opportunities available to Victoria to act, reaching Victoria’s legislated target of net-zero emissions, the advice of the Independent Expert Panel on Interim Emissions Reduction Targets and the economic and social impacts of acting at a given time and in a particular manner.
The document Victoria’s Climate Change Strategy: Economic Analysis (PDF, 2.9 MB) sets out the evidence on the economic impacts of the interim targets for 2025 and 2030 and the supporting policies. It brings together several pieces of analysis that cover different aspects of relevant benefits and costs.
This table outlines the remaining interim target periods to 2050 and when each interim target must be set. After a target has been set, the decision must be tabled in Parliament within 10 sitting days.
Future interim targets
TARGET MUST BE SET (ON OR BEFORE)
1 Jan 2031 – 31 Dec 2035
31 March 2023
1 Jan 2036 – 31 Dec 2040
31 March 2028
1 Jan 2041 – 31 Dec 2045
31 March 2033
1 Jan 2046 – 31 Dec 2050
31 March 2038
Independent expert advice on interim targets
The Climate Change Act 2017 requires the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change to seek independent expert advice to inform the setting of interim emissions reduction targets to set Victoria on a path to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
Independent advice on 2035 emissions reduction target
The Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change has appointed an independent expert panel to provide advice on an interim target for 2035, with Martijn Wilder AM as Chair and members Emma Herd and Tennant Reed.
The Panel must deliver its advice by 1 March 2023 and this advice will be tabled in the Victorian Parliament within 10 sitting days.
The Panel’s advice on a 2035 emissions reduction target will be informed by the views of the public. Visit Engage Victoria between 13 April and 22 May 2022 to share your views on a 2035 emissions reduction target for Victoria, and ideas for how we can reach that target.
The Panel’s terms of reference are guided by the Climate Change Act 2017. Their advice must include options for a 2031-2035 interim target, likely pathways to net zero emissions by 2050, and ways to achieve the targets.
Martijn Wilder AM
Martijn is a founding partner of Pollination, a specialist climatechange advisory and investment firm accelerating the transition to a net zero, climate resilient future. Prior to this, Martijn was the founder and for 20 years the head of the Global Climate Change practice of Baker McKenzie, focused on climate law and finance. Martijn was also formerly Chair of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and a founding Director of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. He also helped establish and later Chair the Federal Government’s Low Carbon Australia finance body.
He currently holds positions as President of WWF-Australia, is a Governing Board Member of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) and Adjunct Professor of International Climate Change Law at Australian National University. Martijn was a Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholar and awarded an Australian Honour (AM) for his contribution to climate change law and the environment, and was winner of the 2018 Financial Times Asia Pacific Legal Innovator of the Year.
Emma is Partner in EY Climate Change and Sustainability Services. She has 20 years’ experience in climate change and sustainability practice, and is a known figure in the Australian and global climate change arena having worked across industry, banking, finance, policy and advocacy.
Emma was formerly Chief Executive Officer of the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) and non-executive director of the Carbon Market Institute. Emma is a member of the Queensland Climate Change Advisory Council, the Green Building Council of Australian GreenStar Advisory Committee, and the Queensland Land Restoration Fund Investment Panel. She is a regular media contributor on climate matters, and a respected voice on climate transition implications for business.
Tennant is Principal National Adviser on Public Policy at Ai Group. Tennant has been deeply involved in Australian climate and energy issues since 2008, advising Ai Group’s Leaders’ Group on Energy and Climate Policy, coordinating joint research and advocacy with wider energy stakeholders, facilitating the Australian Climate Roundtable and developing reports on energy prices, carbon border adjustments and business energy use. Tennant has also advised Ai Group on a range of issues related to manufacturing and innovation.
Previously, Tennant was an adviser in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, working on fiscal policy, stimulus and infrastructure.
Past process: Independent advice on the 2025 and 2030 emissions reduction targets
The Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change took advice from an independent expert panel on interim targets for 2025 and 2030.
The Panel’s final report was tabled in Parliament on 6 June 2019. This provides advice on:
- recommended interim targets for 2025 and 2030
- indicative trajectories for Victoria to achieve the long-term target of net-zero emissions by 2050 based on the recommended interim targets
- potential opportunities to reduce emissions across the Victorian economy.
To support its analysis, the panel commissioned further advice. These reports can be accessed below.
- Advice on applying Climate Change Authority emissions targets to Victoria (PDF, 515.4 KB)
- Advice on applying Climate Change Authority emissions targets to Victoria ACCESSIBLE VERSION (DOCX, 132.6 KB)
- Economic impacts of timing of emissions abatement (PDF, 993.4 KB)
- Economic impacts of timing of emissions abatement ACCESSIBLE VERSION (DOCX, 521.5 KB)
- Greenhouse gas emissions budgets for Victoria (PDF, 2.5 MB)
- Greenhouse gas emissions budgets for Victoria ACCESSIBLE VERSION (DOCX, 2.3 MB)
- Deriving a 1.5°C emissions budget for Victoria (PDF, 1.4 MB)
- Deriving a 1.5°C emissions budget for Victoria ACCESSIBLE VERSION (DOCX, 541.8 KB)
The panel sought input from the Victorian community to inform the minister's advice on interim targets.
The panel published an issues paper as the basis for an online public consultation process. The consultation was open from 29 March to 1 May 2018.
The public was invited to read this paper, respond to the questions, and provide the panel with any further evidence that could support the development of its advice.
Please visit Engage Victoria to view the results of this consultation.
The Interim Targets Independent Expert Panel terms of reference reflected the statutory requirements laid out in section 12 of the Climate Change Act 2017.
The panel’s advice was required to include interim target options, indicative trajectories to net zero emissions by 2050, and potential emissions reduction opportunities to achieve the targets.
The panel was required to consider economic, environmental and social circumstances and impacts, and the latest climate science, national and global climate action, low-emissions technology and progress in reducing Victoria’s emissions. The panel’s terms of reference were amended in February 2019 to reflect a revised due date for its final advice.
The Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change appointed the Independent Expert Panel to advise interim emissions reduction targets in October 2017. The members were:
- The Hon Greg Combet AM (Chair)
- Dr Penny Whetton
- Dr Lorraine Stephenson
The panel members have significant experience in climate change science, low emissions technologies and climate policy. The panel was supported by a Secretariat in the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
The Hon Greg Combet AM is the Chair of IFM Investors, Chair of Industry Super Australia, and a ME Bank Director. Mr Combet also consults with industry and governments.
Mr Combet held numerous Ministerial and Parliamentary Secretary roles in the Australian Government from 2007 to 2013, including Minister for Industry and Innovation, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science. Before this, Mr Combet held the ACTU Secretary's role for 8 years and worked as a trade union official and in the mining industry in previous years.
Dr Penny Whetton was an Honorary Research Fellow with the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne and CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere. In Dr Whetton's 25-year career with CSIRO, she took a leading role in Australian science on projecting regional climate change and the use of projections in impact assessment. Through this and her community engagement, she made a unique contribution to a national understanding of and preparedness to respond to climate change.
Dr Whetton was a lead author of the regionalisation and climate scenarios chapters of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the regional projections chapter of the Fourth Assessment Report of IPCC Australasia chapter of the Fifth Assessment Report.
Dr Lorraine Stephenson has over 30 years of experience in the energy sector and has worked on climate change policy and strategy since 1998. As a consultant, she works with clients to create opportunities to respond to climate change risks, including options to drive investments in low-emission technologies.
Dr Stephenson's other current roles include Non-executive Director of Queensland Electricity Transmission Corporation Limited (Powerlink), Non-executive Director of Good Environmental Choice Australia and member of the NSW Climate Change Council.
She was formerly the Chief Clean Energy Advisor to the Queensland Government, a Partner at Ernst & Young, Non-executive Director of Ergon Energy and Non-executive Director of the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network. Dr Stephenson is a Fellow of the Academy of Technology and Engineering and has formal qualifications in governance, management and science.
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.
- Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2019 (PDF, 3.8 MB)
- Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2019 - Accessible (DOCX, 2.2 MB)
- Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2019 - Chart data (Excel, 6.8 MB)
Previous editions of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report are available:
- Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2018 (PDF, 1.5 MB)
- Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2017 (PDF, 1.8 MB)
- Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2016 (PDF, 2.4 MB)
Emissions data published by the Commonwealth, including descriptions of emissions accounting methodologies:
- National Greenhouse Inventory
- Commonwealth State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories
- Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System
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.
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Page last updated: 13/04/22