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.

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



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.

Read the full Terms of Reference (PDF, 161.2 KB)

Martijn Wilder AM

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 Herd

Emma Herd

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 Reed

Tennant Reed

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 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.

Issues Paper: Interim Emissions Reduction Targets for Victoria (2021-2030) (PDF, 2.5 MB)

Issues Paper: Interim Emissions Reduction Targets for Victoria (2021-2030) ACCESSIBLE VERSION (DOCX, 1.4 MB)

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.

Read the full Terms of Reference (DOCX, 33.2 KB)

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.


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: 13/04/22