Fact sheet

Fact Check: Have emissions fallen since 2005, and are they the lowest they've ever been, as Liberal MP Katie Allen says?

Liberal Party of Australia Carbon emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions, and whether they are going up or down, are once more at the centre of debate. Liberal MP Katie Allen claims emissions have fallen since 2005 and are the lowest they had ever been. Meanwhile Labor's Pat Conroy claims emissions have risen every year since 2014. Who is right? Dr Allen's first claim, that emissions have fallen since 2005, is misleading and her second claim, that emissions are the lowest they have ever been, is incorrect. In the year to June 2005, Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions were 610.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent, according to the latest government data available. (The Australian Government uses financial years when reporting emissions under its international agreements). Since then, annual emissions have fluctuated, reaching 537.8 million tonnes in the year to June 2018 (the latest comparable full year). By the March quarter of 2019, annual emissions had risen to 538.9 million tonnes. While emissions are now lower than they were in 2005, they are nonetheless at their highest annual rate since the year to June 2012. Experts told Fact Check it was misleading to claim "emissions have fallen since 2005" since this implies emissions have fallen continuously. Australia's most authoritative database of greenhouse gas emissions shows that in 2017 financial year net carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions stood at 530.8 million tonnes. These emissions are not the lowest they have ever been, as Dr Allen claims, since emissions were as low as 489.7 million tonnes (489,688.83 giga-grams) in 1995.
Verdict: Misleading/ Incorrect

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