Australia grossly underestimates its methane emissions, says report

Sydney, Australia, Jul 5 (EFE).- The Australian government has grossly underreported the fugitive methane leaks from its fossil fuel sector in 2022, according to a new report published on Wednesday.

“Our analysis indicates that fugitive methane emissions from coal mining and oil and gas supply have likely been grossly underestimated to date – by about 80% for coal and 90% for oil and gas,” the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said in the report.

The institute urged Australia to take urgent action to improve its methane pollution monitoring and reduction measures.

“Australia is currently omitting 28 million tons of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e) of fugitive methane emissions from its inventory, which is about 6% of its total emissions,” said the author Amandine Denis-Ryan, chief executive of IEEFA Australia.

The report said that methane represents about 18 percent of the global emissions and is estimated to have contributed to around 30 percent of the rise in global temperatures since the Industrial Revolution.

However, over a 20-year period, methane warms as much as 82 times more than CO2, it said.

The report noted that in 2022 methane leaks from coal mining and oil and gas industry had been respectively about 81 percent and 92 percent higher than the Australian government’s annual inventory data.

It added that correcting this discrepancy would have big implications for industrial polluting companies covered by the Safeguard Mechanism.

The mechanism, which was approved in March, has imposed emission limits on the 215 most polluting companies in Australia.

“In order to stay within the newly introduced emissions caps, facilities would have to double their rate of decarbonisation and halve their emissions between 2023 and 2030,” the report noted.

“It is critical to correct these underestimates as soon as possible,” Denis-Ryan stressed.

The Australian government is committed towards achieving a 43 percent reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2030, compared to the 2005 levels, before reaching a net zero emission by 2050. EFE


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