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Coronavirus shutdown pushes greenhouse gas emissions to 22-year low

The COVID-19 crisis has pushed Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions down to their lowest level in over two decades as restrictions on movement slash the use of fuel for transport.

The latest government estimates of the nation’s greenhouse gas activity found that, between April and June, emissions were 8 per cent or 10 million tonnes lower than the same period last year. Overall emissions for 2019-20 are estimated to be 518 million tonnes, the lowest output since 1998.

Emissions from travel and transport have plummeted because of the COVID-19 restrictions.

Emissions from travel and transport have plummeted because of the COVID-19 restrictions. Credit:The Age

In the year to March, before the coronavirus crisis took hold, emissions were down 1.4 per cent to 528.7 million tonnes, driven by decreases in electricity, transport, agriculture and industrial processes.

Emissions from electricity continued their long-term decline, dropping 4.2 per cent. This has been driven by the declining use of coal-fired power and increased take-up of wind and solar.

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