The National Greenhouse Accounts and Land Clearing: Do the numbers stack up?
by Andrew Macintosh, at The Australia Institute,
published January 2007.
Australia’s capacity to meet its Kyoto target is contingent on a reduction in emissions from land clearing. Government projections indicate that if land use change emissions are at their 1990 levels in 2010, Australia’s total emissions will be 27 per cent above 1990 levels, meaning Australia will exceed its Kyoto target by 19 per cent.
The National Greenhouse Accounts suggest that between 1990 and 2004 there was a 59 per cent reduction in emissions from land use change, which has ensured that Australia’s total emissions have increased by only 2.3 per cent. Approximately 70 per cent of the decline in land use change emissions is attributed to a fall in the rate of
land clearing in Queensland. The Federal Government has relied on the decrease in land clearing to justify its claim that Australia ‘remains on track’ to meet its Kyoto target.
Data published by the Statewide Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS) in Queensland raise doubts about the accuracy of the estimates of land clearing in the National Greenhouse Accounts. For example, the total amount of land clearing in Queensland identified under SLATS between 1989/90 and 2000/01 is approximately 50 per cent
higher than the amount estimated by the Federal Government’s National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS) between 1990 and 2001. There are also significant differences in the land clearing trends identified by SLATS and NCAS, with peaks in clearing shown in the SLATS data in the late 1990s and early 2000s not evident in
Read the complete report here: http://www.tai.org.au/documents/downloads/WP93.pdf