a few simple charts missing from 2007 national GHG accounts

3 07 2009

The Department of Climate Change released Australia’s latest national greenhouse gas accounts under the Kyoto Protocol reporting obligations, covering 2007 data.  The National Greenhouse Gas Inventory [1], updated June 1, is on the DCC website along with online access to the major category data. Maybe it’s just me but they seem remarkably less easy to read, and the reporting categories have changed substantially.

So I’ve knocked up some charts to make the data simpler to understand.

[When I set out to write this, I thought those changes were basically the DCC's decision. In looking properly at the UNFCCC reporting guidelines, I see that the DCC is just following the reporting requirements. I've hardly looked at any of this in detail, but I can't help but feel that electricity ought to be delineated far more obviously than it is.]

Energy is no longer clearly separated into Stationary energy, Transport, and Fugitive emissions as it has been previously (electricity generation being the major subsector of Stationary energy). Or at least it was previously. The document I obtained from the DCC website in the latter part of 2008, titled ‘National Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2006‘ [2], is not the same as the initial and revised reports to the UNFCCC published there now. And I can find no signs of the earlier document.

The simple chart I was referring to for 2006 data (and the table accompanying it) shows a readily understood sectoral breakdown of emission sources, importantly with percentage-of-total as data labels: this figure on page 1 of [2] (repeated on page 3 as Figure 1, sans labels).

'Australia’s estimated greenhouse gas emissions by sector in 2006'

There’s nothing this simple in the 2007 inventory. What’s more, energy is now categorised as  Energy — fuel combustion and Energy — fugitive emissions, so stationary energy and transport are merged into the former [okay, fair enough: that's what UNFCCC requires]. You need to read through the main text body to find mention of stationary energy and the component subsectors. Something as important as electricity generation at 33.4% of total Australian emissions, the largest single subsector is only properly discussed in here. The same situation occurs with both the online dataset (which only shows totals for the two energy sub categories) and the detailed summary table on page 24 of [1], which does show the subsectors for each energy sub category. That is:

2007 accounting sectors

2007 accounting sectors

In 2007 Energy Industries accounted for 221.84 Mt CO2-e, but you have to go back to the text body to find that electricity generation was 199.5 Mt CO2-e. And in fact, stationary energy is 291.7 Mt CO2-e in total, which would seem to be all fuel combustion subsectors with the exception of transport (itself 78.8 Mt).

More than a little confusing.

I spent what turned out to be a ridiculously large amount of time pulling all this into a spreadsheet and generating the ‘simple’ charts that I feel are needed. Trying to get this information across to lay audiences would be rather poorly served by showing only fuel combustion and fugitive emissions. All data is taken directly from the body text and summary table of [1] and the online dataset available at DCC. Clearly DCC retains copyright over the data herein.

All totals include LULUCF. The source spreadsheet is available from my Dropbox account [great service!]: 2007_inventory_data.xlsx.

The first two charts reproduce the information shown above, using the current accounting sectors, and the previous split of energy into stationary, transport, and fugitive emissions. The final chart shows the subsector breakdown of stationary energy. All charts show percentage-of-total national emissions as data labels.

Figure 1: Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by sector, 2007

Figure 1: Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by sector, 2007

Figure 2: Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by sector (showing energy subsectors), 2007

Figure 2: Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by sector (showing energy subsectors), 2007

Figure 3: Australia's greenhouse gas emissions in the stationary energy subsector, 2007

Figure 3: Australia's greenhouse gas emissions in the stationary energy subsector, 2007

However, there was one chart that does mostly present this data. It’s just rather daunting… The figure below is taken from page 14 of one of the accompanying documents to the inventory summary:  ‘Figure 7: Allocation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Source, Economic Activity and Greenhouse Gas, Australia, 2007‘ [3, page 14].

2007_emissions_by_source+economic_activity_GHG(DCC 2009)

[1] Department of Climate Change. 2009. National Greenhouse Gas Inventory accounting for the KYOTO target, May 2009. Commonwealth of Australia.

[2] Department of Climate Change. 2008. National Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2006: Accounting for the Kyoto Target. Commonwealth of Australia.

[3] Department of Climate Change. 2009. National Inventory by Economic Sector. Commonwealth of Australia.

National Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2006: Accounting for the Kyoto Target

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7 07 2009
List of mathematics articles (J-L) » Blog Archive » United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

[...] a few simple charts missing from 2007 national GHG accounts [...]

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