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Agriculture sector greenhouse gas emissions

Key Finding

In 2018, emissions from the agriculture sector contributed 21.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), or 12% of Queensland’s total emissions. Emissions increased by 1% between 2005 and 2018, mainly due to a continued source of emissions associated with beef cattle.

Queensland’s agriculture sector greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are largely from farming livestock, particularly the associated methane emissions, and from growing crops. The level of emissions varies in response to climatic and market conditions.

Emissions were 21.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2018. This represents 12% of Queensland’s total emissions and the long-term trend indicates a slow increase (1% between 2005 and 2018) in emissions.

  • This compares with 19.9 MtCO2e in 1990.
  • In 2005, emissions were 21.0 MtCO2e.

In 2018, Queensland generated the most agricultural GHG emissions in Australia.

  • 75% (15.9 MtCO2e) was due to methane emissions from enteric fermentation in ruminant animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats.
  • Beef cattle were responsible for 97% or 15.5 MtCO2e of these emissions.
  • Emissions from sheep fell by 54% or 0.32 MtCO2e since 2005 levels resulting from lower stock numbers under dryer conditions.

This sector’s other emission sources were:

  • manure management (12%)
  • carbon emissions released from the tilling of soils (11%)
  • application of urea as a fertiliser (1%).

Emissions from field burning of agricultural residues decreased by 15% over the period from 2005 to 2018, most likely due to the decline of sugar cane burning.

More information:

Relevant Sustainable Development Goals’ targets

  • GOAL 3: GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
  • GOAL 11: SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES
  • GOAL 12: RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION

Proportion of agriculture emissions by state, 2018

  • Chart
  • Table
StateEmissions (million tonnes)
Queensland21.173
New South Wales17.957
Victoria15.685
Western Australia9.373
South Australia5.892
Northern Territory3.192
Tasmania2.294
Australian Capital Territory0.022

Proportion of Queensland’s agriculture emissions by category, 2018

  • Chart
  • Table
CategoryEmissions (million tonnes)
Enteric fermentation15.961
Manure management2.504
Agricultural soils2.411
Urea application0.220
Liming0.038
Field burning of agricultural residues0.035
Rice cultivation0.004

Trends in Queensland’s agriculture emissions, by category

  • Chart
  • Table
YearEnteric fermentationManure managementAgricultural soilsUrea applicationLimingField burning of agricultural residuesRice cultivation
199015.3341.8762.4620.0820.0310.0820.018
199115.9601.9482.4030.0960.0380.0820.016
199215.6741.9032.2310.0860.0460.0580.005
199315.2171.9132.1550.0890.0560.0690.000
199414.5271.9012.2210.0880.0640.0740.000
199514.6951.7202.1280.1110.0610.0700.000
199614.8541.7092.2020.1290.0580.0710.000
199715.0851.7212.3110.1540.0540.0780.000
199815.7931.8912.3490.1720.0500.0670.000
199915.5641.8762.4570.1830.0460.0630.000
200016.7741.9982.7350.2220.0420.0600.000
200115.8912.1862.5080.2440.0390.0420.000
200215.8892.2522.6880.1820.0530.0470.000
200314.6642.1522.2880.2130.0530.0460.000
200415.6882.2982.4590.2210.0530.0500.000
200515.8622.3812.4220.1990.0530.0410.000
200615.4882.3902.3800.1940.0530.0380.000
200715.6342.3962.2030.1630.0530.0500.000
200815.7782.2562.2460.1790.0530.0380.000
200916.3662.3542.4850.2080.0640.0360.000
201015.0252.2262.0850.1950.0760.0320.000
201116.6222.4422.5160.2570.0610.0370.001
201216.0522.3352.5100.2740.0460.0400.001
201316.7562.3792.5260.2900.0320.0310.001
201416.8682.4932.5950.2200.0330.0300.005
201514.8832.3372.4820.2420.0330.0330.000
201614.5522.2052.5510.2460.0320.0390.007
201714.6882.3332.6140.2580.0380.0390.000
201815.9612.5042.4110.2200.0380.0350.004

Queensland’s total agriculture emissions

YearEmissions (million tonnes)
199019.886
199120.543
199220.003
199319.499
199418.876
199518.786
199619.024
199719.403
199820.323
199920.190
200021.832
200120.910
200221.110
200319.416
200420.769
200520.957
200620.543
200720.498
200820.549
200921.514
201019.639
201121.937
201221.259
201322.014
201422.244
201520.009
201619.631
201719.971
201821.173

Download data from Queensland Government data

Metadata

Queensland annual greenhouse gas emissions in millions of tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent from 1990–2018 by agriculture sector. Note: Estimates are based on the IPCC classification system used to report Australia’s greenhouse gas emission inventory under UNFCCC guidelines. Source: Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.