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Transport sector greenhouse gas emissions

Key Finding

In 2018, emissions from the transport sector contributed 22.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), or 13% of Queensland’s total emissions. Emissions increased by 26% between 2005 and 2018, owing to an increase in population and commercial activity, and the importance of motor vehicles as modes of transportation of passengers and freight in Queensland.

The transport sector is Queensland’s third largest source of emissions overall. This reflects Queensland’s economic growth and the importance of passenger cars.

Emissions were 22.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2018. This represents 13% of Queensland’s total emissions and the long-term trend indicates increasing emissions.

  • This compares with 11.3 MtCO2e in 1990.
  • In 2005, emissions were 17.9 MtCO2e.

Road transport is the main source of this sector’s GHG emissions, contributing 84% of the sectors emissions in 2018.

  • Passenger cars account for 45% of the sector’s emissions (10.2 MtCO2e).
  • Heavy-duty trucks and buses generated 22% (4.9 MtCO2e), with most of this attributed to trucks.
  • Light commercial vehicles 17% (3.8 MtCO2e).

Other transport areas also have experienced emission increases:

  • Domestic aviation accounted for 11% of the sector’s emissions (2.4 MtCO2e). Its emission contribution has increased by 64% since 2005.
  • Railways, only a small contributor of emissions (3%), increased emissions by 20% in the period 2005–2018.
  • Other transport – which includes emissions mostly from pipelines associated with the gas industry — grew strongly by 246% in the period 2005–2018.

Queensland has the third highest share of emissions from the transport sector behind NSW and Victoria.

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 transport emissions by state, 2018

  • Chart
  • Table
StateEmissions (million tonnes)
New South Wales28.712
Victoria23.451
Queensland22.583
Western Australia14.735
South Australia7.090
Tasmania1.587
Northern Territory1.548
Australian Capital Territory1.091

Proportion of Queensland’s transport emissions by category, 2018

  • Chart
  • Table
CategoryEmissions (million tonnes)
Cars10.213
Heavy duty trucks and buses4.908
Light commercial vehicles3.796
Domestic aviation2.416
Railways0.566
Navigation0.371
Other0.246
Motorcycles0.068

Trends in Queensland’s transport emissions, by category

  • Chart
  • Table
YearCarsHeavy duty trucks and busesLight commercial vehiclesDomestic aviationRailwaysNavigationOtherMotorcycles
19905.9472.1821.2930.7120.3790.6610.0530.035
19915.9912.1611.2960.8880.3800.6940.0530.036
19926.2002.2441.3430.9620.2840.6570.0590.037
19936.4692.3841.4081.0100.2770.6380.0590.038
19946.6602.5191.4611.0730.2840.6020.0440.039
19956.9412.7241.5411.2680.2870.7530.0390.040
19967.0932.9041.5971.3950.2820.6840.0390.041
19977.1163.0621.6281.4870.2790.7320.0390.041
19987.2143.1961.6681.3500.2770.7610.0390.041
19997.5153.1831.6581.3040.2920.6070.0390.030
20007.7053.2721.7531.3580.2910.6340.0600.034
20017.6563.1731.9251.5030.3650.6740.0600.039
20027.8283.3822.0571.3420.4290.6770.0600.050
20038.2643.5052.0661.2880.4260.6760.0650.040
20048.6393.6532.3311.3460.5270.7660.0690.047
20058.8033.7762.2781.4770.4740.9710.0710.040
20068.9103.9782.3441.5590.4580.8620.0760.041
20078.8334.2772.5201.6910.4591.0310.0780.061
20089.0834.3182.6761.8210.8000.3850.0830.067
20099.0564.3232.7941.8480.8000.7450.0510.070
20109.1004.3212.9431.8670.7910.7250.0630.074
20119.1114.5892.9652.0920.7550.6160.0980.065
20129.4454.8683.0402.2300.7880.5370.1060.058
20139.3784.9643.0822.2750.8270.3340.1100.061
20149.1385.1713.0962.3470.8180.3100.0920.057
20159.5245.1513.1472.1770.6630.3590.1060.065
201610.1155.1613.5422.2880.6300.3620.1180.069
201710.1845.3063.6242.2830.5390.3750.1310.069
201810.2134.9083.7962.4160.5660.3710.2460.068

Queensland’s total transport emissions

YearEmissions (million tonnes)
199011.263
199111.500
199211.785
199312.284
199412.681
199513.593
199614.034
199714.385
199814.546
199914.628
200015.108
200115.395
200215.826
200316.331
200417.378
200517.891
200618.227
200718.950
200819.234
200919.687
201019.883
201120.290
201221.071
201321.031
201421.030
201521.191
201622.284
201722.511
201822.583

Download data from Queensland Government data

Metadata

Queensland annual greenhouse gas emissions in millions of tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent from 1990–2018 by transport sector. Source: Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.