GREENHOUSE gas emissions from power generation in NSW last year were about 7 per cent higher than in 1990.
The rise indicates the state is within limits to meet the national Kyoto Protocol commitment of an 8 per cent rise on 1990 levels by 2012, though if NSW builds a coal-fired power station those hopes may be dashed.
The non-profit organisation The Climate Group tracked about 95 million tonnes of greenhouse gas released across the state last year, accounting for about 65 per cent of total emissions. The remaining 35 per cent of global warming gases, resulting from agriculture, waste and industry, are more difficult to measure.
"What it demonstrates is that there is still a long way to go, and emissions are still rising," said The Climate Group’s director, Rupert Posner. "If we are going to get to the stated targets of 60 per cent cuts by 2050, it means reducing demand and not supporting new energy projects unless they have zero emissions."
Victoria’s emissions last year increased 30 per cent on 1990 levels, largely because a new coal-fired power station opened at Loy Yang, and because Victoria relies on dirtier brown coal.
However, people in NSW have been slower to sign up to green power for their household energy. In the third quarter of last year, 181,000 people north of the border had signed up to green power, compared with 252,000 from Victoria.
Electricity generated by burning coal accounted for 60 per cent of the state’s greenhouse pollution measured by The Climate Group. Petroleum emissions accounted for 39.5 per cent, or an average of 0.726 million tonnes a week.