Australia Underreporting Gas and Coal Methane Emissions

Australia is underreporting methane emissions from its fossil fuel sector by at least 64%, the latest update of the International Energy Agency’s Global Methane Tracker shows.

The data, found Australia was responsible for 1.5% of global methane emissions in 2023, even though the country has only 0.33% of the world’s population.

The new instalment of the IEA’s Global Methane Tracker, which presents country-by-country estimates of methane emissions, found the global fossil fuel industry released close to 120 million tonnes of methane into the atmosphere in 2023.

“For the second year in a row, the IEA has called out Australia for fudging the truth about its emissions from coal and gas,” said the Australian Conservation Foundation’s (ACF) methane campaigner Piper Rollins.

“There is way more methane leaking out of coal and gas projects than companies report.

“In Australia coal and gas companies can get away with not accurately measuring or reporting their methane emissions, relying on guesses rather than direct measurement.”

“Methane is more than 80 times more damaging to the atmosphere over 20 years than carbon dioxide, making methane a big contributor to the climate crisis.”

“Coal and gas companies are allowed to leak millions of tonnes of super-polluting methane into the air without consequence, turbocharging heatwaves, bushfires and flooding.”

“Australia’s methane measuring problem undermines the integrity of our climate targets.”

“At an absolute bare minimum, all coal and gas facilities should be required to accurately measure their emissions and publicly report them. When it comes to rapidly reducing Australia’s most potent climate heating pollution, cutting methane emissions from the coal and gas industry is low hanging fruit,” said Rollins.

Methane emissions are believed to account for about 30% of the global temperature rise since the industrial revolution.

An investigation by ACF and the global non-profit Clean Air Task Force last year detected methane escaping from more than 100 sources at 35 industrial sites in Queensland and NSW.