Australia’s population continued to grow steadily and with it, the use of natural resources and environmental pollution grew.
Australia’s population continued to grow rapidly. Population reached 25.5 million, 17% above the 2000–2018 average.
Population growth slowed down slightly in 2019. The population grew by 365,000; somewhat less than the previous three years. The increase remained driven by net immigration.
Demand for space and materials fell. The number of building approvals fell for the fourth year in a row.
Greenhouse gas emissions remained high, decreasing only 0.1% from the previous year. They were 5% above the 2000–2018 average.
Emissions decreased due to floods and drought in agriculture (-5.9% from the previous year) and due cleaner technologies in electricity generation (-1.2%) and transport (-0.5%). These reductions were offset by increases from fugitives (+4.4%), direct combustion (+3.6%) and industry (+0.6%), mostly from oil, gas and mining.
According to Government statistics, new forests exceeded forest removals, resulting in a net uptake of 19 Mt CO2-eq. However, this number only accounts for a small part of the landscape carbon balance, and does not include large emissions from vegetation decline and bushfires.
Emissions per person fell slightly: 1.6% lower than the previous year and 11% below the 2000–2018 average. Per capita emissions remained among the highest in the world, at 20.8 t CO2-eq in 2019; greater than for the US (1.2 times), EU (2.5 times) and world-average (3.3 times). Reasons include the high per-capita energy use, the use of polluting coal, and high non-CO2 emissions.
source: Australia’s Environment in 2019 Summary Report (link)