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NSW Greenhouse Gas Projections for Future Years

The NSW Government aims to achieve a 50% reduction in NSW emissions below 2005 levels by 2030 and to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020-2030 released in March 2020 is the foundation for NSW Government’s action on climate change over the next decade.

The plan aims to strengthen the prosperity and quality of life for the people of NSW and has four key priorities.

Priority 1: Drive the uptake of proven emissions reduction technologies

Priority 2: Empower consumers and businesses to make sustainable choices

Priority 3: Invest in the next wave of emissions reduction innovation

Priority 4: Ensure the NSW Government leads by example

The Net Zero Plan delivers on the objectives of the NSW Climate Change Policy Framework, which sets out the long-term policy directions for action to mitigate and adapt to climate change. This includes the long-term objectives of NSW being more resilient to a changing climate and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.  

State- and economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions projections are developed by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) under the Net Zero Emissions Modelling Program. These projections account for the impact of external factors on the state’s emission to inform the NSW Government’s net zero policies and support progress towards meeting net zero emission objectives.

NSW greenhouse gas emissions are modelled by year out to 2050 and by Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) sector and subsector[1], consistent with the NSW Greenhouse Gas Inventory and national emission projections.

Emissions projections are developed for base case and current policy scenarios.

Base case emission projections and net zero emissions pathway modelling by DPE informed the Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020-2030 with all major sectors of the NSW economy addressed including electricity, transport, agriculture, on-site energy use, mining, industry, waste and forestry.

The base case scenario accounts for major factors impacting NSW emissions including past state policies but excludes the impact of actions under the Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020-2030.

The current policy scenario is developed based on the base case scenario but accounts for emissions reductions projected to be achieved by funded programs to be implemented over 2020–2030 under Stage 1 of the Net Zero Plan.

Emissions projections are prepared using the latest activity data and assumptions and indicate what NSW’s future emissions could be if the assumptions underpinning the projection occur. Projections are different from forecasts, with forecasts predicting actual future events and changes.

Greenhouse gas emission estimates are expressed as the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) using the 100-year global warming potentials in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report[2], consistent with the Australian Government’s National Inventory Reporting. 

Data and details of the dataset are available through the SEED portal.

A description of the projected trends in NSW emissions is available in NSW State of the Environment Report, with projections also discussed in the Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020–2030 Implementation Update.

Read more about the assumptions and methods used in our future emission projections in the NSW Greenhouse gas emissions projections 2021 methods paper.

[1] IPCC 2019,  2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories,  Calvo Buendia E. Tanabe K, Kranjc A, Baasansuren J, Fukuda M, Ngarize S, Osako A, Pyrozhenko Y, Shermanau P and Federici A (eds), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge []

[2] IPCC 2013, Climate Change 2013: The physical science basis – contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner G, Tignor MMB, Allen SK, Boschung J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex V & Midgley P (eds), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge []

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