PROJECT 5.6: The carbon budget of continental Australia and possible future trajectories
Tracking changes in global and Australian greenhouse gas emissions is vital for understanding our commitments under the Paris Agreement. Australia’s net carbon balance (carbon budget) is made up of carbon sources (primarily from burning fossil fuels and land-use change) and carbon sinks (vegetation and oceans which remove emissions from the atmosphere). While climate change policies seek to manage Australia’s net greenhouse gas emissions, knowledge gaps exist on how the full carbon budget can best be managed to reduce emissions and increase carbon sinks.
We’ve continued to track Australia’s carbon sources and sinks and have developed a comprehensive carbon budget for Australia for the most recent decade. We’ve estimated how the budget may change in the future using climate scenarios and socio-economic pathways. The projections will be consistent with the Australian National Outlook integrated assessment modelling for Australia.
We’ve also supported the development of an enhanced global carbon budget, through the international Global Carbon Project, to support the global policy call to better estimate and track the path towards global zero net greenhouse gas emissions. This will provide a clearer picture on the national and global mitigation efforts required under the Paris Agreement, and will inform national and international climate change policy decision-making.
For more information
Dr Pep Canadell, CSIRO
- Global and regional carbon budgets – provides an overview of carbon budgets and research under the ESCC Hub to contribute towards efforts to develop a global carbon budget, develop an Australian carbon budget and track and project human-caused emissions.
Publications and papers:
- Cernusak LA, Haverd V, Brendel O, Thiec DL, Guehl JM, Cuntz M. 2019. Robust response of terrestrial plants to rising CO2, Trends in Plant Science, 24(7), pp. 578-586, doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2019.04.003 | Abstract
- Friedlingstein et al. 2019. Global Carbon Budget, Earth Systems Science Data, 11, 1-56, doi:10.5194/essd-11-1-2019 | Full paper
- Jackson RB, Solomon EI, Canadell JG, Cargnello M, Field CB. 2019. Methane removal and atmospheric restoration. Nature Sustainability. 2, 436–438 | Full paper
- Jackson RB, Friedlingstein P, Andrew RM, Canadell JG, Le Quéré C, Peters GP. 2019. Persistent fossil fuel growth threatens the Paris Agreement and planetary health. Environmental Research Letters, 14(12), 12100, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/ab57b3 | Full paper
- Jackson et al. 2020. Increasing anthropogenic methane emissions arise equally from agricultural and fossil fuel sources. Environmental Research Letters, 15(7), doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab9ed2 | Full paper
- Kondo et al. 2019. State of the science in reconciling top-down and bottom-up approaches for terrestrial CO2 budget. Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/gcb.149171 | Abstract
- Le Quéré C, Jackson RB, Jones MW. et al. 2020. Temporary reduction in daily global CO2 emissions during the COVID-19 forced confinement. Nature Climate Change, 10, 647–653, doi: 10.1038/s41558-020-0797-x | Full paper
- Le Quere et al. 2021. Fossil fuel CO2 emissions in the pre-COVID era. Nature Climate Change, 11, pp. 197–199, doi: 10.1038/s41558-021-01001-0 | Full paper
- Mathew et al. 2020. Opportunities and challenges in using remaining carbon budgets to guide climate policy, Nature Geoscience, 13, pp 769–779, doi: 10.1038/s41561-020-00663-3 | Abstract
- Pan S, Pan N, Tian H, Friedlingstein P, Sitch S, Shi H, Arora VK, Haverd V, Jain AK, Kato E, Lienert S, Lombardozzi D, Nabel JEMS, Ottlé C, Poulter B, Zaehle S, Running SW. 2020. Evaluation of global terrestrial evapotranspiration using state-of-the-art approaches in remote sensing, machine learning and land surface modeling, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 24 (3), pp. 1485-1509, doi:10.5194/hess-24-1485-2020 | Full paper
- Peters et al. 2019. Carbon dioxide emissions continue to grow amidst slowly emerging climate policies. Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/s41558-019-0659-6 | Full paper
- Saunois et al. 2019 The global methane budget 2000-2017. Earth Systems Science Data, doi:10.5194/essd-2019-128 | Full paper
- Yun JM, Jeong SJ, Ho CH, Park HY, et al. 2020. Enhanced regional terrestrial carbon uptake over Korea revealed by atmospheric CO2 measurements from 1999 to 2017. Global Change Biology, 26:3368–3383, doi:10.1111/gcb.15061 | Abstract
This project is contributing to the following climate challenge:
Research in this project will assess the potential of land-based carbon sequestration and its vulnerability under future climates. It will also track Australian and global carbon budgets.
This work will provide agricultural and environmental systems managers with better climate information with which to make management decisions.