Thanks for asking about Tasmania’s contribution to climate change!
To assess states’ or countries’ contribution to the gases that create climate change, climate scientists try to measure how much greenhouse gas is release into the atmosphere because of human activities. Trapped greenhouse gases cause warming of the atmosphere and the surface of the Earth.
Most carbon emissions come from burning fossil fuels or wood for transport, heating our homes, and industrial processes. Methane is emitted by agriculture and waste. The other category is land-related emissions. Land-related emissions simply mean the stored carbon lost through forestry activities such as logging and land clearing for agriculture.
Tasmania is unusual in Australia because we generate 100% renewable electricity from hydropower and wind turbines. If we look at Tasmania’s emissions, agriculture made the biggest contribution of 2.4 megatonnes of greenhouse gases in 2019 (that’s the weight of 400,000 elephants), followed by transport, at 1.8 megatonnes, and burning fuels for industrial operations, together with household heating and cooking, at 1.75 megatonnes..
The good news is that despite all the emissions that have been released by human activities, Tasmanian forests neutralize all these emissions! Trees breathe in carbon dioxide and turn it into carbon and oxygen. The latest data (2019) tells us Tasmania is currently removing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it is producing.
But that’s not the whole story – the reporting doesn’t count the emissions from forest that burns in bushfires. As the climate heats up, bushfires are more likely to happen, so we need to make sure we use healthy fire and forestry techniques to prevent out-of-control fires that could be a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions. Let’s give a big shout out to Tasmanian forests and make sure we protect them!!