In addition to emissions produced through primary actions such as the combustion of fossil fuels, industrial processes produce significant added emissions called ‘fugitive’ emissions. These occur through leaks, venting and the irregular or unintended release of gases released during extraction, processing, production, storage, distribution and transmission of greenhouse gas emitting fuels.
Following Step Four of our plan, process emissions and fugitive emissions from the industry sector are reduced via means including the partial use of bio-coke in iron and steel production, and carbon capture and storage (CCS). It’s worth noting that these non-energy emissions are well suited to CCS, given the relatively high purity of CO2 outflows.
Soil and livestock emissions are reduced through widespread use of best practice farming techniques. In the example of beef production (which is currently a major source of methane emissions), this includes intensification of breeding (increasing the productivity of livestock without increasing the amount of land needed for that livestock - for example, by choosing breeds of cows with a higher milk yield), improvements in feeding and pasture practices, as well as enhanced breeding and herd selection for lower livestock methane emissions.
Australia has great potential to offset emissions via forestry bio-sequestration.
The implementation of price incentives for planting and raising carbon forests would assist large shifts in land use - from agriculture (in particular livestock grazing) to carbon forestry. Carbon forests provide farmers with an opportunity to diversify incomes, enhancing biodiversity and controlling salinity and erosion.
In our plan, the total uptake of carbon forestry was capped by the volume required to meet the budget recommended by Australia’s Climate Change Authority. The amount is approximately a quarter of the total economic potential identified, and around a third of plantings offering returns at least five times higher than their original use. A range of environmental factors, including land use, water availability and biodiversity priorities have been considered in this analysis (see our Technical Report for further details).
In our plan several scenarios were developed to investigate the total land area and the annual planting rate needed to compensate for all remaining positive emissions by 2050.
These included options to offset the residual emissions from the 100% renewables grid scenario and the additional emissions associated with the CCS scenario. Both scenarios are conservative in that the total volume of required abatement is delivered even with constraints such as annual planting rates or allowances for achieving biodiversity outcomes. Such variations result in 20-30% more land being required to offset residual national emissions than needed in an unconstrained approach which doesn’t account for biodiversity.
Further information about non-energy emissions opportunities in all sectors can be found in the Pathways to Deep Decarbonisation: Technical Report.