Australia's greenhouse gas emissions fell in the year to June, the first decline since a greenhouse inventory started in 1998, as the economy slowed due to the global financial crisis. Australian National Greenhouse Accounts just released estimated the country emitted 544 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in the year � a fall of 1.2% compared with the year earlier. "This is the first time the annual emissions growth has been negative since the series commenced in September 1998," said the Australian Government's greenhouse gas inventory report. Australia's average annual emissions growth rate since 1998 has been 1.5%, said the report. "The negative emission growth recorded in the four quarters to June 2009 is considered temporary and is mostly attributable to relatively low emissions in the March and June quarters in key sectors, mainly reflecting the economic slowdown," it said. The report said emissions from the steel industry had fallen as a result of a temporary reduction in production capacity at the Port Kembla steelworks, emissions from agriculture and transport declined by 1.4% each, and low industrial production affected national demand for energy. Australia produces about 1.5% of global emissions. But it is the world's biggest coal exporter and one of the highest per-capita emitters due to reliance on coal for 80% of electricity.


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