Media Releases | 7th Mar, 2023

Gas to burn through a third of Victoria’s emissions by 2035: new report

Gas burned in homes and small businesses, mainly for heating and hot water, could be responsible for one-third of the state’s total climate pollution by 2035 without urgent action to switch to electric appliances, a new report from Environment Victoria has warned today. 

The report is the first independent public analysis of the Andrews Government’s election pledge to cut emissions by 75 to 80% by 2035. It finds: 

  • Closing coal power stations will not be enough to reach the target, leaving an annual ‘emissions gap’ of between 18 and 24 million tonnes of carbon pollution. Other sectors will need to step up to fill this gap, and reducing gas use is a priority. 
  • If the current rate of gas consumption continues, then gas burned in Victorian homes and small businesses would be responsible for between 29% and 37% of Victorian emissions by 2035. This is more than triple the current share. 
  • If gas consumption only declines slightly, following the slow transition preferred by gas distribution companies, then gas burned in Victorian homes and small businesses would be responsible for between 22% and 28% of Victorian emissions by 2035. This is still at least double the current share. 
  • With the electricity grid rapidly becoming cleaner, efficient electric appliances such as reverse cycle air conditioners are already better for the climate than gas heaters, and this trend will continue as more renewable energy comes online. 
  • If gas consumption follows the forecast in Viva Energy’s gas import terminal proposal, then the gas sector would be responsible for nearly half (45%) of Victorian emissions in 2035. 

Environment Victoria CEO Jono La Nauze said: 

“What this report makes clear is that gas is set to become Victoria’s biggest source of emissions if we don’t take urgent action. 

“The Andrews Government has world-leading climate targets and a comprehensive plan to shift the electricity sector from coal to renewables but more than 2 million homes are still hooked up to fossil gas – a highly polluting and increasingly expensive fuel. 

“If we continue to burn gas at the current rate – as some LNG import terminals have proposed – then gas burned in homes and small businesses would be responsible for about one-third of the state’s total emissions in a dozen years. 

“If we include manufacturing and industry, gas consumption could account for about half of our emissions by 2035. 

“Victorian households are already struggling with high gas prices, and this new report adds urgency to the need to get off gas as quickly as possible. 

“The government’s Gas Substitution Roadmap needs to be updated with clear timelines, more ambitious goals and compelling incentives to help all Victorian households switch to efficient electric appliances and start saving money this winter. 

“Any program needs to be targeted at low-income households and renters who  might struggle to afford the upfront costs of upgrading their homes to become all-electric. Right now households are being slugged with massive disconnection fees for getting off gas and that needs to stop. 

“The Andrews Government should reject LNG import terminal proposals that are based on high levels of gas consumption continuing for decades. Our research shows these proposals are incompatible with achieving Victoria’s new climate targets and would place a greater burden on other sectors of the economy to reduce emissions. 

“The best thing we can do for our health, our planet and household budgets is to get off gas as soon as possible.” 

Read the report (PDF):  

Key charts (can be embedded): 

Media contact

James Norman, Media and Content Manager

Ph: 0451291775