Deakin University

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Production of a map of greenhouse gas emissions and energy use from Australian agriculture

conference contribution
posted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by J Navarro, Brett BryanBrett Bryan, O Marinoni, S Eady, A Halog
Abstract: The agriculture and forestry sector accounts for approximately 24% of total greenhouse gas
(GHG) emissions in Australia. Over the years researchers have produced new knowledge about agricultural
GHG emissions and energy use patterns and opportunities to decrease them, albeit in small-scale studies or
large-scale ones with coarse resolution. Linking the multiple, diverse and rich datasets around agricultural
production in Australia into one dataset that allows for an estimate of GHG emissions and energy use related
to agriculture at a national scale and high resolution has not been done before.
The approach we describe here is based upon a link between operational data sourced from gross margin
(GM) handbooks and life cycle assessment (LCA) process data. We have collected and processed these
datasets to produce a comprehensive database of typical agricultural operations covering 72 commodities
grown in 42 regions across Australia. We have also created a system that estimates the GHG emission and
energy use patterns of the aforementioned commodities using the best available LCA process data.
To capture GHG emissions of non-domestically produced fertiliser, we queried the United Nations
Commodity Trade Statistics Database (COMTRADE) to analyse the fertiliser and pesticide import patterns
for Australia between 2000-2010. This analysis determined the average country energy-mix for fertiliser and
pesticide manufacturing and allowed linking the associated GHG emissions to Australian agricultural
Finally we spatialised agricultural operational data, emissions and energy use at the national scale using the
latest Australian Land Use Map (2005/06). Our findings suggest that in 2005/06 greenhouse gas emissions
related to Australian agricultural production equate to a total of 95.8 Mt CO2-e using 75.7 GWh of energy.
According to our results 29.4% of these emissions come from sources that were categorised as nonagricultural
(e.g. industrial processes or energy use) in the Australian National Greenhouse Gas Inventory
(NGGI) 2006. We find that the provision of transparently modeled GHG emissions and having them linked
to a spatially explicit component helps identifying new opportunities for emission reduction and facilitates an
assessment of their effects. For example, our findings suggest production of ethanol from corn stover and
sugarcane bagasse could have avoided 4.37 Mt CO2-e emissions (4.56% of total) without affecting food



Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand. Conference (20th : 2013 : Adelaide, S.Aust.)


Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand Conference


621 - 627


Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand Inc.


Adelaide, S.Aust.

Place of publication

Canberra, Vic.

Start date


End date






Publication classification

E Conference publication; E1.1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2013, The Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand Inc.


J Piantadosi, R Anderssen, J Boland

Title of proceedings

MODSIM 2013 : Adapting to change: the multiple roles of modelling : Proceedings of the 20th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation