Tracking city carbon emissions

The City of Adelaide is internationally recognised for our commitment to report and reduce carbon emissions. Our community has a shared ambition for the city and North Adelaide to become a carbon neutral city.

At Council, we are playing our part, ensuring our own operations are certified carbon neutral through the Australian Government’s Climate Active program. See more about carbon neutrality in Council operations.

Trends in city emissions

City-wide emissions have been decreasing, while the city itself has been growing.

Between 2007 and 2020 financial years our residential population grew by 41 percent and Gross Regional Product increased by 45 percent. See more economic and demographic insights.  

Over this time overall greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 21 per cent.

  • Emissions from stationary energy decreased by 51 per cent – primarily due to the State’s transition to renewable electricity.
  • Emissions from transport increased by 37 per cent – which reflects the growth in city users.
  • Emissions from waste make up less than 10 per cent of the total for the financial year 2020, however this source has also been growing.

Some other key points are: 

  • emissions from energy use in commercial buildings represented 36 per cent of the total in financial year 2020, the majority from electricity use.
  • Private car travel and aviation made up the majority of transport-related emissions, more than trains, trucks, bus, and commercial vehicles combined.
Graph carbon emissions

Explore city carbon emissions

The City of Adelaide has been tracking community greenhouse gas emissions through preparing inventories since 2007. In 2015, we established a shared ambition for our city to be carbon neutral.

The visualisations below provide a detailed breakdown of community greenhouse gas emissions for you to explore. 

Tips for reading the charts
  • Use the arrows to scroll between the three pages.
  • Use the check boxes to view only energy, transport, or waste.
  • Page 1 shows the trends for 10 years at a glance, including percentage change from the base year or the previous year.
  • Page 2 provides a deep dive into the most recent year and more information about each emissions source.
  • Page 3 shows the emissions data as ‘scopes’ – a standard international measure.

How is it measured?

The City of Adelaide community greenhouse gas emissions inventory is prepared in accordance with the Global Protocol for Community Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories.

The protocol measures the emissions within the City of Adelaide boundary, using “scopes” which allows international comparisons (see definitions). This methodology is used to report internationally to the CDP platform (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) on climate data and action.

What is the City of Adelaide doing?

Like many global cities, increases in some emissions sources are associated with growing populations and this is a world-wide challenge. See how City of Adelaide is responding to climate change, how we are reducing Council emissions, and our aspirations to be a carbon neutral city.

Did you know?

The Australian Energy Market Operator reported that 56 per cent of South Australia’s electricity came from renewable sources in 2020.

In 2020, Adelaide scored the top grade on climate action from the international reporting platform CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project). Only 88 of the over 800 cities who reported their environmental data through CDP received an A grade in 2020.