Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions skyrocket from tree clearing

Australia’s tree-clearing emissions have nearly doubled in three years!

  • 79% Queensland’s tree-clearing rates have doubled since Newman LNP Government gutted laws
  • Tree-clearing emissions could wipe out Turnbull’s Emissions Reduction Fund in two years
  • Tree clearing, a major contributor to climate change, is spiralling out of control again, led by Queensland.


The CO2 Report

What we're doing about it

What you can do about it


The CO2 Report

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions from tree clearing are also skyrocketing, with land-sector emissions almost doubling in the past three years while emissions from most other sectors are dropping. LULUCF (Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry) emissions increased 79% from the equivalent of 13 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2012 to 23Mt CO2e in 2015, more than 10 times faster than any other sector, according to data from the Federal Government’s Tracking to 2020 report.


The report estimates that tree-clearing emissions may reach 55 million tonnes a year, about 10% of Australia’s entire annual emissions and an almost 50% increase from 37.2Mt in 2013.


  • Australia’s tree-clearing emissions were dropping until the Newman LNP Government gutted Queensland’s tree-clearing laws and unleashed the bulldozers. In the last year of published data, Queensland cleared nearly 300,000 hectares, much more than the entire area of the ACT, in 2013-14.  
  • Queensland’s tree clearing has almost doubled in two years, from 153,646 hectares in 2011-12 to 296,324ha in 2013-14, with emissions increasing from 22 million tonnes CO2e to 36Mt.   
  • Victoria, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania have also weakened tree-clearing laws, and the Baird Government in NSW is intent on following suit.


This is a national tree-clearing crisis that requires strong national action. Having just agreed to the landmark Paris Agreement, the Turnbull Government can not ignore this problem – it must act immediately to ensure a strong national plan is in place to control tree clearing.


  Australia needs accurate and transparent national standards and reporting of emissions from tree clearing. There is clearly a need for a strong national plan to address the tree clearing crisis, including high quality data and timely reporting across the country.  



What we’re doing about it


We’re determined to once again bring the bulldozers under control.  


  • We continue to commission groundbreaking research that give evidence on the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions created by clearing and burning forests and woodlands on climate change. 
  • We are rigourously lobbying decision makers,
  • We are running targeted advertisements.
  • We hold public meetings and events to educate and involve local communities.
  • We conduct regular trainings for local supporters to pressure their member of parliament.

What you can do about it

Here are some of the everyday things you can do to to make a difference:
  • Reuse sheets of paper that have been used on one side for drawing, writing, etc.
  • Print and photocopy on both sides of the paper. 
  • Use e-mail whenever possible. 
  • Recycle all paper that can’t be reused. 
  • Put up a NO JUNK MAIL notice on your mailbox. 
  • Buy and use recycled office paper.
  • Become a member of The Wilderness Society to support our long-term work against land clearing.