CANBERRA, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Australian Energy Minister Angus Taylor has dismissed data showing that the nation's greenhouse gas emissions rose for a third consecutive year in 2018.
According to the figures, which were contained in a report released by the Department of the Environment and Energy on Thursday, Australia produced 538.2 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2018, a 0.7 percent increase from the previous year.
The rise was mostly due to a 22 percent increase in liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports and rising metal production. A 2.8 percent increase in transport emissions was offset by emissions from the electricity sector falling 3.5 percent.
Responding to the report, Taylor said that emissions per capita were at their lowest level in 29 years.
He also said that the raw data failed to account for Australia's contribution to lowering emissions in other countries by exporting LNG, which produces fewer emissions than coal.
"This is a substantial global contribution to be proud of," he told Fairfax Media.
"The government is not going to trash successful Australian export industries that are reducing global emissions, in order to reduce Australian emissions."
The government has been criticized for failing to release the emissions data for the final quarter of 2018 by the May 31 deadline set by the Senate.
Mark Butler, the opposition Australian Labor Party's climate change and energy spokesperson, said Australia was not on track to meet its commitment to reduce emissions by 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
"Not only did Angus Taylor not release the emissions data by the deadline set by the Senate last Friday, today's release shows once again that the government will try every trick in the book to avoid scrutiny of their record on tackling climate change," Butler said on Thursday.
Taylor and the government remain adamant that the country is on track to meet its climate commitments.