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Climate Change Authority releases Review of International Offsets

Climate Change Authority Media Release

Released today, the Climate Change Authority’s Review of International Offsets finds the international carbon market is still evolving in response to the Paris Agreement and calls for publication of a National Carbon Market Strategy that makes the most of this opportunity for Australia to accelerate ambition on emissions reduction.

The review finds that while carbon is priced and traded in Australia, the market is fragmented, inefficient and complicated.

Parts of the market that contribute to meeting Australia’s emissions reduction target, such as the Safeguard Mechanism, are isolated from the voluntary market used by companies and other organisations. And the voluntary market is largely remote from the high-quality, transparent emissions measurement systems that countries use in their national emissions inventories.

“It makes sense – and it is in Australia’s national interest – to play a leading role in the development of a liquid, high integrity and effective global carbon market,” said Climate Change Authority CEO Brad Archer.

“Bringing voluntary and compliance carbon markets together could help accelerate global decarbonisation and enhance the integrity of carbon offsets.”

The Authority is recommending the Government publish a National Carbon Market Strategy, including to:

  • make Australia’s carbon price more visible, understandable, and certain, helping to embed decarbonisation in everyday decision-making;
  • uphold the integrity of offsets – in both the ways they are generated and the ways they are used – to build confidence and trust in Australia’s approach; and
  • clarify the role of domestic and international units in the mix of voluntary action and compliance mechanisms to help smooth and accelerate Australia’s decarbonisation.

In responding to the terms of reference, the Authority puts forward 18 recommendations for the Government to consider, relating to:

  • the evolving rules for international carbon trading being put in place to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Agreement, the implications for compliance and voluntary action contributing to national emissions targets, and the opportunities presented to enhance the integrity of carbon offsets;
  • setting out the Government’s strategy for the role of carbon markets in contributing to achieving Australia’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement; and
  • the eligibility criteria for units accepted under Climate Active and the Indo-Pacific Carbon Offsets Scheme (IPCOS), including introducing a phase out of older units and reviewing others again by 2025.

“While achieving deep emissions reductions is critical, carbon offsets are an important and complementary part of the approach to reaching net zero emissions and beyond”, Mr Archer said.

“High integrity offsets allow nations and companies to set more ambitious targets and accelerate decarbonisation beyond what‘s achievable from direct emissions reductions.

“This is particularly the case for very hard-to-abate emissions. Offsets can help smooth the transition away from emissions intensive activities, and put the necessary ‘net’ in net zero emissions by 2050.

“Carbon markets also provide a means of channelling public and private finance to support our regional neighbours leapfrog the emissions-intensive economic development trajectories of industrialised nations.

“With Australia adopting a more ambitious 2030 emissions reduction target on the way to net zero emissions by 2050, we can turn our minds to how governments and businesses can collaborate to achieve those goals as soon as possible and ensure Australia’s future prosperity,” Mr Archer said.

“It’s important that offsets have integrity and that they are not double counted, for example. Our review of the criteria applied to international carbon offsets will provide confidence in the quality and integrity of carbon offsets being used here.”

The Climate Change Authority’s Review of International Offsets responds to a request from the former Government to provide advice – in the context of the Paris Agreement rules – on the criteria that should be applied to international offsets under the Government’s Climate Active carbon neutral certification program, the Indo-Pacific Carbon Offsets Scheme, and for other uses.

Download the Review of International Offsets from the Climate Change Authority’s website.


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  1. Harry Lime

    In other words…stop all the fudging and bullshit played by the multinational fossil fuel crooks to avoid responsibility…and make them pony up tax on OUR resources.And, are you listening Albo?…NO NEW FOSSIL FUEL BOONDOGGLES.Fuck me, when are our governments going to cut themselves out of the failed neoliberal horseshit? Everything is window dressing until they do.We are out of time.

  2. RoadKillCafe

    Well, fuck me, why don’t we just piss into the wind, why don’t we cut off our noses to spite our face. Fuck me, I’m sick of this fucking bullshit. Europe, massive drought, extraordinary heat, no fucking water, is this where the water wars begin? Antarctica, massive ice loss. For fuck sake wake the fuck up. No fucking time left for considered, polite communiques, the paddle is long gone, canoe has fucking big hole, we in very deep shit. Love the one you’re with and kiss your arse goodbye.

  3. B Sullivan

    Harry Lime: “when are our governments going to cut themselves out of the failed neoliberal horseshit?”

    Perhaps when Australia becomes a true democracy and elects a parliament that properly reflects the will of the people. A fair go for all voters.

    In the last election more people voted for the Greens who only won 4 seats in parliament than for the Nationals and the Liberal National Party of Queensland combined, that won 31 seats. The MSM doesn’t think this incredibly disproportionate result is newsworthy.

    This tells the PM and his rivals that if they want to be in government they must not offend Queensland and regional voters and that most of those voters are still opposed to action against Climate Change.

    If Albanese wanted to he could set an emissions target of 75% and ban all new Coal mines and coal fired power stations and the legislation would be passed in both Houses of Parliament. (Unless members of Labor Party opposed it.)

    We could have a moratorium on coal, and the public money currently propping up the industry could be used to enable export farmers concerned about foot and mouth, uncertain markets and the inevitable floods and drought to become solar farmers effortlessly producing electricity to extract clean green hydrogen gas from water as a cheaper non polluting substitute for LNG power stations.

    Two thirds of Australian agricultural produce is exported, not to the needy but to indulge the wealthy. It is a big producer of carbon emissions in both production and transport and the export market is worth less than the Overseas Student racket. Agriculture is highly detrimental to the environment, far more than mining and Australia is particularly unsuitable for agriculture in any case. The sector’s overinflated importance is due to those electoral figures that makes appeasing the regions a number one priority for both Labor and the Coalition. Despite becoming more and more economically unviable people are encouraged to stay in the regions because politicians can use their seats to control parliament without a democratic majority.

    Offer them a guaranteed income to put solar panels on their over cleared land and collect hydrogen gas from them. Transport gas to where it is required on the solar powered electric rail system built with the money saved from the Coalition’s Gas Led Recovery Trans-Continental Pipeline, and the money spent repairing regional roads due to the damage caused by heavy agricultural transport. And tell the price gouging LNG producers to bugger off.

    There will still be sufficient agriculture to feed Australia. Labour would be freed up to pick fruit on remaining conventional farms. And perhaps by example Australia might inspire other nations in the transition away from carbon emitting industries.

    And don’t try to get the private sector to finance it. Pay for it with public funds so that the public gets to profit from the enterprise instead of privileged wealth accumulators. Borrow the money from future generations if necessary. They will be the beneficiaries, and grateful for at least having a future.

    Or we could have a carbon offset scheme and and use it as an excuse to keep on polluting as usual and appease the regions with lots of lucrative green-washing scams.

  4. Fred

    BS: I like your vision but the goal of 75% by 2030 is impossible to meet. Take green hydrogen… how long will it take to develop the standards then build the generation, storage, transport, distribution network and “end use” equipment (fuel cells, turbines, etc.) for a new fuel? As for large amounts of solar and wind generators, we are beholden to China for supply as we do not have the manufacturing capability (which we should develop). We need to upgrade the grid in line with whatever generation capacity is installed.

    At the rate at which our governments have managed to get things done it will take them the next 8+ years to come up with the strategy and plan let alone hit 75% reduction.

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