Review of Carbon Offsets Integrity
By Bruce Barbour - January 2023Professor Ian Chubb has completed his "Independent Review of Australian Carbon Credit Units". This review was requested by the Government as a result of various industry experts calling into question the integrity of the scheme.
The main recommendations of the review covers tightening and other changes to the governance of the scheme. That is welcome.
One of the recommendations (Recommendation 9) was that new avoided land clearance ("avoided deforestation") should no longer be included into the scheme. As this is a pollution reduction carbon credit its removal from the scheme is welcomed.
Recommendation 9 went on to say "Consideration should be given to developing new methods that incentivise the maintenance of native vegetation that has the potential to become a forest, as well as maintaining existing forests at risk of land-use conversion." It doesn't say what these new methods should be - but I would suggest a straight out ban on further clearance. Or if some clearance projects are allowed then the land owner be required to pay a price for the carbon released or else be required to purchase the number a sequestration carbon credits equivalent to the carbon released from the land clearance.
The review does not recommend the removal of landfill gas capture projects from the scheme. As stated in my earlier article, landfill gas capture is a pollution reduction method and should therefore be differentiated from the sequestration methods under the scheme. It would be preferable for this method to be removed from the scheme. Landfill gas capture is still important but it should either be encouraged with a carbon price or by Government subsidising landfill gas capture projects which may otherwise be unprofitable - or both.
The review did not look in detail at historical projects to determine whether the scheme has been rorted in the past. It did not look at whether the carbon credits generated in the past on some or many projects are legit or not, and whether the credits from these projects which are still on the ACCU Register represent real carbon savings or whether the credits should be removed. This task was not part of its specific terms of reference.
The review does not make comment on the inclusion of the different classes of carbon credits in the scheme. Nor does it look at the possibility of double counting, especially in relation to pollution reduction credits.
The review was limited in its scope. While it recommendations for better project oversight appear to be an improvement the review left a number of problems regarding the suitability of the scheme for the accuracy of Australia's total carbon emissions calculation and assurance of genuine emissions reductions unaddressed.
* * * * *Links
The "Independent Review of Australian Carbon Credit Units" web page which contains links to the report and executive summary.
Professor Andrew Macintosh's - one of the main people whose initial criticism prompted the review - assessment of the review. Spoiler - he is not happy.
The Climate Council's comments on the Chubb review.
And as usual Juice Media are telling it how it is - and this is from April / May 2022.
Other pages I have written on this subject:
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