THE newly elected federal government has used the tenth anniversary of Australia’s carbon market to announce a review of some of the controversial methods used to generate credits.
Federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen announced the former chief scientist Professor Ian Chubb will lead the carbon culture review. Mr Bowen said he would announce the other members of the review panel shortly.
Earlier this year, a former adviser to the LNP government and the Australian National University Professor Andrew Macintosh called the three main carbon farming methods a “fraud” – he told the media that these methods accounted for 80% of Australian credits.
In response, Mr. Bowen pledged in the election to review these methods. Speaking at the Carbon Market Institute Symposium today, he said the integrity of the carbon market will be key to the government’s agenda.
“A well-functioning carbon market is so important because a number of our policies will facilitate an increased role for carbon credits,” he said.
“I want this review to be comprehensive, I want it to be concise and I want it to be completely independent. We also need to recognize what has been achieved and what can be achieved.
“I really have no opinion on Professor Macintosh’s complaints, my opinion will be Professor Chubb’s opinion in six months. If Ian Chubb finds a problem we will try to solve it, if he finds no problem we will we will continue.
The government has also promised to review and make changes to the safeguard mechanism, which requires Australia’s big emitters to offset if they exceed a benchmark level. Mr Bowen said he hoped the government’s more aggressive targets encouraged landowner participation.
“I hope six months is short enough not to create uncertainty, but long enough for Professor Chubb to do his job,” he said.
“In the meantime, I am very much listening to any signals we can send to encourage continued market participation while this review is underway. But I think carbon trading will become more important under our government.
The methods have not only been controversial for their integrity, many residents of West Queensland and New South Wales have complained that they take people out of the areas. For this reason, outgoing Agriculture Minister David Littleproud planned to mandate reviews of all new large-scale projects.
With the announcement of the review earlier this week, Professor MacIntosh and a team of scientists have made a series of recommendations in The conversation today. (See more here)
Carbon market welcomes review
CEO of the Carbon Market Institute John Connor welcomed the federal government’s announcement. He said the organization was eager to see the government’s climate policy.
“As we look back on what has been a tumultuous decade for the market, with some elements repealed and others advanced, today offers an important opportunity to reflect, but also to galvanize for what is a vital pivot. for the future of Australian business and emissions,” said John Connor, CEO of CMI.
“We are now on the verge of moving from a taxpayer-funded credit system to one that will be primarily driven by the private sector, as it responds to the demand for more stringent compliance obligations, but also covenants volunteers in the transition to net-zero emissions.”
“However, for the market to fulfill its objective of driving real and additional emission reductions and removals, and directing finance to where it is most needed, the priority must be to ensure that our carbon credits and their governance are fit for purpose.”
“As such, we support the upcoming review as a key opportunity to build on and improve the integrity and investability of the carbon credit framework which can also be leveraged to further significant environmental, indigenous and social co-benefits supporting sustainable land management and biodiversity conservation. .”
Must be for the farmer
The review was also well received by RegenCo, which has projects across the country. But CEO and Managing Director Greg Noonan said the results must favor agriculture.
“Australia’s carbon farming industry has grown in size over the past decade. However, some historical carbon farming activities were seen as lacking in rigor and called into question the integrity of the entire market, triggering the need for this review,” Mr. Noonan said.
“Ultimately, this review has to be about the farmer. As an industry, we must do everything we can to support integrity, trust and certainty, and improve the conditions for investment.
Co-Founder and Head of Science and Strategy Tim Moore said he hoped the review would be quick, independent and lead to changes that would build more confidence in the industry.
“Advanced technology will improve the ride and performance of everyone in the industry and build market confidence in the use of carbon offsets as part of the emissions reduction challenge,” Moore said.
“Carbon farming has the potential to increase agricultural productivity, deliver important environmental outcomes and generate new employment and income opportunities for rural and regional Australia.”