The Australian Government’s review of its carbon credit system has recommended changes to how it is managed, but swept aside claims the scheme lacks integrity and is not delivering real cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The panel found that the Australian Carbon Credit policy is effective, however, recommended stripping the Clean Energy Regulator of some of its roles overseeing and managing the system to enhance confidence and transparency. The panel also recommended creating a carbon abatement integrity committee to replace the integrity body responsible for approving methods used to create carbon credits.
Meanwhile, the Australian Government is promising the agriculture sector will benefit from lower carbon emission limits on large polluters as it moves to reduce emissions by 43% by 2030. The safeguard mechanism which annually lowers emissions permitted before companies are penalised does not apply to agricultural operations according to federal agriculture minister Murray Watt. None of the 215 heavy emitters needing to offset emissions through the Australian Carbon Credit Units are agricultural operations.
Watt said landholders participating in carbon farming will have another revenue stream if they choose to either plant trees on their properties, preserve current vegetation or if they come up with other ways of generating emissions reduction on farm. By lowering the safeguard mechanism, Australia is effectively protecting its international trade interests as the EU are the first trading partner to introduce a carbon border adjustment tariff, taxing imports based on greenhouse gas emitted in making the products.