Carbon

Govt to push forward with proposed Integrated Farm carbon method this year

Eric Barker, 20/03/2024

THE Federal department of climate change says it plans to progress a new integrated carbon farming methodology later this year after concerns were raised about it pausing the process earlier this week.

Late last week, the department of climate change, energy and water contacted the carbon industry with a proposal to strip back the new Integrated Farm and Land Management methodology – which will allow for multiple projects to run on one piece of land.

The carbon industry replied with strong opposition to the proposal and has been working with the department on ways forward for the past week. Today, the department contacted the industry to say it was pushing forward with the methodology.

John Connor

“The Government is continuing to work on ensuring the integrity of the ACCU Scheme. New methods under the Scheme will make an important contribution to achievement of the Government’s emissions reductions targets of a 43pc reduction on 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050,” the email to industry said.

Carbon Market Institute chief executive officer John Connor said resourcing within the department appeared to be the main issue – with the new methodology being a fundamental change in the way carbon projects are administered.

“We are very keen to see the Federal Government’s May budget and we hope it makes sure the department has the resources it needs to progress this methodology,” Mr Connor said.

Part of the issue is that old methodologies which are currently used for carbon projects are starting to be phased out in preparation for the new methodology. The methodologies being phased out cover the vast majority of Australian Carbon Credit Unit supply.

“The industry has s strong view on this, they need to push through with IFLM as a matter of priority,” Mr Connor said.

“This method covers some of the only ways to generate ACCUs at a large scale and the longer it takes the more of an impact it will have on supply in the medium term – developing these projects often takes years.”

Industry has also been advocating for some interim measures, including the extension of the methodology used for tree plantings.

What is the process now?

The department is currently working with an industry group to design the methodology, before sending it to an independent body called the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee who needs to sign it off, before the minister gives it the final tick.

One of the main issues the department is working through is a debate over the impact of grazing practice changes on vegetation growth.

The department said in its email that it was trying to work through some of the more complicated aspects of what is being proposed with the view of making sure it stands up to scrutiny of the independent body.

“The Minister cannot make a method unless the ERAC assesses it as meeting the legislated Offsets Integrity Standards.

“For example, meeting the offsets integrity standard for ‘clear and convincing’ evidence will require further work by the department to document, test and compile relevant evidence as part of developing the proposed IFLM method. This will be informed by further engagement with stakeholders, including land management academics and practitioners, and industry and carbon market participants.

“Dependent on progress made to support the initial scope of the method, the department plans to be in a position to take a draft method to the ERAC for advice in the second half of 2024.

“Additionally, the department will also work to propose a draft method to ‘remake’ the Reforestation by Environmental and Mallee Plantings method as a priority. Further information on this work will be made available on the department’s website shortly.”

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