White Paper to Draft Legislation – ERF

In case you have not heard: The Clean Energy Regulator survives – it was an error the government has corrected on 7 May 2014. What was intended was to say the Clean Energy Fund is gone. Thank you Greg Hunt for your courage in having that clarified.

It is also hoped you heard late Friday 9th May 2014 the Federal Government released its exposure draft legislation for the Emissions Reduction Fund. They want you to be quick in responding -Two weeks have been given for the review, with submissions due EST 12 noon, Friday 23 May 2014.

The key matter is the draft legislation rebadges the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act. And:

  • A broader range of activities can create “carbon abatement” and include avoidance activities
  • A broader definition of additionality is given
  • A broadening of the authority of the Clean Energy Regulator
  • Establishing the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee
  • Establishing that a yet to be (re)named CFI audit legislation will carry through the audit and assurance through the existing CFI audit legislation.

Why hoped you heard – well we did not want you going to sleep on us because we are boring!

Those that see opportunity are, for instance:

Currently celebrating their 30th year – Energetics consult and offer fee for service activities, and they say:

  • Immediately assess the abatement opportunities you have to create emission reductions to sell into the ERF
  • Understand your risk profile for future capital investments – has this shifted?
  • Assume you need a shadow carbon price
  • Comment on the draft legislation.

Of course the issue for their advise is for you to work out – www.energetics.com.au.

Those that see tragedy are, for instance:

The Climate Spectator www.businessspectator.com.au say,

“Half-baked outline

The half-baked nature of this scheme is revealed on the very first page of descriptive text within the Explanatory Memorandum, where it states:

The Emissions Reduction Fund … will allow businesses, local governments, community organisations and individuals to undertake approved emissions reduction projects and to seek funding from the government for those projects through a reverse auction or other purchasing process.

Government ignores its own red tape cutting advice

I was shocked to find no regulatory impact statement accompanying the ERF legislation, comparing this scheme against alternatives and why it represented a superior cost-benefit case.

Amidst a bonfire of red tape, the government had assured us that they were going to force public servants to see regulation in a ‘new light’ by following a seven-step guide to evaluating new regulations.”

Then finish off saying “I wonder when we’ll see the detailed cost-benefit analysis for the ERF relative to other regulatory alternatives, such as a simple price on carbon emissions.”

For CO2Land org the ‘scary spice’ is the mechanisms can change at any time at the whim of government – regardless of the pain you the business offered or suffered. Again the need for consistent policy is far greater than the words spoken to date. We also tend to agree with one aspect of Energetics spiel – prepare your alternatives. Just in case. And, you don’t have long to comment.

 

 

Its Real – again

That word ‘real’ has popped up again – and we must prepare to again endure the use of a synonym and have it portrayed as the truth. Perfect for politicians is the use of the word or term ‘real’ as it can be seen as a initial or promised activity increase and not guarantee an increased activity (it could be real activity and still lead to a decrease of activity!!). So if I say it was real at the time I acted; I have been true to my intent to act in good faith, and equally a review of my intent can happen when convenient. The issue with the word ‘real’ in this context is it literally means the activity is a cause of change.

To put this in context in August 2012, Co2Land org wrote two stories that looked at the use of ‘real’ with implications for the Carbon Farming Initiative its legislation and regulations. In the Story

Time for a real review Posted on August 20, 2012 by co2land , the opening paragraphs said:

‘Smart forms of research has found that customer service and sales skills are considered the least important when building a brand, and it would seem big brand and government know this very well. This might explain why any meaningful programs are explained in a way of the language of spin. For what is done would we not prefer to hear or feel that our policy makers value some measure of the actions and actively seek feedback from those that influence our lives at least every 6 to 12 months from a startup campaign. This view suggests government is a business – a business that must please its total stakeholder basis.

Why should this happen? Take a look at quotes taken from the writings of Laurissa Smith and Anna Vidot (www.abc.net.au ), on Monday, 20/08/2012, the story ‘Carbon farmers challenged by rigorous process’: “The guidelines which set out how they can make money from schemes like the Federal Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative are still being developed…It’s still sitting under consideration with the Domestic Offset Integrity Committee which is the committee tasked under the clean energy regulator to review the methodologies…So we hope that it’s going to become available for public interest by early 2013.” This is extremely frustrating when you consider the Department responsible made announcements of a body as set up for Carbon Offsets in June 2010.”

While numerous new methodologies are now approved – what holds true is that branded entities and those that were transitioned from the Greenhouse Friendly Program benefited, and most farmers that hoped to earn credits have not.

Then in the story Real, Additionality, RECs Posted on August 14, 2012 by co2land , the opening paragraphs it was said:

“Observing CTi’s Carbon Offsets 2 day Masterclass offering, it occurred that a US based mob was on about getting real about ‘real’ carbon offsets. Curiosity led to checking out the reporting standard AS/NZS ISO 14064, finding it is silent on the word or term ‘real’ and completely avoids the topic of additionality, was fascinating given that you can’t even conceive of an offset without the concept of additionality!

CO2Land org now ponders: If ‘real’ cannot be a guarantee of a good project outcome. It follows that the use of the word or term ‘real’ can be seen as a initial or promised activity increase and not be seen as a guarantee of an increase in the carbon offset (it could be real activity and still lead to a decrease of carbon offsets). So if I say it was real at the time I acted; it was an act in good faith only. The issue with the word ‘real’ is it literally means the activity is a cause of change.

This lead to thinking of the impact this has on the Carbon Farming Initiative as legislated when the Gold Standard and Carbon Fix require that projects be “real”, but no international standard could explain what they mean by using the terms”.

Then if you consider where ‘real’ is covered with a contrived definition and includes the concepts of completeness and accuracy in accounting, and leakage. It does so as no more than use ‘real’ as a synonym!

It would also appear that additionality is the next condition that might be the excuse that you cannot be real and CO2Land org looked a little harder (we don’t want this post to be no more than ‘hot air’) and found:

Specifically ISO 14064-2 (project accounting) does not include ‘Real’ because during development of ISO 14064-2 ‘Real’ was regarded as a programmatic rule/criteria, which is outside the scope of ISO 14064-2.

ISO 14064-2 is a standard rather than a program

ISO 14064-2 (Clause 5.4) specifies the following requirement in regards to additionality: “The project proponent shall select or establish, justify and apply criteria and procedures for demonstrating that the project results in GHG emissions reductions or removal enhancements that are additional to what would occur in the baseline scenario.”

Additionality is incorporated into ISO 14064-2 is based on the core principles of ISO standards in general, i.e. that ISO standards not be a barrier to trade (WTO-TBT – anyone following development of ISO 14067 (product) will know this is a major issue). As such, ISO standards must be policy-neutral (extended to include program-neutrality). This is of course very important for market confidence.

ISO 14064 deals with the concept of additionality by requiring that the GHG project has resulted in GHG emission reductions or removal enhancements in addition to what would have happened in the absence of that project. It does not use the term “additionality”…Thus the project proponent may apply additionality criteria and procedures, or define and use boundaries consistent with relevant legislation, policy, GHG programmes and good practice.”

Although the concept/requirement of additionality is within the requirements of ISO 14064-2, the simple reason why the ‘term’ additionality is not present within the requirements of ISO 14064-2 is because of certain sensitivities/perceptions/politics of certain parties involved in the development of the standard –

And, the following references helpful in gaining a more complete understanding:

ISO 14064-2 addresses ‘additionality’ with a general requirement and reference-out to the program rules (link = http://www.co2offsetresearch.org/policy/ISO14064.html#Additionality).

Also http://ghginstitute.org/2012/01/25/how-do-you-explain-additionality/