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Review Of Australia’s Carbon Credit Units Announced – Environmental Law

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The Federal Government has announced the appointment of an
independent panel (Panel) to review the integrity
of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs).

The panel, to be comprised of 4 experts, will be led by former
Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, and is tasked to respond to
criticisms that have been raised about the integrity of ACCUs
issued under Australia’s carbon credit system.

The Panel is to provide its report, including recommendations,
by 31 December 2022.

The review is critical given that the emissions reduction or net
zero commitments of many, including government and the private
sector, will depend at least in part on reputable carbon credits.
The review will also be important to support the foreshadowed
changes to the safeguard mechanism, directed at a gradual reduction
in emissions from Australia’s largest emitters.

The terms of reference for the Panel include evaluating and
advising on:

  • the governance of the scheme;

  • whether the methods by which ACCUs are generated meet the
    offsets integrity standards;

  • whether current processes are appropriate to manage negative
    social, economic and environmental impact, including on
    agricultural productivity and regional communities;

  • the extent to which carbon projects are currently supporting
    positive environment, social and economic outcomes including for
    biodiversity and the participation of First Nations people;

  • opportunities to maximise non-carbon benefits of projects.

Importantly, the terms of reference appears to be recognising
the potential of carbon credits to generate co-benefits, which we
already see leading to increased integrity and value in the market.
The terms of reference also direct the panel to evaluate any
unintended impacts, particularly on agriculture.

It is expected that there will be broad ranging public
consultation with those directly involved in carbon credits, as
well as First Nations Groups, business, government and the broader
community, including an opportunity for submissions.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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