Last week the Hon Chris Bowen released the final report of the Independent Review of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs), with the Australian Government accepting in principle, all 16 recommendations put forward by the panel which was led by former Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb AC.
The Chubb Review was formed in response to Professor Andrew MacIntosh questioning the integrity of the Emission Reduction Fund’s (ERF) methodologies in a series of academic papers. The review has generally found the ACCU system to be “essentially sound”, with the recommendations focused on increasing transparency to increase public confidence. This includes development of procedures to establish clear co-benefit guidelines and the need for Carbon Service Providers and Carbon Market Advisors to be both accredited and regulated.
The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) welcomes findings from the report that the scheme is sound, the level of abatement is correct, and the policy can effectively assist in reducing Australia’s emissions. The integrity and transparency of the scheme is vital to industry’s confidence in it and its long-term success.
QFF also notes that the review recommended that a Carbon Abatement Integrity Committee (CAIC) be established to assure method integrity. This was based on the identified need for a new body, differently constituted and supported, with the major responsibility of assuring method integrity. It has been recommended that the CAIC should have a membership of a full-time Chair and at least four part-time members with a range of skills, expertise and experience. Clarification on the details of these skills and experience is yet to be provided.
Approximately 83 per cent of Queensland’s land area is managed by agriculture business. Agriculture and more specifically, farmers, are a key, if not the key, stakeholder in the carbon market. It is critical that agriculture have a representative appointed to the Carbon Abatement Integrity Committee.
An understanding of farm management, regenerative agriculture, soil health, the interplay between sound environmental stewardship, food production systems and improved productivity are all important considerations in the future of the carbon market.
QFF calls on the Federal Government to ensure farm management is specified as a key skill set necessary to the makeup of the CAIC and agriculture has a seat at the table.