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Federal government must not reward illegal land clearers with carbon credits

The Federal Government must maintain carbon offset rules that exclude regrowth on illegally cleared land and the planting of weed species from the national carbon credit scheme.  

The government yesterday begun a public consultation asking stakeholders whether the exclusion applied to illegal and ecologically degrading processes should remain in place. [1] 

“It’s astonishing that the government even thinks this is a reasonable question to ask,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said. 

“It speaks volumes about this government’s values and its approach to climate change and conservation. 

“Energy Minister Angus Taylor must maintain these exclusions — to do otherwise would reward companies and individuals who are illegally clearing land and degrading our natural world. 

"There are already serious questions about the integrity of Australia’s carbon credit scheme. Lifting these exclusions would make it a joke.” 

The proposed amendments to the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Rule 2015 come as the government announced another major change to the carbon market. 

Minister Taylor has announced carbon traders will be allowed to re-sell credits already bought by the Commonwealth, a move that will significantly distort the carbon market and set back Australia’s emission reduction efforts by 112 million tonnes. [2] 

“This reckless market intervention by Mr Taylor undermines the integrity of the carbon market in Australia and will slow the adoption of new emissions reduction measures,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said. 

“This does nothing to reduce emissions or increase carbon sequestration – it is an accounting trick that will enrich carbon traders.” 

“Today’s creative accounting by the Morrison Government is equivalent to almost the entire annual emissions of NSW. [3] 

“If it was worried about carbon traders welching on contracts, the government had many options to enforce those contracts,” Mr Gambian said. 

“Instead, the government has delivered a $2.6 billion windfall to carbon traders, at the expense of the integrity of the market and our emissions reduction goals.”  

Background 

[1] Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Rule 2015: proposed amendments to excluded offsets projects 3 March 2022 (link 

[2] Clean Energy Regulator, The evolving carbon market: transitional arrangements for Emissions Reduction Fund fixed delivery contracts 04 March 2022 (link) 

[3] 2019 emissions from the State Greenhouse Gas Inventory.  

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