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Baseline variation

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07 March 2019


​On 7​ March 2019, amendments to the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Safeguard Mechanism) Rule 2015 came into effect. These amendments apply from the 2018-19 safeguard compliance period, onwards. Tools and resources available on the Clean Energy Regulator website will be updated shortly to reflect the amendments.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances under the safeguard mechanism, please contact the Clean Energy Regulator.

Baseline variation for an improvement in emissions intensity  

Some business growth is incremental and will not meet the definition of ‘significant expansion’ (for example, where businesses increase production within existing plant capacity or expand capacity by less than 20 per cent). In many cases, this growth will be accompanied by falling emissions intensity of production, delivering both economic and environmental benefits. 

Baselines may be varied to accommodate such incremental growth. A responsible emitter can apply to have their baseline temporarily increased in any year where expanding production is accompanied by an emissions intensity improvement (that is, the emissions intensity of production has decreased). 

The facility will undergo an emissions intensity test, where current emissions intensity is compared with previous emissions intensity to ensure there has been an improvement. 

An Documentasset: Application for a variation of baseline determination for reduction in emissions intensity must be accompanied by an independent audit report providing assurance over the emissions intensity test and the information provided in the application.

If successful, the facility’s baseline will be increased for one year to be equal to the reported emissions in that year. After one year, the facility will revert to its original baseline. However, the responsible emitter can submit an unlimited number of applications for this adjustment, creating an incentive for facilities to continually lower the emissions intensity of their production. 

See more information in the Documentasset: baseline variation for reduced emissions intensity application guidance

Baseline variations made by the Clean Energy Regulator

In certain circumstances, the Clean Energy Regulator may amend:

  • a reported baseline where it includes emissions attributable to activities that no longer occur at the facility,
  • a reported baseline that was based on reported data that has later been determined to be incorrect,
  • any type of baseline determination to take into account updates to the NGER legislation in relation to global warming potentials, and
  • any type of baseline determination to rectify an error.

Before a baseline is varied or remade, the Clean Energy Regulator will notify and seek comment from the responsible emitter. 

Decisions made by the Clean Energy Regulator to vary or remake a baseline can be reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

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