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Our operating environment


Dynamic, global environment

CER operates in a dynamic operating environment that spans all sectors of the economy, levels of government and a wide range of stakeholders.

To achieve our purpose, it is critical that we look to events and developments, domestically and internationally, to identify trends and signals that may have implications for our schemes. Areas of focus include developments in Australia’s energy and carbon markets, as we transform to renewable and low emission generation; corporate and government initiatives to reduce and offset emissions; development of new low emissions industries such as hydrogen, ammonia and metals; adoption of new technologies; emerging international and domestic transparency initiatives such as corporate climate-related disclosures and standards, and evolving tax incentives for low emission projects.

Engagement with scheme participants, partners and stakeholders

We are committed to working with industry, government departments and others as Australia transitions to a net zero economy.

We strive to support the emergence of vibrant carbon markets through transparent reporting of units and certificates used by companies to offset emissions and demonstrate renewable electricity. Experience gained by participants is feeding into government policies.

Industry has also been engaged in testing design options and carbon accounting frameworks in the Guarantee of Origin trials. This work has helped to surface commercial considerations and practices important to the success of a future Guarantee of Origin scheme.

Carbon markets

We continue to focus our efforts on CER’s statutory role within the RET, ACCU and NGER schemes.

Proposed reforms to the Safeguard Mechanism and ACCU scheme saw heightened activity in the ACCU market. We monitor domestic carbon market developments and regularly publish information through our Quarterly Carbon Market Report (QCMR).

The agency is currently facilitating the development of a modernised unit registry and an Australian Carbon Exchange. Exchange trading of ACCUs is expected to improve market depth and liquidity while also improving price discovery, volume transparency, and reducing the overall cost of transacting ACCUs.

Additional assurance options have been introduced to the 2023 CERT report for reporting progress towards voluntary emissions reduction targets where the agency does not hold the data. This is in line with emerging international reporting standards.

Demand for units from safeguard entities to meet compliance obligations is a key watch point. CER will continue to update the market with relevant information in an open, transparent and timely manner.

Technological development

CER continues to focus on co-designing fit for purpose regulatory technology solutions with industry.

Under the agency’s change program, we’ve delivered the first capabilities to scheme participants as we look to modernise our platforms and products. Through contemporary agile delivery practices, user testing and industry engagement, we are committed to delivering innovative solutions to support evolving carbon markets.

Our Development Security Operations and cloud management capabilities practices underpin our secure, accessible, and adaptable foundation for digital services.

International developments

The Department manages and delivers policies and programs that help Australia respond to climate change. The Department is developing the GO scheme policy to give consumers confidence in the provenance of low emissions products that best suits their needs. Hydrogen, including hydrogen carriers and renewable electricity, will be the first product in the scheme as it is an internationally traded commodity where Australia has the potential to be a major exporter. This scheme is expected to evolve over time to include other low emission products such as renewable energy, ammonia and steel.

We monitor international carbon market developments to better understand the implications for Australia’s domestic carbon markets and assist the Department with implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

In conjunction with the Department, our staff also participate in the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) greenhouse gas inventory review process, providing our expertise to help ensure that national inventory information submitted by parties under the UNFCCC is consistent, transparent and complete.

Action by business to reduce net emissions is gaining momentum globally, as is interest in and scrutiny of progress by investors, regulators and the public. We are working with other regulators to understand the evolving international standards for disclosure of climate-related risk and how these align with our schemes.

Collectors and custodians of data

CER is the custodian of Australia’s key emissions, energy and abatement data. We provide regular insights and data that inform government policy, programs and activities and help meet Australia’s international reporting obligations. Recent government reforms will enable us to publish more detailed data about our schemes.

Quality data is essential for the integrity of our schemes and in supporting a vibrant carbon market while underpinning the reputation of the agency as a trusted, relevant and expert institution. We are upgrading our systems to automatically validate key scheme data. These steps will improve scheme integrity and make it easier for scheme participants to gain benefits more quickly. We are developing a data hub where stakeholders and the public can find, access, use and understand our data. This work aligns with the Australian Government’s national data strategy and is guided by the provisions within our legislation that govern how we use, share and manage our data safely and securely.

We are pursuing opportunities for improving the way we use our data, including re-use to reduce regulatory burden, improved integration to enable sophisticated analytics and insights, and cataloguing to aid accurate interpretations. Work is underway to refresh our internal data strategy and roadmap that will uplift our data capability, governance, tools and data practices and ultimately deliver more timely, reliable and repeatable data services to our people, participants and the public.

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