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About the ACCU Scheme

27 September 2023

Independent review of the integrity of Australian carbon credit units

The Clean Energy Regulator welcomes the report of the Independent Review of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCU Review).

The Australian Government appointed an independent panel to review the integrity of ACCUs under the ACCU Scheme (formerly known as the Emissions Reduction Fund).

The panel concluded that the ACCU Scheme arrangements are essentially sound, incorporating mechanisms for regular review and improvement. The panel recommended a number of changes to clarify governance, improve transparency, facilitate positive project outcomes and co-benefits, and enhance confidence in the integrity and effectiveness of the scheme. The Clean Energy Regulator looks forward to assisting the Australian Government with its implementation.

The Australian Government accepted all 16 recommendations in principle and published an Implementation Plan setting out its planning timing and approach to implementing reforms.

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) is now consulting on the next phase of proposed changes to the ACCU Scheme. To access the ACCU Review Discussion Paper and make a submission, visit DCCEEW’s consultation portal.

More information about the ACCU Review is available on the DCCEEW website.

The ACCU Scheme offers landholders, communities and businesses the opportunity to run projects in Australia that avoid the release of greenhouse gas emissions or remove and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. It is enacted through the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011 and the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Rule 2015.

A number of activities are eligible under the scheme and participants can earn ACCUs. Each ACCU represents one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-e) emissions stored or avoided by a project. ACCUs can be sold to generate income, either to the Australian Government through a carbon abatement contract, or to companies and other private buyers in the secondary market.

To ensure these emissions reductions are not displaced significantly by a rise in emissions elsewhere in the economy, the ACCU Scheme is linked to the Safeguard Mechanism, which requires Australia's largest greenhouse gas emitters to keep their net emissions below an emissions limit (a baseline). The government will gradually reduce emissions limits under the Safeguard Mechanism to help Australia reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The Clean Energy Regulator is in the process of developing an Australian Carbon Exchange that will make the trading of ACCUs simpler, supporting rapidly increasing demand from the corporate sector. It will help foster growth in Australia’s vibrant carbon markets, where ACCUs credited from approved ACCU Scheme projects can be traded among individuals and businesses.

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