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Calculated baseline

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29 July 2022



Calculated baselines give safeguard facilities more flexibility in how their baselines are set by allowing facilities to have a baseline that reflects its current operations. Following new arrangements that started in 2021-22, only the inherent emissions variability (exclusively available to natural resource and oil and gas facilities) and the transitional criteria remain for new calculated baselines.

Prior to July 2021, a variety of criteria were available for application. This includes the new facility criteria, and a more flexible transitional calculated baseline criteria. Facilities that have calculated baselines under these criteria may want to consider applying for a new baseline if they are expiring soon.

Calculated baseline criteria

A responsible emitter may apply for a calculated baseline for a facility that meets one or more of the specified eligibility criteria:

  • transitional calculated baseline criteria
  • inherent emissions variability criteria.

Calculated baselines for new or significantly expanded facilities are no longer available.

Transitional calculated baseline criteria

Applications under this criteria must be accompanied by an independent audit report. The audit should provide assurance of the forecast production and suitability of the default emissions intensity, and confirm that all requirements of the transitional criteria have been met.

Facilities with an existing calculated baseline can apply for a new one if the second application uses one or more prescribed production variables that were not used in the first application. For baselines commencing 1 July 2021, onwards, new calculated baselines under this criteria must use default production variables and default emissions intensities.

See section 26A of the Safeguard Rule and the calculated baseline guidance document for more information.

Inherent emissions variability criteria

Facilities in the natural resources sectors can apply to have their baselines increased to account for inherent emissions variability associated with the extraction of a natural resource or reserve, such as coal, oil or gas.

Some operations in the mining and oil and gas sectors can have highly variable emissions intensity, particularly the fugitive emissions associated with resource extraction. Further, resource grades are highly variable. Mines tend to move from higher to lower grade ores in the natural progression of operations, so that emissions may rise even while production remains constant.

To accommodate this variability, affected facilities can apply for a calculated baseline under the inherent emissions variability criteria. To be eligible under these criteria, a facility cannot have had more than one previous calculated baseline.

Calculated baselines under this criteria must use default production variables but can chose to use either site-specific or default emissions intensities.

A calculated baseline made under the inherent emissions variability criteria must commence no later than 1 July 2024.

An application under the inherent emissions variability criteria must be accompanied by an independently audited report providing assurance of the forecast production and emissions intensity and that the inherent emissions variability criteria have been met.

These criteria can be complex and applicants are encouraged to review the calculated baseline guidance and see section 25 of the Rule for the full inherent emissions variability criteria.

How a calculated baseline is set

Calculated baselines are set using an independently audited forecast of production and either the forecast emissions intensity or the default emissions intensity. The baseline is calculated by multiplying forecast production by the emissions intensity of that production (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent - t CO2-e) per unit of production).

Calculated baseline = forecast production × forecast emissions intensity or default emissions intensity
​At the end of any financial year within a calculated baseline period, a responsible emitter may be eligible to apply for a production adjusted baseline.

Applying for a calculated baseline

An application for a calculated baseline must be completed by the responsible emitter for the facility, using the form approved by the agency. If an application for a calculated baseline is made by a person other than the responsible emitter for the facility, the application will be invalid. The application must also be signed by an executive officer of the responsible emitter.

If the responsible emitter wishes to rely on data from the year with the highest level of the primary production variable to set the baseline, then they will need to make the application by the relevant deadline (as illustrated below).

The application form and annexures required to apply for a calculated baseline are available on the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting scheme forms and resources page.

Guidance documents are available to help responsible emitters understand their obligations and the application and assurance requirements. The guides also provide more depth and clarity on the points made below.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Clean Energy Regulator on 1300 553 542 or email if they have any questions about any aspect of the application process.

Incomplete applications

All calculated baseline applications must be complete and accompanied by an audit report that meets the requirements of section 28 of the Safeguard Rule before being submitted to the agency.

The agency will not accept incomplete applications and applicants will be notified accordingly.

Incomplete applications may be resubmitted once complete, however the date the application is taken to be received will be the date the complete application is submitted, not the date the original incomplete application was submitted. This may have implications for the baseline setting year under section 27(1)(c) of the Rule.

The agency aims to provide adequate notice to applicants who submit an incomplete application to allow them to resubmit a complete application before an applicable deadline – but cannot guarantee this will be the case, especially for applications submitted close to the deadline. Responsible emitters are encouraged to contact the agency if they need assistance well before the applicable application deadline.

Deadlines for calculated baseline applications​

The application deadlines apply for all calculated baseline applications, regardless of which criteria the application is made under.​​

Please note that deadlines which fall on a weekend or public holiday will be moved to the next applicable business day in accordance with the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

Year of highest forecast production level of primary production variableDuration of calculated baseline
1 July 2021 - 30 June 20241 July 2022 - 30 June 20251 July 2023 - 30 June 20261 July 2024 - 30 June 2027
2022-2330 Jul 2022
30 Jul 2022- -
2023-2431 Oct 2022
30 Jul 202330 Jul 2023-
2024-25- 31 Oct 2023
30 Jul 202430 Jul 2024
2025-26- - 31 Oct 202430 Jul 2025
2026-27- - - 31 Oct 2025

The agency will take all reasonable steps to ensure a decision is made on an application within 60 days of a complete application being submitted.

Before submitting an application for a calculated baseline, it is recommended that responsible emitters familiarise themselves with the calculated baseline eligibility criteria and legislated application deadlines set in the Safeguard Rule. Responsible emitters must also ensure all documentation requirements including audit and assurance are completed prior to submitting an application. For more information about the application requirements see the calculated baseline application guidance.



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