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Determinations/Other as made
This determination sets out the detailed rules for implementing and monitoring offsets projects under the Carbon Farming Initiative that sequester carbon by establishing a permanent planting that is also a mallee planting and has, or has the potential to attain, a crown cover of at least 20% and a height of at least 2 metres.
Administered by: Environment
Registered 09 Apr 2013
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR14-May-2013
Tabled Senate14-May-2013
Date of repeal 01 Jul 2015
Repealed by Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative—Superseded Methodology Determinations—Revocation and Transitional Provisions) Instrument 2015

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

 

Issued by the Authority of the Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation

Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011

Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) (Quantifying Carbon Sequestration by Permanent Mallee Plantings using the Reforestation Modelling Tool) Methodology Determination 2013

Background

The Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011 (the Act) enables the crediting of greenhouse gas abatement in the land sector. Greenhouse gas abatement is achieved by either reducing or avoiding emissions or by removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in soil or trees.

Abatement activities are undertaken as offsets projects. The process involved in establishing an offsets project is set out in Part 3 of the Act. An offsets project must be covered by, and undertaken in accordance with, a methodology determination.

Subsection 106(1) of the Act empowers the Minister to make, by legislative instrument, a methodology determination. The purpose of a methodology determination is to establish procedures for estimating abatement (emissions reductions and sequestration) and project rules for monitoring, record keeping and reporting on abatement.

A methodology determination must meet the offsets integrity standards set out in section 133 of the Act and the other eligibility criteria set out in section 106 of the Act. The Minister cannot make a methodology determination unless the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee (DOIC) has endorsed the proposal for the methodology determination under section 112 of the Act and advised the Minister of the endorsement under section 113 of the Act. The DOIC is an independent expert panel established to evaluate proposals for methodology determinations.

Application of the Determination

The Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) (Quantifying Carbon Sequestration by Permanent Mallee Plantings using the Reforestation Modelling Tool) Methodology Determination 2013 (the Determination) sets out the detailed rules for implementing and monitoring offsets projects that sequester carbon by establishing a permanent planting that is:

         also a mallee planting; and

         has, or has the potential to attain, a crown cover of at least 20% and a height of at least 2 metres.

The Determination applies to projects in which land has been cleared or partially cleared for at least 5 years. The mallee planting must also occur on land that receives annual rainfall of less than 600 millimetres as determined by the long-term average rainfall layer available in the CFI Mapping Tool.

Ancillary benefits from the plantings may include the enhancement of biodiversity, alleviation of dryland salinity, reduced wind and water erosion and, in some circumstances, shade and shelter for livestock.

A project proponent wanting to implement the Determination must make an application to the Clean Energy Regulator (the Regulator) and meet the eligibility requirements for an offsets project set out in subsection 27(4) of the Act. These requirements include compliance with the rules set out in the Determination.  Abatement must be modelled using the CFI Reforestation Modelling Tool (RMT) which was developed by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (the Department), available at ncat.climatechange.gov.au/cfirefor/.

Offsets projects that are undertaken in accordance with the Determination and approved by the Regulator can generate Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) that can be sold to:

         Australian companies that pay the carbon price established under the Clean Energy Act 2011; and

         businesses in Australia wanting to offset their own carbon pollution.

Public Consultation

The methodology proposal for Quantifying Carbon Sequestration by Permanent Mallee Plantings using the Reforestation Modelling Tool (the proposal) was developed by the Department in consultation with representatives from industry and state government.

The proposal was published on the website of the Department from 21 December 2012 to 30 January 2013 for public comment. Seven public submissions relating to the proposal were received.

The DOIC considered the issues raised in the public submissions during its assessment of the proposal as required under subsection 112(5) of the Act.

The proposal was endorsed by the DOIC on 20 February 2013.

The Department consulted with the Regulator, CSIRO and the Oil Mallee Association in the development of the Determination.

 

Determination Details

The Determination is a legislative instrument within the meaning of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003.

The Determination commences retrospectively from 1 July 2010.

Retrospective commencement is authorised by subsection 122(3) of the Act, which provides that a determination can be expressed to have come into force on 1 July 2010 if the determination is made on or before 30 June 2013, and the application for endorsement was made on or before 30 June 2012. Both of these conditions are satisfied in this case.

Retrospective commencement does not adversely affect the rights of any person or impose a liability on any person in respect of anything done or not done before the date of registration on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments. Rather, retrospective application confers a benefit in that it allows persons to apply for and generate ACCUs in circumstances where they would not normally be eligible to apply.

Details of the Determination are at Attachment A.

Statement of compatibility prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

This legislative instrument does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.

Conclusion

This legislative instrument is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues.

 


 

Attachment A

 

Details of the Methodology Determination

 

Part 1              Preliminary

1.1       Name of Determination                                                                                  

Section 1.1 sets out the full name of the Determination, which is the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) (Quantifying Carbon Sequestration by Permanent Mallee Plantings using the Reforestation Modelling Tool) Methodology Determination 2013.

1.2       Commencement

Section 1.2 provides that the Determination commences retrospectively from 1 July 2010. Retrospective commencement is authorised by subsection 122(3) of the Act.

While the Determination may apply to projects that were established prior to 1 July 2010, a project proponent can earn credits only for abatement which occurs from 1 July 2010. Subsections 27(15) and (16) of the Act prevent the crediting of abatement before this date.

1.3       Definitions

Section 1.3 defines a number of terms used in the Determination.

Key definitions include:

         ‘carbon estimation area’, which means an area within the project area that complies with section 3.3.

         ‘forest’, which has the same meaning as in the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Regulations 2011 (the Regulations). The Regulations define this term to mean land of a minimum area of 0.2 of a hectare on which trees:

(a) have attained, or have the potential to attain, a crown cover of at least 20% across the area of land; and

(b) have reached, or have the potential to reach, a height of at least 2 metres.

         ‘forest cover’, which, unlike the term ‘forest’:

(a)    refers to actual rather than potential tree height and crown cover; and

(b)   does not require the land to have an area of at least 0.2 of a hectare.

         ‘Greenhouse FriendlyTM initiative’, which has the same meaning as in the Regulations. The Regulations define this term to mean the program known by that name and administered by the Commonwealth Government.

         ‘mallee’, which means a form of various Australian Eucalyptus species that have a number of almost unbranched stems arising from a large underground lignotuber. A mallee usually has a flattened canopy that rarely exceeds 6 metres in height. The note to the definition lists a number of recognised mallee species. This list is not exhaustive.

         ‘mallee planting’, which means the planting of a mallee species on land that receives less than 600 mm annual rainfall, as defined by the long term average rainfall layer in the CFI Mapping Tool.

         ‘permanent planting’, which has the same meaning as in the Regulations. The Regulations define this term to mean a planting which is not a landscape planting and is not harvested other than:

(a)                for thinning for ecological purposes; or

(b)               to remove debris for fire management; or

(c)                to remove firewood, fruits, nuts, seeds, or material that is to be used for fencing or as craft materials, if those things are not removed for sale; or

(d)               in accordance with traditional indigenous practices or native title rights.

         ‘project commencement’, which refers to the date for which there is documentary evidence that a planting has been established, either through planting seedlings or direct seeding.

         ‘tree’, which has the same meaning as in the Regulations. The Regulations define this term to mean a perennial plant that has primary supporting structures consisting of secondary xylem.

Generally, terms that are not defined in the Determination have the meaning given by section 5 of the Act. The Act is available at www.comlaw.gov.au.

Note In accordance with section 23 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901, words in the Determination in the singular number include the plural and words in the plural number include the singular.

1.4       Kind of project to which this Determination applies

The effect of paragraph 106(1)(a) of the Act is that a determination must specify the kind of offsets project to which it applies.

Section 1.4 of the Determination lists the kinds of offsets projects to which the Determination applies.  These kinds of projects are specified offsets projects – that is, they are included in the list specified in section 3.28 of the Regulations.

The kinds of project listed in section 1.4 are:

(a)    the establishment of a permanent planting on or after 1 July 2007; or

(b)   a forestry project accredited under the Commonwealth Government’s Greenhouse FriendlyTM initiative; or

(c)    a permanent planting accredited under:

(i)     the New South Wales Government’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scheme; or

(ii)   the Australian Capital Territory Government’s Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme; or

(d)   a permanent planting established before 1 July 2007 for which there is documentary evidence of a kind mentioned in subregulation 3.28(3) of the Regulations that demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the Regulator, that the primary purpose of the planting was generation of carbon offsets.

Subregulation 3.28(3) of the Regulations mentions the following kinds of documentary evidence:

(a) contracts for the sale of offsets;

(b) registered carbon sequestration rights for the plantings; and

(c) statutory declarations that the plantings were entirely privately funded.

The documentary evidence is also required to be dated no later than 2 years after the date the plantings were established.

 

 


 

Part 2              Requirements for declaration as eligible project

2.1       Eligible projects

The effect of paragraph 106(1)(b) of the Act is that a methodology determination must set out requirements that must be met for an offsets project to be an eligible offsets project.  Under paragraph 27(4)(c) of the Act, the Regulator cannot declare that an offsets project is an eligible offsets project unless satisfied that the project meets these requirements.

Part 2 of the Determination specifies a number of requirements that must be met before a project can be declared an eligible offsets project. These requirements are in addition to those set out in the Regulations for applications for a declaration.

2.2       Location

Section 2.2 provides that the project area must be within Australia, but not in the external territories (such as Christmas Island and Norfolk Island).

The Determination does not apply to a project occurring in the external territories as the RMT cannot currently model sequestration in these areas. 

2.3       Project land characteristics

Section 2.3 sets out the requirements for land in the project area on which project activities may occur and, as a consequence, project abatement estimated. Areas that do not have these characteristics must not be included in the abatement calculation.

Section 2.3 provides that the project area must include land that, for at least 5 years before the commencement of the project:

         did not have forest cover; and

         was used for grazing, pasture management, cropping, nature conservation, settlement, or was not used for any purpose; and

         did not have woody biomass cleared prior to planting, other than known weed species that the law requires or allows to be cleared.

‘Known weed species’ refers to species listed on existing weed lists. The weeds lists

produced by the Australian Government are accessible at

www.weeds.gov.au/weeds/lists/index.html. This website includes links to weeds lists

specified under state and territory law.

 

The land on which the mallee planting occurs must receive less than 600 mm annual rainfall as determined by the long term average rainfall layer in the CFI Mapping Tool.

 

Subsections 2.3(4) and (5) deal with grazing on project land.  The effect of subsection 2.3(4) is that livestock cannot graze in mallee plantings for 12 months from the date that the planting commenced.

 

Subsection 2.3(5) deals with grazing on land in ‘pre-existing projects’.  These are projects where planting began before 1 July 2010, and the declaration date of which is 1 July 2010.  Subsection 2.3(5) provides that grazing may have occurred within the first 12 months from the date the planting commenced, provided there is evidence that demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the Regulator, that the grazing has not adversely affected the growth of the trees in a material way or the potential of the planting to achieve forest cover.

2.4       Project mechanism

Section 2.4 clarifies that the project must consist of the establishment or maintenance of a permanent planting, which is also a mallee planting, by direct seeding or planting of tubestock or saplings.  The planting must include species of mallee that can attain a crown cover of at least 20% across the area of land and can reach a height of at least 2 metres at maturity in situ. The Determination does not apply to projects that involve the promotion and management of regeneration from natural seed sources (including lignotubers and rootstock).

Crown cover as a proportion can be estimated by multiplying planting density (trees per hectare) by the mature crown area (in hectares). For example, a minimum planting density to achieve 20% crown cover with evenly-distributed trees for a species with a crown diameter of 3.5 to 4 metres is about 150 - 200 trees per hectare. The table below provides guidance on the ratio of trees to crown cover for a given crown diameter. Project proponents are encouraged to plant in each carbon estimation area more than the minimum number of trees to achieve greater than 20% canopy cover, to allow a buffer for tree mortality.

Estimated minimum number of trees per hectare to achieve 20% crown cover

 

Mature crown diameter per tree (m)

 

Crown area
per tree at maturity (m2)

Crown area
 per tree at
 maturity (ha)

Minimum number of trees per

hectare required for 20% crown cover

5.0

19.63

0.00196

102

4.5

15.90

0.00159

126

4.0

12.57

0.00126

160

3.5

9.62

0.00096

208

3.0

7.07

0.00071

283

2.5

4.91

0.00049

408

2.0

3.14

0.00031

637

 

The spatial configuration of a mallee planting may be either belts or blocks.

2.5       Identification of project area

The project area includes land on which an offsets project is carried out.

A project proponent is required to define the geographic boundaries of the project area when seeking a declaration of an eligible offsets project. The information and documentary requirements to identify a project area are specified in regulation 3.1 of the Regulations. This regulation sets out the information and documentation that must accompany an application for a project to be declared an eligible offsets project.

Section 2.5 of the Determination provides that the boundaries of the project area must be delineated in accordance with the CFI Mapping Guidelines.

In many cases it is expected that a project area will consist of the whole of a land title area. Some areas within the project area will not be part of the project operation, such as a homestead, areas of existing forest, and areas that are not capable of establishing a forest. These exclusion areas can be part of the project area but must not be included in a carbon estimation area.

 


 

Part 3              Requirements for operation of eligible projects

Division 3.1    Operation of eligible projects

3.1       Operation of eligible projects

Section 3.1 specifies that the rules for operating a project to which the Determination applies are set out in Part 3 of the Determination.

Division 3.2    Carbon estimation areas

3.2       Stratification of project area

A project area must contain at least one carbon estimation area, and may include one or more exclusion areas.

Section 3.2 specifies that a project area must be stratified into carbon estimation areas and exclusion areas according to the site characteristics and management practices that could affect the growth rate of trees planted in the area. This must be done before the first offsets report is submitted.

The project area, or part of the project area, may only be re-stratified as provided for in Division 3.2. 

3.3       Requirements for a carbon estimation area

Section 3.3 sets out the requirements for stratifying carbon estimation areas within the project area.  Stratification is required to model abatement in the area using the RMT. Stratification must be done in accordance with the requirements set out in the CFI Mapping Guidelines.

Stratification must be done according to actual site characteristics that could affect growth rates, for example, soil type, aspect and position on slopes. In addition, a uniform land management regime must be applied. A carbon estimation area must be planted or seeded with either the same species or a mix of species, and planting must take place within a 120 day period. Thinning, weed control and the application of fertiliser must be done in a uniform manner. This is because plantings that occur on sites with different characteristics or that use different management practices are likely to sequester carbon at different rates and must be modelled separately.

A project proponent may use a range of approaches to determine the boundaries of a carbon estimation area, but must include at least one of the following methods set out in the CFI Mapping Guidelines:

         field surveys and sampling;

         aerial photographs;

         remotely sensed imagery; or

         soil, vegetation and landform maps.

The use of Global Positioning System mapping is recommended, but is not required, when identifying carbon estimation area boundary locations.

Each carbon estimation area must contain a static ‘model point’ location (latitude and longitude) for the purpose of estimation with the RMT. Model points must not change over time unless the carbon estimation area is re‑stratified into two or more areas.

3.4       Re-stratification or re-classification of a carbon estimation area

The effect of section 3.4 is that a carbon estimation area must be re-stratified to isolate areas that are subject to changed land management practices.

A project proponent is also required to re-stratify if it is found that site characteristics are not uniform. This may occur if, for example, there is a large salinity-affected part of the project area that stops trees from establishing with sufficient stocking density to achieve crown cover.

A project proponent is not required to re-stratify for natural disturbance as this can be modelled by the RMT as a proportion of the carbon estimation area affected. The exception to this is a disturbance event that kills a significant number of trees to the extent that stocking density is not sufficient to meet the requirements set out in section 3.7.  In these circumstances, re-stratification after the disturbance is required to delineate clearly the area affected by the disturbance. If the project proponent intends to replant the affected area this must be defined as a new carbon estimation area.

Subsection 3.4(4) provides that if a carbon estimation area is re-stratified, the new boundaries must be identified in the next offsets report submitted to the Regulator after the re‑stratification.

3.5       Requirements for an exclusion area

Section 3.5 sets out when an area of land within the project area must be defined as an exclusion area. An exclusion area may adjoin, or be contained within the boundaries of, a carbon estimation area. If an area is defined as an exclusion area, it is excluded as a source of abatement for the project.

An area must be an exclusion area if:

         the area had forest cover at any point in the 5 years before project commencement; or

         the project mechanism cannot occur in the area, for example the area is a road, water course or large rock outcrop which materially affects the abatement calculation; or

         woody plants such as trees or shrubs have been removed from the area in the 5 years prior to project commencement, other than known weed species required or authorised to be cleared by law.

An exclusion area must not contain a model point location.

3.6       Carbon estimation area boundaries

The boundaries of each carbon estimation area must be identified on a geospatial map of the project area, in accordance with the CFI Mapping Guidelines.

For projects established on or after the date a project is declared an eligible offsets project, the boundaries of a carbon estimation area can, but do not have to, be identified at project commencement. However, they must be identified when the first offsets report is submitted to the Regulator.

Subsection 3.6(3) sets out the limits of the carbon estimation area boundary.

Subsection 3.6(4) provides that if the proposed boundary of a carbon estimation area overlaps with the boundary of another carbon estimation area, then the boundary of each area must be drawn so that it is an equal distance (that is, halfway) between the carbon estimation areas along the length of the area where the overlap would have occurred.

Subsections 3.6(5) and (6) clarify that the land area within the boundary of a carbon estimation area cannot overlap with the land area of another carbon estimation area or exclusion area.

 

Division 3.3    Project operation

Division 3.3 deals with matters that affect the operation of the project after planting has commenced.

3.7       Stocking density

The effect of section 3.7 is that 12 months after the planting of a carbon estimation area the stocking density of the planting must have the potential to achieve a minimum crown cover of 20% of the carbon estimation area.

3.8       Biomass harvesting exclusion

 

Section 3.8 sets out the limitations on harvesting biomass in carbon estimation areas.  It must be read in conjunction with the requirements for a permanent planting, defined in regulation 1.3 of the Regulations. 

Subsection 3.8(2) provides, subject to the limitation in subsection (3), that biomass can be removed from carbon estimation areas:

         for fire management;

         for firewood, fruits, nuts, seeds, or material used for fencing or craft, provided that these things are not removed for sale; or

         in accordance with traditional indigenous practices or native title rights.

 

Subsection 3.8(3) specifies that only fallen timber may be removed for firewood, and that no more than 10% of the debris pool may be removed for firewood each year.

 

Subsection 3.8(4) allows trees in the planting to be thinned for ecological purposes (such as removal to avoid overcrowding) provided the biomass resulting from the thinning is not removed from the carbon estimation area.

 

3.9       Limited grazing

Section 3.9 allows livestock grazing after 12 months from planting in the carbon estimation area, provided the grazing does not prevent or inhibit the potential to achieve forest cover, or the growth or maintenance of actual forest cover.

If grazing does occur, the project proponent must be able to demonstrate that the grazing has not affected forest cover, or the potential to achieve forest cover. Evidence may include date‑stamped, geo-referenced remotely‑sensed imagery.


 

Part 4             The net abatement amount

Division 4.1                The net abatement amount

4.1       The net abatement amount

Under the Determination abatement is calculated as the change in the amount of carbon stored in a project area (through the combined effect of tree growth, natural decay and disturbance events such as fire, pest, disease and storm), minus emissions resulting from fire and from fuel used to establish and maintain the project.

 

Division 4.2                Calculations - Preliminary

4.2       General

Paragraph 4.2(a) clarifies that all calculations are in respect of activities done, or outcomes achieved, during a reporting period for a project.

Paragraph 4.2(b) deals with factors or parameters that are used in calculations in the Determination and that are derived from the NGER Measurement Determination or from the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Regulations 2008 (the NGER Regulations).  The NGER Measurement Determination is made under subsection 10(3) of the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007

Paragraph 4.2(b) clarifies what version of the NGER Measurement Determination or the NGER Regulations are to be used if they are amended during a reporting period for the project.  Paragraph 4.2(b) requires that the person doing the calculations must use the factor or parameter prescribed in the version of the NGER Measurement Determination or the NGER Regulations that is in force at the time the report is submitted, or is required to be submitted – whichever occurs first.  For example, if a report is required to be submitted on 30 June, but is actually submitted on 1 August, the NGER Measurement Determination or the NGER Regulations that are in force on 30 June must be used.

The table below sets out the factors or parameters as at 1 January 2013 to be used in the calculation of abatement, other than those used to calculate emissions from fuel. 


 

Factors or Parameters found in the NGER Regulations to be used in the calculation of abatement

Factor or Parameter

Reference

Value of Factor or Parameter at 1 January 2013

The global warming potential of carbon

dioxide as specified in regulation 2.02 of

the NGER Regulations

 

1

 

The global warming potential of methane

as specified in regulation 2.02 of the

NGER Regulations

 

21

 

The global warming potential of nitrous

oxide as specified in regulation 2.02 of

the NGER Regulations

 

310

 

4.3       Greenhouse gas assessment boundary

Section 4.3 describes the greenhouse gas sources and sinks and relevant carbon pools that need to be assessed in order to determine the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere when undertaking the project activity.

The greenhouse gas assessment boundary includes the tree and debris carbon pools within the project area and the emission of greenhouse gases from establishing and managing the project.

The carbon pools and emission sources considered in the project greenhouse gas assessment boundary which need to be taken into account when calculating abatement for the project are as follows:

         Emissions from and removals to the above and below ground tree and debris pools

o   Increases in carbon stocks relating to tree growth

o   Reductions in carbon stocks relating to biomass decay

o   Reductions in carbon stocks relating to disturbance – fire or management events

         Emissions from fire

o   Methane emissions from fire – prescribed and uncontrolled fires

o   Nitrous oxide emissions from fire – prescribed and uncontrolled fires

         Emissions from fuel use

o   Emissions from use of fuel to power vehicles and machinery for planning, site selection, site preparation, and seed collection

o   Emissions from use of fuel to power vehicles and machinery during establishment operations

o   Emissions from use of fuel to power vehicles and machinery for management operations, including thinning of trees and fire control

A number of emission sources are excluded from the abatement calculations for the following reasons:

         emissions from soils are excluded as these are not a net source of emissions over the life of the project;

         emissions from the removal of pre-existing non-woody vegetation are excluded as the Determination only applies to projects on land that was clear of forest. It is assumed that non‑woody biomass which is cleared for site preparation will be approximately equal to or less than the forest understorey (which is not included in abatement calculations) and therefore the effect is negligible. Emissions from the required removal of known weed species from the project area are not included in the project greenhouse gas assessment boundary as it is assumed that this would occur under the baseline conditions.  Other woody vegetation can be excluded spatially (that is, in an exclusion area);

         emissions from domestic fires resulting from the burning of fallen timber are excluded as they are immaterial;

         emissions from nursery operations (materials, fertiliser, electricity, fuel) are excluded as they are immaterial relative to abatement over the life of the project;

         emissions from fertiliser use or lime application are excluded on the grounds that they are immaterial to the total abatement achieved by the project; and

         emissions from grazing of livestock in the project area are excluded because it is highly unlikely that the project would result in production of enough feed to allow for an increase in livestock numbers that would lead to increased emissions.

4.4       Baseline for the project

Section 4.4 specifies the process for identifying a project baseline as required under paragraph 106(4)(f) of the Act.

The baseline for a project to which the Determination applies is taken to be zero. This is because under grazing, pasture management, cropping, or settlement, regrowth is assumed to be suppressed.  Similarly, under nature conservation or no use, if regrowth has not already occurred over a 5 year period, conditions are assumed to prevent natural regrowth.

4.5       Potential to achieve forest cover required for calculations

Section 4.5 deals with the situation where a carbon estimation area does not yet have the potential to achieve forest cover; that is, to be land with trees that are 2 or more metres in height and that provide crown cover of at least 20% of the land.  The effect of the provision is that the carbon stock of such an area is taken to be zero.

4.6       Changes in carbon estimation areas

Section 4.6 clarifies that all calculations must be done on the basis of the carbon estimation areas of the project as they were at the end of the reporting period for which the calculations are being undertaken.

4.7       Use of Reforestation Modelling Tool (RMT)

The RMT is a computer program that estimates greenhouse gas emissions and removals within the tree and debris carbon pools based on data inputs of plant species, management regimes and disturbance events.

Section 4.7 provides that a project proponent must use the ‘mixed species environmental planting’ as the species setting, and the appropriate establishment method and planting density for the regime setting in the RMT.  The project proponent must then use the RMT to estimate sequestration in above and below ground carbon pools, emissions from disturbance events and the effects of management actions to be used in the calculation of abatement. It also specifies the parameters that must be supplied from the RMT for use in calculating project abatement.

Subsection 4.7(1) specifies that a project proponent must use the RMT to determine the following parameters:

         ICCEA,i,rc — the initial carbon stock for each carbon estimation area within the project area at the beginning of the reporting period;

         CCEA,i,rc — the carbon stock for a carbon estimation area within the project area at the end of the reporting period for each reporting period;

         Mtree,i,t — the tree layer carbon emitted to the atmosphere for each month of a reporting period;

         Mdebris,i,t — the debris layer carbon emitted to the atmosphere for each month of a reporting period; and

         Ep,fire,rc — the emissions from fire within a carbon estimation area within a project area.

Subsection 4.7(2) specifies that the area and model point location (latitude and longitude) data for each carbon estimation area must be collected using the CFI Mapping Tool or other geospatial information system, in accordance with the CFI Mapping Guidelines, and input into the RMT. Information about forest management and disturbance events must also be supplied to the RMT.

For a disturbance event, subsection 5.3(1) requires that the following information be input into the RMT:

         the carbon estimation area affected by the event;

         the timing of the event; and

         the area affected (proportion of carbon estimation areas), and whether trees are killed or have survived in each area.

The RMT generates output data for emissions and removals from the tree and debris pools which must be used to calculate abatement.

RMT output data required for calculating abatement

RMT Output

Unit

Description

Form

Parameter

C mass on-site

tonnes C

Carbon stock – tree and debris pools

Time series (cumulative monthly)

CCEA

C mass emitted from debris due to fire

tonnes C

Carbon emitted to the atmosphere – debris layer

Time series (monthly)

Mtb

C mass emitted from trees due to fire

tonnes C

Carbon emitted to the atmosphere – tree layer

Time series (monthly)

Mdb

 

The equations in the Determination take account of the form of RMT outputs, including that:

         carbon stock is the cumulative total, while emissions due to fire are presented as per‑month estimates; and

         RMT outputs are presented in tonnes of carbon and must be converted to tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalence (CO2‑e).

 

Division 4.3    Calculation of carbon stock change

Division 4.3 outlines the equations required to calculate the carbon stock change for the project area.

4.8       Step 1 - Calculate the initial carbon stock of the project area

For a project established on or after the project’s declaration date, the initial carbon stock is taken to be zero.

For a project that commences before the declaration date, the initial carbon stock for a project area is taken to be the carbon stock actually present in each carbon estimation area at the declaration date. This must be determined using the RMT in order to exclude biomass growth prior to the declaration date. This ensures that carbon stocks existing before the declaration date are excluded from the abatement calculations and are not credited.

The initial carbon stock within the project area must be calculated using Equation 1a.

Unless the initial carbon stock is zero, the initial carbon stock for a project area must be recalculated (using Equation 1a) each time a report is submitted to the Regulator to ensure the correct values for initial carbon stock are put into the RMT.

4.9       Step 2 - Calculate the carbon stock of the project area at the end of a reporting period

The carbon stock within a project area at the end of a reporting period must be calculated using Equation 1b. The carbon stock of each carbon estimation area within the project area must be determined using the RMT and the amounts must be aggregated, in accordance with Equation 1b.

4.10     Step 3 - Calculate the carbon stock change for the project area

The carbon stock change for the project area for the first reporting period must be calculated using Equation 2a, and for the second and subsequent reporting periods using Equation 2b.

In the first reporting period, the carbon stock change is the carbon stock at the end of the reporting period determined using the RMT, minus the initial carbon stock.

In the second and subsequent reporting periods, the carbon stock change is calculated in the following way:

1.       Determine the carbon stock using the RMT for the reporting period at the month ending the reporting period;

2.      Subtract from this amount the carbon stock reported for the end of the previous reporting period at the month ending that reporting period;

3.      Recalculate the initial carbon stock at the time of submitting the report using the RMT; and

4.      Subtract from this amount the initial carbon stock reported for the previous reporting period.

If the initial carbon stock for the project is zero, it is not necessary to perform steps 3 and 4 as the initial carbon stock in that case will always be zero.

Equations 2a and 2b have been designed to enable changes to the underlying datasets of the RMT to be incorporated into the carbon stock change calculation. This ensures proponents are credited according to estimates generated using the most recent data included in the RMT.

4.11     Step 4 - Convert the carbon stock change to CO2-equivalent

Section 4.11 requires the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) of the carbon stock change to be calculated using Equation 3. The Global Warming Potential of carbon dioxide is 1 as specified in regulation 2.02 of the NGER Regulations.

 

Division 4.4    Calculation of project emissions

4.12     Step 1 - Calculate methane and nitrous oxide emissions

Section 4.12 sets out the equations for calculating emissions of methane and nitrous oxide due to biomass burning. A project proponent is required to model emissions from fire for all months within the reporting period using the RMT. The RMT must be used to calculate the tree layer carbon and the debris layer carbon emitted to the atmosphere in tonnes for each month of a reporting period.

Equation 4 must be used to calculate emissions from methane (CH4) due to fire for the project.

There is no Equation 5 in the Determination.

The values  and  in Equations 4 and 6 are sourced from Tables 7.20, 7.21 and 7.22 of the National Inventory Report 2010.

Equation 6 must be used to calculate emissions from nitrous oxide (N2O) due to fire for the project.

The Global Warming Potential of nitrous oxide is 310 as specified in regulation 2.02 of the NGER Regulations.

Equation 7 must be used to calculate the total non-CO2 emissions from fire.

4.13     Step 2 – Calculate emissions from fuel use

The total emissions from the use of fuel in undertaking project activities must be estimated using the energy content and emission factors outlined in Schedule 1 of the NGER Measurement Determination. The relevant energy content and emission factors are included, with worked examples, in the National Greenhouse Accounts Factors available at www.climatechange.gov.au/climate-change/emissions.aspx.

If the NGER Measurement Determination is amended during the offsets reporting period, the estimation of emissions must use the factor or parameter which is specified in that Determination as in force at the time a report is submitted or required to be submitted, whichever is the earlier.

The quantity of fuel use for each fuel type (f) for the reporting period must be calculated using Equation 8.

Emissions from fuel use must be calculated using Equation 9 for each fuel type (f) and each greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane). The total emissions from fuel use for the reporting period must be calculated using Equation 10.

4.14     Step 3 - Calculate total project emissions

The project emissions in CO2-e for the project for the reporting period is the sum of the total emissions due to biomass burning (calculated using Equation 7) and the total emissions from fuel use (calculated using Equation 10).

 

Division 4.5    Calculating the carbon dioxide equivalent net abatement amount

4.15     Calculating the carbon dioxide equivalent net abatement amount

Paragraph 106(1)(c) of the Act provides that a methodology determination must specify a method for calculating the carbon dioxide equivalent net abatement amount for eligible offsets projects in relation to a reporting period.

The carbon dioxide equivalent net abatement amount for the Determination must be calculated for a reporting period using Equation 11. Net abatement for the reporting period is the carbon stock change less emissions from biomass burning and fuel use.

A project proponent is entitled to ACCUs equal to the amount of abatement measured according to the Determination for the reporting period, minus the risk of reversal buffer, and assuming all other eligibility criteria continue to be met. The risk of reversal buffer is 5% unless another percentage is specified in the Regulations (see subsection 16(2) of the Act).

Part 5              Monitoring, record-keeping and reporting requirements

Division 5.1    General

5.1       Application

The effect of subsection 106(3) of the Act is that a methodology determination may require the project proponent of an eligible offsets project to comply with specified monitoring, record-keeping and reporting requirements.

Under Parts 17 and 21 of the Act, a failure to comply with these requirements may constitute a breach of a civil penalty provision, and a financial penalty may be payable.

The monitoring, record-keeping and reporting requirements specified in Part 5 of the Determination are in addition to any requirements specified in the Regulations.

5.2       Geospatial information requirements

Section 5.2 establishes that a project proponent must use either the CFI Mapping Tool or an alternative geographic information system to monitor and report on geospatial information concerning the offsets project. The boundaries of the project area, carbon estimation areas and exclusion areas within a project area must be defined in accordance with the CFI Mapping Guidelines.

 

Division 5.2    Monitoring requirements

5.3       Project monitoring

Section 5.3 of the Determination provides that a project proponent must monitor a project area and adjust the boundaries of areas within the project area if they no longer meet the requirements of the Determination or require further stratification.

A project proponent must monitor disturbances in a project area and input the information required by the RMT into the RMT. This information includes the carbon estimation area affected by the event, the timing of the event, the area affected (proportion of carbon estimation areas) and whether trees are killed or survived in each area.

On-ground observation or remotely-sensed imagery or both may be used to monitor projects.

 

Division 5.3    Record-keeping requirements

5.4       Records that must be kept

Section 5.4 specifies the records that must be created and maintained by a project proponent in relation to the project.

5.5       Forest management information

Section 5.5 specifies the records that constitute forest management information.

5.6       Project area information

Section 5.6 specifies the records that constitute project area information.   

 

Division 5.4    Offsets report requirements

A project proponent will be required to submit:

         a report for the first reporting period; and

         ongoing reports for subsequent reporting periods.

Sections 5.7 and 5.8 set out the information that must be included in these reports.