The Emissions Reduction Fund: Land Sector Methods

Department of the Environment, 2014

Methods for many land sector activities are already approved for use under the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) and more will be available before the Emissions Reduction Fund begins.

The Government is also working with businesses through technical working groups to develop industrial sector methods.

What types of land sector methods will be available?

The Government is working with businesses to develop two categories of land sector methods:

  • Sequestration methods provide for credits to be issued to projects for storing (or 'sequestering') carbon in the land. Examples include revegetation or soil carbon projects.
  • Emissions avoidance methods provide for credits to be issued to projects for reducing or avoiding emissions of methane and nitrous oxide, or by converting methane into carbon dioxide which is a less potent greenhouse gas. Examples include flaring methane from effluent ponds in piggeries, or feeding supplements to cattle to reduce methane emissions.

Methods that have been developed under the CFI can be used under the Emissions Reduction Fund. Methods have been developed for tree planting, avoided deforestation, and vegetation regeneration. Methods have also been developed for destroying methane from landfills, piggeries and dairies, feed supplements for milking cows, early dry season savanna burning, and diverting waste from landfill. 

What land sector methods are being developed?

New land sector methods are under development include:

Increasing soil carbon in grazing systems

This method applies to soil carbon sequestration projects in grazing systems and relies on the direct measurement of soil carbon to estimate sequestration. Under the proposal, projects can be carried out on land that is under permanent pasture, or on land that is converting to permanent pasture as part of the project. A model-based method will be developed for use in 2015.

Expanding opportunities for tree planting

This method builds on earlier CFI methodologies and, where applicable, allows project proponents to access 24 new growth curve calibrations within the Full Carbon Accounting Model (FullCAM). These calibrations have been derived from a research program led by CSIRO to improve the estimation of carbon in mixed-species environmental plantings and mallee plantings.

Expanding opportunities for avoided deforestation

A method for avoided deforestation and protection of native forest has been available since June 2013. Work is currently underway to simplify the current method, including streamlining fieldwork requirements by reducing the need for destructive sampling.

Farm forestry

This measurement-based method will cover permanent plantings or for-harvest plantings on land that is clear of forest and previously managed for agricultural purposes.

Feeding beef cattle nitrate supplements

This method involves substituting nitrates for urea as a non-protein nitrogen supplement for beef cattle, resulting in a reductions of methane from their digestive systems. The use of National Inventory defaults and a simple spreadsheet-based tool mean minimum data collection and analysis requirements for project proponents.

Early finishing of beef cattle

This method applies where cattle producers can manage their properties to increase the rate of liveweight gain of their herds. This reduces the average age of animals, thereby reducing the methane emissions that these animals produce over their lifetimes. As with the nitrate supplementation method, the use of National Inventory defaults and a simple spreadsheet-based tool will mean minimum data collection and analysis requirements for projects.

Will existing CFI methods be streamlined?

CFI methods will continue to apply under the Emissions Reduction Fund unless or until they are varied or revoked.

CFI methods may be streamlined or new Emissions Reduction Fund methods developed for existing CFI activities.

Existing CFI projects can continue to use their current CFI method, or can transition to new Emissions Reduction Fund methods as they become available.

Applications for project registration made after 1 July 2015 must use the latest version of the CFI method. If the method has not been varied this will still be the old version.

More information

Details about the Emissions Reduction Fund are available at: www.environment.gov.au/emissions-reduction-fund.

Note: While the Commonwealth has made reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy, correctness or completeness of the material, the Commonwealth does not guarantee, and accepts no liability whatsoever arising from or connected to, the accuracy, reliability, currency or completeness of this material. Any references to the potential costs or benefits of undertaking an activity in accordance with an emissions reduction method are estimates only. This material is not a substitute for independent professional advice and entities should obtain professional advice suitable to their particular circumstances.