Emissions abatement methodology determinations are Australian legislative instruments that establish procedures for estimating abatement from eligible emissions abatement activities and that set out rules for monitoring, record keeping and reporting. Savanna fire management is one such eligible emissions abatement activity.
The Emissions Abatement through Savanna Fire Management methodology determination of 2015 covers both high (1000mm+) and low (600-1000mm) rainfall zones. In addition, a bio-sequestration methodology is under development. (Note that the 2015 methodology determination is a methodology of the Emissions Reductions Fund. Earlier methodology determinations made in 2012 and 2013 under the Carbon Farming Initiative have now been revoked, although existing projects may continue to follow CFI methodology determinations. The 2015 ERF methodology determination for the first time included the 600-1000mm rainfall zone).
The methodology determination is based on the science that shows that shifting fires from the late to early dry season, and reducing the area burnt, leads to reduced emissions of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory (NGGI) accounts for methane and nitrous oxide emissions from savanna burning within its national carbon accounting.
Savanna burning projects approved by the Clean Energy Regulator and that carry out their savanna fire management activities according to the methodology determination are able to generate Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) representing the quantify of the emissions reductions made.
Following repeal of Australia’s carbon pricing scheme, under which eligible projects could trade in offsets generated through savanna burning fire management, a reverse auction model is now used. Under this model, the proponents of savanna burning projects, alongside other eligible project types, can compete in an auction for funding through the Emissions Reductions Fund (ERF). The Government of Australia enters into contracts with the successful bidders that guarantee the price and payments for future emissions reductions.
Two agencies have primary responsibility for developing and implementing methodologies.
The Department of the Environment develops methodologies, which are ultimately made the subject of a Methodology Determination by the Minister for the Environment. In making the determination, the Minister must have regard to the input of an independent expert panel, known as the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee (ERAC).
The Clean Energy Regulator is an independent statutory authority that is part of the Environment portfolio and that, among other responsibilities, is charged with administering the Emissions Reductions Fund. Savanna fire management offset projects must apply to become a registered project under the Emissions Reductions Fund and thereby become eligible to participate in the auction process.
A tool, the SavBAT2 tool, was developed to assist eligible projects and prospective projects calculate emissions abatement potential. This is available on the website of NAFI, the North Australia Fire Information Service.
Further information on the methodology determination, as well as on the processes for establishing, approving and implementing methodology determinations and eligible savanna fire management offsets projects are available through the Related Files tab, and from the: