Verification and Australia’s emissions reduction fund: integrity undermined through the landfill gas method?

Tim Baxter, George Gilligan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Since the repeal of Australia’s carbon pricing mechanism in 2014, the Emissions Reduction Fund (‘ERF’) has formed the ‘centrepiece’ of Commonwealth action on climate change. Criticised in some quarters, the ERF nonetheless has the potential to be a powerful weapon to remove the low hanging fruit of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. However, its structure has become an example of slippage between a strong enabling Act and far weaker delegated legislation
undermining the intent of the original legislation. This article uncovers structural deficiencies in the methodology for landfill gas capture and destruction such as stretching the term ‘additional’ to include its opposite, and raises other, more general issues with the ERF including the insufficiently accountable independent audit and review process. These deficiencies have obvious impacts upon the transparency and legitimacy of funding these projects under the ERF. Important
questions are raised about whether substantial public revenue should be spent in this area. Given these methods are included in Australia’s emissions reduction calculations, a spectre of doubt is cast over whether Australia is actually achieving its domestic and international emissions reduction goals
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalAustralian Journal of Environmental Law
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

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