Draft Savanna Fire Management methods released for consultation (Revision: January 29, 2019 at 11:42 am)

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This consultation closed on 27 November 2017. Documents remain available for reference only.

Two draft savanna fire management methods were open for public consultation from Monday 13 November to Monday 27 November 2017:

  • Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative—Savanna Fire Management—Sequestration and Emissions Avoidance) Methodology Determination 2018 (draft sequestration method);
  • Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative—Savanna Fire Management—Emissions Avoidance) Methodology Determination 2018 (draft emissions avoidance method).

The draft methods build on earlier savanna methods.

Both draft methods set out the rules for managing fire in Australia’s savannas, and enable businesses to earn Australian Carbon Credit Units. The draft sequestration method credits both carbon sequestered in dead organic matter and avoided greenhouse gas emissions. The draft emissions avoidance method only credits avoided emissions. One project area can only be registered under one savanna fire management method at any one time.

The draft emissions avoidance method will replace the existing Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative—Emissions Abatement through Savanna Fire Management) Methodology Determination 2015, which will be revoked. Existing projects can choose to either remain on their current determination or transfer to one of the new draft determinations, once they have been made.

The draft methods are accompanied by a new savanna technical guidance document, which includes instructions and approaches required to implement projects. It also provides descriptions and further guidance on many technical aspects of the draft methods.

Public consultation teleconference

As part of our consultation, the Department held one teleconference during the second week of public consultation.

About these methods

The draft emissions avoidance method provides the rules for crediting emissions avoidance achieved through appropriate fire management in savanna across northern Australia.

The draft sequestration method provides the rules for crediting the increase in carbon stored in dead organic matter as well as crediting emissions avoided — also through the same project activity of appropriate fire management in savanna.

A savanna technical guidance document provides guidance on a number of technical matters relevant for both draft methods. The draft methods also work together with proposed amendments to the CFI Rule to credit abatement. We suggest that you read the proposed Rule amendments. The amendments to the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Rule are open for public consultation at the same time as the two draft savanna methods. For the draft methods (once finalised after public consultation) to operate, both the methods and the Rule Amendment must be endorsed by the Minister.

A second consultation period for the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Amendment Rule (No. 3) 2017 has opened.

Background

The draft methods build on the original savanna fire management determination made in 2012, the 2013 variation and the current 2015 method. All three methods credit avoided emissions of methane and nitrous oxide by increasing the proportion of area burnt in the early dry season compared with the average over a baseline period.

Further research has allowed some refinements to how avoided emissions are calculated in both draft methods. Research has also shown that savanna fire management can lead to additional carbon being stored in the landscape through the accumulation of dead organic matter. The draft sequestration method will allow projects to receive credits for carbon sequestered in the dead organic matter in addition to credits received for emissions avoided.

One particularly important aspect of all sequestration methods is the requirement for sequestered carbon to be stored permanently. This means that projects must continue to store carbon in the landscape for at least the duration of their permanence period (either 25 or 100 years). There are a number of additional obligations with which project proponents must comply.

The Department is seeking some specific feedback on a number of the mechanisms within the draft methods.

Who could benefit?

These draft methods could benefit land owners and managers in the high and low rainfall zones, as defined on the maps available on the Department’s website of Australia’s savannas. Appropriate savanna fire management can earn project proponents Australian Carbon Credit Units, as well as providing other benefits. These include biodiversity, social, cultural and economic benefits.

How do they work?

The draft methods require participants to undertake appropriate fire management in their projects so carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere by sequestering carbon in dead organic matter and avoiding emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from the burning of savanna.

Emissions reductions for both draft methods are calculated by comparing the emissions produced in each project year, with the average annual emissions produced during the baseline years for the project.

For the draft sequestration method, sequestered carbon is accounted for in addition to emissions avoidance. Sequestration is calculated by comparing the equilibrium level of carbon stored in dead organic matter during the baseline period, with the equilibrium stored carbon achieved during the project. The draft method then credits the difference between these equilibrium levels and spreads the credits over the crediting period.

A revised version of the Savanna Burning Abatement tool (SavBAT 3) is being developed that will calculate both emissions avoidance and sequestration abatement using the two draft methods.

Eligibility

The following requirements must be met for a project to be eligible under these draft methods:

  • The project must include appropriate fire management, as described in the draft methods.
  • The project has created and validated a vegetation fuel type map.
  • The project has developed and follows an annual project management plan, and reviewed their ability to meet the project objectives through their plan.
  • All project areas must be monitored according to the savanna technical guidance document for relevant weeds identified in the savanna technical guidance document. Project areas must be subdivided to remove areas containing relevant weed species. Relevant weeds must be managed in accordance with State and Territory laws.
  • All eligible interest holder consents for new or transferring project must be obtained.

Further information on eligibility requirements for registering a project are available from the Clean Energy Regulator.

Monitoring, reporting and auditing

It is important to keep project records in accordance with the method, as you will need to submit regular offset reports to the Clean Energy Regulator on your project, including reporting on your net abatement. Monitoring for relevant weed species must be undertaken in accordance with requirements in the savanna technical guidance document.

Projects must be audited by a registered greenhouse and energy (NGERS) auditor. A list of registered auditors is available on the Clean Energy Regulator website.

Draft determinations and supporting documents

Sequestration Method

Sequestration and Emissions Avoidance draft determination (PDF – 445.48 KB)
Sequestration and Emissions Avoidance draft determination (DOCX – 185.69 KB)
Sequestration and Emissions Avoidance – Explanatory statement (PDF – 928.8 KB)
Sequestration and Emissions Avoidance – Explanatory statement (DOCX – 638.22 KB)

Emissions Avoidance Method

Emissions Avoidance draft determination (PDF – 375.84 KB)
Emissions Avoidance draft determination (DOCX – 150.1 KB)
Emissions Avoidance – Explanatory statement (PDF – 650.97 KB)
Emissions Avoidance – Explanatory statement (DOCX – 431.56 KB)

Supporting documents for both methods

FAQs

A series of questions and answers.

Key questions with the changes for savanna fire management projects (PDF – 175.86 KB)
Key questions with the changes for savanna fire management projects (DOCX – 147.15 KB)

Savanna technical guidance document

The savanna technical guidance document provides technical guidance for users of both draft methods, including on: classifying vegetation; developing and validating vegetation maps; parameters to use for calculating abatement; monitoring weeds; and project management plans.

Savanna Technical Guidance Document (PDF – 664.12 KB)
Savanna Technical Guidance Document (DOCX – 735.17 KB)

A Policy Statement on the process to be followed when updating subsidiary (to the determinations) documents, including updates to the Savanna Technical Guidance Document:

Policy Statement: Updates to Subsidiary Material (PDF – 94.33 KB)
Policy Statement: Updates to Subsidiary Material (DOCX – 78.04 KB)

Late dry season – dates

There is no change to the start date and end date for the late dry season. 

Late dry season start date
Late dry season end date

 

Report on seasonality in fine fuels and reviewers feedback

The report prepared by CSIRO that provides an approach and outcomes of analysis that will allow the introduction of seasonal effects on fine fuel loads used for emissions abatement calculations. The report has been peer reviewed by three independent and anonymous reviewers, and a summary of their response is also provided.

Seasonal variation in fine fuel accumulation in savannas (PDF – 1.57 MB)
Seasonality review summary (PDF – 352.47 KB)

CFI Rule Amendment

The CFI Rule draft amendment works with the draft methods. It is important to consider the Rule amendment and it’s Explanatory Statement, together with the draft methods. These are open for public consultation during the public consultation period for the two draft savanna methods.

Submissions

The following non-confidential submissions were received through the public consultation process.

Note: A draft method determination that is open for public comment should not be relied upon for planning an ERF project. Draft method determinations may be modified following public consultation and are not final until made by the Minister for the Environment and Energy. For more information on the development of ERF methods, please see the ERF fact sheets.

Further information

Department of the Environment and Energy

Email: savanna@environment.gov.au

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