Industry leaders that make a profit from the carbon market in Australia have for the first time spoken out in support of expert analysis that says the carbon credits system in the country is generating meaningless credits, which in fact lead to higher emissions.
The companies, which together generated most of the Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) via the so-called Landfill Gas methods have now signed letters that say some of the credits issued are for activities the industries would have done anyway.
Additionally, companies that jointly generated almost 90% of the Landfill Gas carbon credits and over one-quarter of all credits, asked for fewer such credits to be given to the industry.
The letters state that the current way credits are being given out undermines the integrity of the country’s carbon credit system. They have been sent to Ian Chubb, who is working on an independent review of the system for the government, and independent Senator for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) independent senator David Pocock.
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Pocock said he is “considering trying to block some of the newest forms of credits in the Senate before projects are locked into using them for decades,” ABC News reported.
John Falzon, who is chairman of LMS Energy – one of the biggest carbon credits generators – is one of the proponents of improving the system.
“If the market doesn’t have integrity it’ll crash, so the business itself will collapse with that,” he told the ABC. “For us to have integrity is vitally important. We would forgo some short-term revenue for the opportunity to participate in a market that is more robust and has more credibility and that provides a future.”
The letters follow claims by Australian National University professor Andrew Macintosh, a whistleblower who previously worked as a Clean Energy Regulator. He claimed several types of carbon credits, including ones made under the Landfill Gas methods, were meaningless.
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“The government effectively was handing [companies] a very large cheque for doing stuff that they would have done anyway,” he said. “And it takes big people with high integrity to say, ‘No, I’m not going to accept that, I want the method to have integrity.”
Previously, industry leaders have spoken against Prof. Macintosh’s claims, while others have remained silent.
And even though the industry has now spoken in support of Macintosh’s allegations, the Clean Energy Regulator – which oversees the carbon credits scheme – continues to defend the system, and told ABC that the professor’s claims were “not backed by data” and ignored some of the factors that impact the industry.