GreenCollar, Australia’s largest carbon credits generator, has joined critics that say the country’s carbon credits system needs an overhaul.
The organization made a joint submission to a government review of the carbon offsets scheme together with academics including whistleblower Andrew Macintosh.
In the submission, GreenCollar says the scheme has “fundamental problems” but also stresses that carbon credits are required for the “timely transition to a low carbon economy”.
Both the credits generator and the academics agree the scheme needs better measurement of how much carbon is captured and stored and an improved governance of the system overseen by the Clean Energy Regulator.
Earlier this year, industry leaders that profit from the carbon system in Australia also spoke out in support of expert analysis that said the country is generating meaningless credits that result in increased emissions.
Macintosh, an environment law and policy professor who used to lead the government’s Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee, said the carbon credits scheme was “largely a sham.”
James Schultz, Co-founder and CEO of GreenCollar, said the organization did not agree on that and that their projects regrowing forests in cleared areas brought real emissions cuts. However, he said the company agrees there are measurement and integrity issues with the current system.
“We’ve agreed with a lot of the criticisms and we were on the record on most of this stuff before,” he said. “We don’t agree with it all, but we agree with a lot.”
While both parties in the joint statement supported the use of carbon offsets, they found three “fundamental problems” with the current system.
The first one, they said, was that the legislation overseeing carbon offsets did not guarantee high integrity standards for all methods to create carbon credits.
The second problem they saw was that the Clean Energy Regulator had too many roles and was possibly conflicted, and called for other agencies to take its role to advise the government and prepare carbon generation methods.
And finally, they said the current model that estimates how much CO2 was stored in regenerating forests was not accurate and that it could lead to overestimation of emissions cuts.
This June, The Clean Energy Regulator released a press release that said Macintosh and his colleagues did not present robust evidence of a lack of integrity in the system and that they based their analysis on incomplete data.