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Using international units to help meet Australia's emissions reduction targets

This new research paper examines the case for using of international emissions reductions to help meet Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

In its Targets and Progress Review, the Authority recommended that Australia should strengthen its 2020 emissions reduction target, and that international units be used to complement domestic measures to achieve whatever 2020 target Australia settles on.

This paper focusses on the practicalities of Australia accessing international units for this purpose.

It examines:

  • the benefits and risks of using international units
  • the types of units that would be suitable for Australia to use
  • the availability and costs of those units
  • arrangements for actually purchasing those units.

The key points include:

  • Australia can complement its domestic efforts by purchasing genuine emissions reduction units from elsewhere in the world. They will have the same effect on climate outcomes as domestic reductions.
  • These emissions reduction units are generated by real projects in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, and the capture of gas from coal mines and landfills. They are subject to rigorous measurement and verification, and international oversight.
  • The supply of units appropriate for Australia's use currently outstrips demand by a considerable margin, and prices are at historically low levels (less than $1 a unit). Current forecasts suggest the over-supply of units and relatively low prices could continue for some time.
  • Several countries have established government funds to purchase international units and some allow direct access to international markets by private entities. Experience suggests either approach (or both) would be relatively straight-forward to implement and administer.

The full report is available here:

Read the media release.