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HG Alert: Greenhouse gas emissions reporting threshold reduced - 9 Feb 2010

Although yet to be passed by parliament, the Labour Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme has been forecast to come into effect in July 2011. In essence, the Scheme places a cost on carbon use. It is designed to encourage companies to invest in new technology, and change the practices of those companies that emit greenhouse gases. The Scheme forms part of Australia’s global commitment to reduce our national CO2 emissions to 60 percent of our year 2000 emissions by the year 2050.

The Scheme will allow the Federal Government to issue a certain number of carbon permits each year. These permits will be able to be traded, and emitters will purchase and surrender permits on a year by year basis. To decide on the number of carbon permits to be issued, the government needs to have an indication of the amount of CO2 emissions released by Australian companies every year.

In order to calculate this, the government passed the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007, which creates a national reporting framework to collect data about the production and use of emissions and electricity.

The Act matches emissions reporting years with financial years, and is now into its second year.

Companies that meet the requisite criteria and emit CO2 above a certain level, or use or produce a certain amount of electricity or fuel, are required to register with the Department of Climate Change and report their emissions annually. As each emissions trading year begins on 1 July, companies must register by 31 August and report by 31 October in any given financial year.

The reporting thresholds reduce each year between the years 2008 and 2010, meaning that a company that was not caught by the threshold previously may well be required to now register and report its greenhouse gas emissions. Companies that meet the reporting criteria that fail to register and report face a fine of up to $220,000.

It’s important that those companies that were below the threshold for reporting last year review their CO2 emissions and energy consumption to determine whether they are within the threshold for this financial year, and if necessary, put in place audit programs to monitor this into the future.

The sliding scale for yearly thresholds is shown in the below table.

Entity   Year one: from 1 July 2008 Year 2: from 1 July 2009 Year 3: From 1 July 2010
Corporate  

125KT of emissions

 500TJ of energy use/production

87.5 KT of emissions

350 TJ of energy use/production

50 KT of emissions

200 TJ of energy use/production

Facility

25 KT of emissions

100 TJ of energy use/production

 

25 KT of emissions

100 TJ of energy use/production

 

25 KT of emissions

100 TJ of energy use/production


As of 1 July 2009, the threshold for emissions went down to 87,500 KT and/or 350 TJ per year. As a guide, this equates to approximately 83,000 MWh of electricity, 7.8 ML of diesel, 5,400 tonnes of LNG or 6,000 tonnes of LPG.

If you believe that your corporation or facility may now be caught by these thresholds or if you require more information about registering and reporting your greenhouse gas emissions or electricity use, please contact HopgoodGanim’s Climate Change specialists.