The Climate Change Authority is an independent statutory agency, which provides expert advice to the Australian government on climate change policy. The Authority is required to review the operation of the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting legislation every five years. Its first review is presented here.
The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting legislation establishes:
- the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting scheme, which requires large companies to report their greenhouse gas emissions and energy production and use
- the safeguard mechanism, which places emissions limits on large industrial and electricity-generation facilities
- the framework for administration and compliance, including auditing requirements for these and other climate change policies.
The reporting scheme and safeguard have broad coverage. In 2016–17, the reporting scheme covered around 750 companies, 63 per cent of Australia’s emissions and most of Australia’s energy. The safeguard applied to 203 facilities in the mining, oil and gas, manufacturing, transport and off-grid electricity sectors and 284 grid-connected electricity generators, which together accounted for 58 per cent of Australia’s emissions.
It is timely to review the energy and emissions reporting aspects of the legislation as they have been in place for over a decade. As the safeguard has only been in place for less than three years, it is more difficult to form a view on its long-term effectiveness.
In coming to its findings, the Authority consulted widely with industry, government agencies and data users and also undertook its own research and analysis.