Landfills should be left out of any future emissions trading scheme and instead achieve GHG reductions by selling carbon offsets, the Australian Landfill Owners Association (ALOA) has told a climate policy review panel.
The association made the statement in its submission to the Climate Change Authority’s special review, which is looking at future climate policy options for Australia, including various forms of emissions trading schemes.
“The Emission Reduction Fund (ERF) – and the Carbon Farming Initiative before it – has been the main driver for the emission reduction achieved in the waste sector to date,” ALOA said.
“ALOA believes that coverage of the waste sector by any future Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) is not necessary as the harmonization and emission reduction fund arrangements … will continue to drive the sector’s future abatement program.”
Greenhouse gas emissions from the waste sector have dropped 23% from 1990 levels to 13 million tonnes of CO2e, and are expected to fall further to around 10 million tonnes by the end of the decade.
Much of the decrease has been due to Australia’s offset programmes, the association said.
By the end of January, 113 waste projects were registered under the ERF, according to the Clean Energy Regular website.
In the first two ERF auctions, the government signed contracts to buy 21.7 million offsets from waste and landfill projects at a total price of around A$296 million ($213 mln), if landfill offsets sold at the average price in the auctions.
Under an ETS, that offset revenue would dry up for landfill owners except for those who managed to overachieve on their targets.
The association also said that an ETS would risk market distortion unless all landfills were covered.
The previous Labor government’s carbon pricing mechanism only covered landfills above a certain size, which ALOA said favoured smaller landfills.
Australian landfill owners last year bought over 20 million CERs that they handed over to the government to compensate for carbon tax costs it had passed on to customers before the tax was repealed.
By Stian Reklev – firstname.lastname@example.org