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Baselines

18 June 2020

NGER​​​

Important information for responsible emitters

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, amendments have been made to the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Safeguard Mechanism) Rule 2015 in recognition of the widespread disruption that COVID-19 has caused for business operations. The amendments:

  • Retain reported baselines for an extra year (reported baselines now cease on 1 July 2021)
  • Extend calculated baselines that ceased on 1 July 2019, by a year (the expired calculated baseline will have effect for 2019-20, unless replaced with a new baseline determination)
  • Allow facilities to use site-specific values for calculated baselines that commence in 2020-21 (formerly 2019-20 was the last year)
  • Allow responsible emitters to opt-in to extend a multi-year monitoring period that ceases on 1 July 2020, by one year
  • Allow a new facility criteria calculated baseline to commence in 2020-21 at the latest (formerly 2019-20), and
  • Delay the introduction of benchmark baselines for new facilities by a year (now will commence 1 July 2021).

This follows another recent amendment to include prescribed production variables and default emissions intensities in Schedules 2 and 3 of the Safeguard Rule which means that applications can now use prescribed production variables and default emissions intensities.


Emissions baselines are the reference point against which emissions performance will be measured under the safeguard mechanism. A safeguard facility must keep its net emissions levels at or below its baseline.

There are four main types of emissions baselines:

  • Reported baselines—determined based on the historical high point of emissions reported under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting scheme between 2009–10 and 2013–14. Reported baselines cease on 1 July 2021. Facilities will need to apply for a different type of baseline for 2021-22, onwards.
  • Calculated baselines—determined based on an independently audited forecast of production and either forecast emissions intensity provided by the responsible emitter or the default emissions intensity value.
  • Production-adjusted baselines—determined based on actual production levels. A production adjusted baseline can either be a fixed baseline based on the highest year of production during the calculated or benchmark baseline period, or annually adjusting based on actual production for each year.
  • Benchmark baselines—based on benchmark emissions intensities (that is, the best, least emissions intensive standard for production) and an independently audited forecast of production. A landfill-benchmark baseline will be based on a benchmark capture efficiency rate for non-legacy emissions.

Both calculated baselines and benchmark baselines are determined using forecasts of production, and can be replaced with a production-adjusted baseline that reflects actual production from the facility.

A facility must exceed the 100,000 t CO2-e threshold to be covered by the safeguard mechanism. A baseline cannot be set below this level.

If a facility does not have one of the four types of baselines then a default emissions baseline of 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-e) will apply.

Note that on the expiry of a calculated baseline, the default emissions baseline of 100,000 tCO2-e will apply unless another baseline is approved. A facility will no longer revert to its reported baseline.

In some circumstances a facility covered by the safeguard mechanism may apply for a baseline variation.

A summary of all types of emissions baselines​

Baseline Criteria Determined by Duration Earliest start
​​​ DefaultDesignated large facility with no other type of baselineSafeguard RuleOngoing unless replaced by another baseline1 July 2016
ReportedNGER facilities with five years of data (2009–10 to 2013–14)Based on historic high point Cease on 1 July 20211 July 2016
Calculated
  • Transitional (from 1 July 2018)
  • New facilities
  • Inherent emissions variability
Upon application using independent audit approachGenerally three years1 July 2016
SectoralGrid connected electricity generatorsSafeguard RuleUntil breached1 July 2016
Production-adjustedExisting or expired calculated or benchmark baseline (not required if applying for an annually adjusting baseline using default emissions intensity values)Upon application using actual productionOngoing unless replaced by another baseline1 July 2018
BenchmarkNew or significantly expanded facilities from 2020Best-practiceGenerally three years1 July 2021
Landfill-benchmarkLandfill facilities that exceed coverage thresholdUpon application using landfill baseline emissions formulaOngoing1 July 2020​​

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