TOWARDS BLUE CARBON ACCUs
Australia is home to fertile land supporting healthy and thriving agricultural businesses. However, climate change and sea level rise will soon lead to significant flooding that will modify the nature of plainlands and low-laying areas forever.
The flooded coastline will facilitate the establishment of coastal wetlands (mangroves and saltmarshes also known as blue carbon ecosystems). These ecosystems provide many valuable services and benefits such as carbon storage, coastal resilience, and biodiversity enhancement.
Under Australia’s Emission Reduction Fund, a new Blue Carbon methodology through tidal reinstatement allows earning Australian Carbon Credits Units (ACCUs) through projects that restore intertidal flow in the coastline allowing mangroves and marshes to flourish. Currently, several other blue carbon methods are being proposed (e.g. exclusion fencing).
What is the Emission Reduction Fund?
The Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) is a voluntary scheme from the Australian Government that provides incentives for a range of organisations and individuals to adopt new practices and technologies to reduce their emissions.
A number of activities are eligible under the scheme and participants can earn Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) for emissions reductions. One ACCU is earned for each tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-e) stored or avoided by a project. ACCUs can be sold to generate income, either to the government through a carbon abatement contract, or in the secondary market.
What are ACCUs?
The Clean Energy Regulator (Regulator) issues ACCUs for greenhouse gas abatement activities undertaken as part of the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). Each ACCU represents one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent net abatement (through either emissions reductions or carbon sequestration) achieved by eligible activities, such as the tidal restoration of blue carbon ecosystems.
Tidal reinstatement [available now]
The blue carbon method enables Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) to be earned by projects that remove or modify tidal restriction mechanisms and allow tidal flow to be introduced to an area of land. This results in the rewetting of completely or partially drained coastal wetland ecosystems and the conversion of freshwater wetlands to brackish or saline wetlands.
The method enables ACCUs to be earned for the establishment of coastal wetland ecosystems that occurs as a result of project activities. There are three components within coastal wetland ecosystems that contribute to carbon abatement for a blue carbon project:
Read more about the Tidal Reinstatement methodology
Exclusion Fencing [in development]
Blue Carbon Lab is undertaking research to evaluate fencing as a low-cost method for coastal wetland restoration and supporting the development of an exclusion fencing method under the Emissions Reduction Fund. This method intends to achieve marketable blue carbon and other ecosystem service benefits to support farmers in transitioning increasingly marginal farming areas into productive wetland ecosystems by excluding non-native ungulates from coastal wetland ecosystems.
Inland migration of coastal wetland ecosystems (accommodation space) [in development]
Blue Carbon Lab is undertaking research to assess the migration of coastal wetland ecosystems under future sea-level rise. This information is vital to developing a proposal for a new blue carbon method that incorporates land use planning (e.g., the decision to not install barriers) for sea level rise to allow inland migration of coastal wetland ecosystems, also known as accommodation space.
Are you a landholder in the Great Barrier Reef catchment and coastal areas?
You may have heard about carbon farming and generating carbon credits as an additional supplementary income. There is now a new carbon method under Australia’s Emission Reduction Fund that may be eligible for your property!
The Blue Carbon method refers to the restoration of marine ecosystems such as coastal wetlands and mangroves. If you own land and are located on the coastline or near a local creek/river influenced by intertidal flow, come to our free webinar to learn if the blue carbon method applies to you!
We are currently focusing on landholders located in the following NRM regions:
Come join us for a FREE online webinar on 18th August, 5:30-6:30pm on Zoom (download event brochure) to hear from blue carbon experts, carbon industry leaders and agricultural professionals who can help assess your property for blue carbon farming potential!
Clean Energy Regulator | Tidal restoration of Blue Carbon Ecosystems
Clean Energy Regulator | Australian Carbon Credit Units
Follow the program on social media using #BlueACCUs
Dr Micheli Costa
Dr Melissa Wartman