How are carbon projects measured?

Using science to determine the quality of our carbon offsets

The science that underpins Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) is complex, and as Go Neutral exists to make positive climate action easy for everyone, we take on the complexity and thoroughly screen all the projects that we source from to make sure the ACCUs that we purchase and surrender on behalf of our customers are real and high quality.

We proudly support 100% Australian projects that use natural, land-based methods to reduce emissions. This means growing and protecting native trees and bushlands, so that they capture and store carbon for years to come, and changing how farmers manage their land, to allow the natural habitat regrow alongside their farming operations.

But how do we actually know how much carbon these projects sequester, and how do we use science to determine their integrity?

 

Measuring the carbon outcomes of our projects

 

The Australian carbon projects we source from are carefully monitored and measured at regular intervals to ensure they are delivering tangible results.

At the outset of the project, the specific areas of land that credits are awarded on (called carbon estimation areas) are thoroughly reviewed for compliance with the eligibility criteria for the project methodology. Methodologies are set by the Clean Energy Regulator and assessed by the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee.

For Human-Induced Regeneration projects, evaluation involves a combination of comprehensive remote sensing analysis and robust on-ground vegetation sampling. Once the total project area has been finalised, the initial carbon stock (the vegetation that is there at the start of the project), and the increase in carbon stock over the life of the project (the vegetation that is projected to be there at the end of a 25year period) is calculated using the national Full Carbon Accounting Model (FullCAM). FullCAM is calibrated by CSIRO using data collected by on-ground field measurements from project areas and control sites.

To ensure that at a project level, the FullCAM projections reflect what is happening on the ground, there are regular assessments to monitor and ensure continued regeneration across the project area. Projects must provide tangible evidence of the implementation of project activities to promote regeneration, and must meet specified regeneration gateways to demonstrate continued progress attaining forest cover and are independently audited a minimum of three times throughout the project crediting period to ensure the reported outcomes are real.

This means that independent auditors undertake rigorous testing often taking up to 2 months to analyse project data and carry out their own on-ground checks before ACCUs are issued. The Clean Energy Regulator then awards carbon credits to the project, representing the amount of CO2 that has been stored by the regeneration.

 

Delivering more than just carbon credits

 

What's more, all our projects strive to deliver additional benefits for both the environment and the regional communities where they are based. By regenerating native bushland these projects help farmers transition to more sustainable practices, improve Australian landscapes, create habitat for native species and support biodiversity - this is all work that is funded by your purchase with Go Neutral.

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