Method upgrade

So it’s finally happened. All that crowing about 41 methods and counting has given way to an overdue consolidation of methods down to 24, with 7 new ones still under construction. A few less methods in this madness!

Methods are simply the approved rulesets any project must follow (‘method’ is the new government’s term, replacing the longer ‘methodology’—it’s a big change isn’t it?) If your activity does not have an approved method, you can’t do it. Over time, many methods have been repeated as improvements in measurement methods and refinements have been made but older ones not taken off the books. Hence the large number of methods but the lower number of activity types.

Not so anymore. The cull means there will only be 1 method for each activity type from 1 July 2015. Among the 17 casualties are the 2 earlier savanna burning methods which are now replaced by the recent upgraded savanna method which also included coverage down to 600mm of annual rainfall. All the reforestation modeling tool methods will also bite the dust—this includes the regeneration and mallee methods—in favour of newer methods using improved FullCAM measurement system (Full Carbon Accounting Method).

This table shows the updated methods from 1 July 2015

This table shows the updated methods from 1 July 2015

Have no fear! The instruments assure that no activity coverage is lost and to help us out there is a little table at the back showing the current method to use for any revoked method. So anyone wanting to do a regeneration style project should now follow the rules for native forest from managed regrowth.

Are there hidden tricks? Yes if you think losing access to the older methods, which in some cases are more beneficial. Otherwise it seems pretty mechanical. The instruments do amend 7 methods to bring them into line with the recent amendments to the CFI Act made in December 2014. The explanatory statement notes the changes are of a ‘minor nature’ and ‘are primarily to ensure that the methodology determinations continue to operate as originally intended’.

If you want you can have your say before 2 June 2015. Everything goes live from 1 July 2015.