To CFI or ERF?

Today the CFI transition period ends and the ERF starts… 17 CFI methods are revoked, 9 are transitioned to the ERF and a new CFI Amendment Rule also starts. Got it?

What a scrambled egg this is turning out to be! But it’s not quite as bad as it seems.

The Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011 (CFI Act) originally started on 8 December 2011. It was ‘supported’ by both sides of politics but only one voted for it. Methodologies trickled out and people started to have a go.

After the change of government in 2013, Direct Action was rolled out under the guise of the CFI but rebadged as the Emissions Reduction Fund. So the CFI Act was amended from 13 December 2014 to reflect the policy changes but retained its name as the CFI Act—it can be tricky to change the name of legislation after it starts!

Then came the transition period until today when the ERF had started (implemented under CFI Act amendments) but you could still use the old CFI Act rules (the ones before 13 December 2014) and methodologies.

The government's transition box. Source: Australian Government

In this transition period new methods have been approved (not methodologies any more!) for the expanded areas of industry and energy efficiency but your old forestry and savanna favourites could also still be used.

Not any more. As of today, 17 of the old methodologies (many of which were variations for the same activity) are revoked and the remaining 9 are amended to become ERF methods (not methodologies).

So we only have the ERF and methods and the CFI and methodologies are gone…. almost. You see, anyone using an old methodology may still do so until the end of their crediting period—for projects like savanna burning this may be advantageous due to changes to the updated ERF savanna method. So we will still have parallel systems to some extent.

And what about the new CFI Rule? What is that about? Rules are same as regulations and sit under the CFI Act to provide extra detail. However, the government is shifting from regulations to rules because the Minister can make rules directly but regulations must be approved by the Governor-General—this will reduce his paperwork!

So: Direct Action used the CFI as a platform and expanded it to include industry and call it the ERF. And we now have the CFI Act, CFI Regulations and CFO Rule running the ERF show but the CFI Regulations will go in time.

Got it now? Back to the sewing.