Carbon dioxide equivalence
Greenhouse gases can be measured in carbon dioxide equivalents. Carbon dioxide equivalence, or CO2-e, is estimated by multiplying the amount of gas by the global warming potential of the gas.
Global warming potential
Global warming potential (GWP) is a measure of how much a given mass of greenhouse gas is estimated to contribute to global warming. It is a relative scale that compares a gas with the same mass of carbon dioxide and is calculated over a specific time interval.
Emissions factors and methods, as described in the NGER (Measurement) Determination 2008, take the GWP of different gases into account. More information on GWP values and how they are used with prescribed methods for calculating greenhouse gas emissions is provided in the NGER Technical Guidelines. GWPs are also factored into OSCAR and are automatically applied to convert greenhouse gas emissions to carbon dioxide equivalents.
Where a corporation only meets a facility level threshold and not a corporation threshold, the report need only cover the facilities which meet the threshold of 25 kt CO2-e of greenhouse gas emissions or 100Tj of energy produced or consumed.
A controlling corporation is required to report on all facilities under the operational control of members of its corporate group if it meets a corporate threshold. This includes facilities that meet a facility threshold and those that do not. The corporate level threshold is 50kt CO2-e of greenhouse gas emissions or 200 TJ of energy for the first reporting year.
There are provisions in the legislation for registered corporations’ groups which:
- do not meet any of the thresholds in section 13 of the Act for a reporting year. In this instance the corporation must submit a ‘below threshold’ report; this will include a statement that the corporation’s group did not meet any of the thresholds in section 13 of the Act for the reporting year (Regulation 4.32).
- have operational control over a facility, or have a group member with operational control over a facility, for only part of a financial year. The report in relation to that facility for that year need only relate to the emissions, energy consumption and energy production from the operation of the facility during the part of that year during which that corporation had operational control (NGER Act section 19).
Effectively emissions and energy are reported pro-rata, relating only to the time the facility is under operational control of the group member.
How does my corporation report under NGER?
Reporting is completed via the Online System for Comprehensive Activity Reporting (OSCAR). Online tutorials and training for OSCAR are available through by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
When does my corporation need to report?
Reports are due by 31 October following the reporting period (financial year) for which a corporation is reporting. Corporations that are required to report under the NGER Act must first register (once only, for the first year in which a threshold is triggered under section 13 of the Act). For example, for the 2010-2011 NGER reporting period corporations must apply to register by 31 August 2011, and report by 31 October 2011.
Are there alternative ways to report for smaller facilities or low-levels of emissions?
The NGER legislation contains a number of special provisions that apply to reporting for smaller facilities or low levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy production and energy consumption. These provisions exist to reduce the reporting burden for registered corporations. Specifically, provisions have been made for:
- reporting aggregated amounts from facilities by reference to a member of the corporation’s group or by reference to a business unit (Regulation 4.25)
- reporting percentages of emissions and energy where a single facility’s emissions and energy consumption and production are below thresholds specified in the NGER Regulations (Regulation 4.26)
- reporting about incidental emissions and energy (Regulation 4.27), and
- reporting for facilities that are vertically integrated production processes (Regulation 4.29).
A corporation may also report aggregate greenhouse and energy information for facilities (above or below the facility threshold) that are a vertically integrated production process (Regulation 4.29), so long as the production process is located in only one state or territory. If the report aggregates this information they must identify each facility in the production process, and apportion this information in respect of an ANZSIC division specified in the Regulations.
How does my corporation measure its greenhouse gas emissions and energy production and consumption?
The NGER (Measurement) Determination 2008 sets methods for estimating emissions and energy and energy consumption. Part 1.2 of the NGER Determination sets out four principles of greenhouse gas and energy reporting, in accordance with which estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and energy production and consumption are to be prepared:
There is a range of information on the DCCEE website to assist corporations to determine their obligations under the NGER legislation and assist them in meeting these obligations, including registering and reporting.
This includes a range of guidelines on particular topics, technical guidance and tools such as forms and calculators, as well as information on the on-line reporting tool, ‘OSCAR’. In addition, a range of fact sheets provides information on other areas of the legislation.
Controlling corporations are responsible for applying the legislation to their particular circumstances and organisational structure.
When should a corporation start collecting data?
If you are not sure if your corporation will meet the threshold, you should begin collecting data and keeping records about your greenhouse gas emissions and energy use and production now.
Many corporations which can expect to be affected by the NGER Act are likely to have systems or processes in place for reporting under other mandatory or voluntary federal, state and territory government programs such as those under the Energy Efficiency Opportunities Act 2006, or to meet investor or shareholder demands.
Can I change the data after I report?
A registered corporation has a continuing obligation to provide the Agency with a compliant report. Errors and omissions in submitted data may initially be identified by the corporation, or by the Agency through analysis of NGER reports. Corporations are encouraged to liaise with the Department as soon as possible once errors or omissions are identified in their report.
The Department has established a resubmission process that allows corporations to resubmit their reports where an error or omission has been identified. The resubmission process requires application by the corporation, and includes the unlocking of OSCAR for a limited time for the registered corporation to modify data and resubmit a revised report to the Agency. Please contact us by email at email@example.com or call 1300 553 542 for further information and assistance.