An introduction to the carbon farming initiative: Key principles and concepts

Andrew Macintosh*, Lauren Waugh

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    In December 2011, the Australian government introduced a project-based, baseline-and-credit carbon offset certification scheme called the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI). Its formal objectives are to assist in the achievement of Australia's greenhouse gas mitigation obligations and promote abatement in a manner that will protect the environment and improve resilience to the effects of climate change. Most significantly, the CFI will provide the basis for the generation of certified offsets for use in the Australian carbon pricing scheme (CPS) under the Clean Energy Act 2011 (Cth) (CE Act) and for sale to overseas buyers. It will also certify domestic offsets for use in voluntary markets. This article describes and analyses key aspects of the CFI and sheds light on its relationship with the international greenhouse accounting rules and the CE Act's CPS. It evaluates the effectiveness of the mechanisms that have been put in place to deal with integrity risks and secondary impacts associated with the scheme. It is concluded that the CFI has the capacity to significantly reduce the cost of meeting Australia's mitigation targets and promote more sustainable land-management practices.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)439-461
    Number of pages23
    JournalEnvironmental and Planning Law Journal
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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