Safeguard: Selecting Baselines

The emissions baseline is the reference point against which a facility’s performance is measured under the Safeguard Mechanism.


The emissions baseline is the reference point against which a facility’s performance is measured under the Safeguard Mechanism. If you’re new to the Safeguard Mechanism you can learn more about obligations and emissions baselines here.

“Which Baseline is best?” It’s a common and reasonable question our clients ask. It’s also a little like asking “how long is a piece of string”. The answer is simply “it depends”. And that is where the experience and knowledge of Greenbase Environmental Accountants can save a lot of time, effort, confusion, and money.

The emissions baseline you apply for and report against is best determined by considering a variety of different factors specific to your facility. These include the period over which it will be operational, the types of activities and emission sources, fuel sources, planned changes in activities over multiple years (usually 2-3 years), and how various operational and growth scenarios compare against each of the baseline options.

Simplifying scenarios

For those wanting to understand how the different options might compare, the example below provides a simplified view of the impact of using a default emissions intensity against two different fuel source scenarios for an on-site power station. Here, one power station is fuelled by Pipeline Natural Gas (PNG) and one is fuelled by Diesel. Both are compared to the default Emissions Intensity and resultant baseline (the “Default Baseline”).

On-site power station emissions* example:

*Based off an assumed conversion efficiency of 36%
Default Emissions Intensity of 0.539 t CO2-e/MWh sourced from National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Safeguard Mechanism) Rule 2015, Schedule 2, Part 26 Electricity Generation

Based on the tabled assumptions the PNG fired power station would be able to use the current default Emission Intensity (EI) value in their Production-adjusted Baseline and still likely fall below the baseline each year. However, the Diesel fuelled power station would significantly exceed the “Default Baseline”. Therefore, in this example, it would be wise for the latter facility to apply for a site-specific Calculated Baseline to ensure future use of a site-specific EI in their future Production-adjusted Baseline.

The quickest and simplest solution is to let our experts guide you through the decision-making process. Greenbase have 20+ years’ experience supporting industry with environmental and sustainability reporting, contact us for support in:

  • understanding safeguard obligations,
  • determining your individual requirements, and
  • identifying the best options to suit them.

Ready to get started? Contact us today.

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