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Annual Performance Statement

Introductory Statement

As the accountable authority of the Climate Change Authority, I am pleased to present the Authority’s 2021-22 annual performance statement, as required under s 39(1) (b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and s 6F of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014. In my opinion, this performance statement is informed by properly maintained records, accurately reflects the Authority’s performance and complies with s 39(2) of the PGPA Act.


Brad Archer

Chief Executive Officer

Report on Performance

In accordance with the former Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources’ Portfolio Budget Statements 2021-22 and the Authority’s Corporate Plan 2021-22, the Authority’s performance in the last financial year has been assessed against the following Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):

Our research and review reports and the advice we give are relevant, timely and of high quality

Our public consultation processes are based on the principles of transparency, accountability and accessibility​

The Authority has fulfilled its role in providing independent and expert advice on climate change policy to the Australian Government and public over the past year.

The Authority completed its self-initiated research on the trade and investment trends in a decarbonising world and the economic implications for Australia and published:

  • an insights paper entitled Paris Plus: From cost to competitive advantage (October 2021); and
  • a research report entitled Paris Plus: Trade and investment trends in a decarbonising world (November 2021).

The reports identify risks and opportunities for Australia in the global transition to net zero.
The Authority also conducted a research project to investigate how Australian economic data could evolve to assist policymakers, business and communities in navigating the transition to a net zero world. The Authority commissioned Accenture to prepare a technical report and published an independent insights Paper Economic data for a decarbonising world (December 2021) recommending that the Australian Government invest in the development of new economic data to help Australia identify and respond to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.


In February 2022, the former Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, the Hon Angus Taylor MP, requested the Authority complete a review on Australia’s use of international carbon offsets in the context of the Paris Agreement. The Authority completed its Review of International Offsets in August 2022. The Authority provides advice on the eligibility of units under the Climate Active program and to assist the development of the Australian Government’s Indo-Pacific Carbon Offsets Scheme (IPCOS), and recommends that the Government publish a National Carbon Market Strategy.


The Authority informs policy development and public discussions over a long timescale, concerning issues that are complex and often contentious. The Authority has adopted a continuous improvement approach to its KPI framework to refine its methods of measuring success and communicating longer-term influence. Additionally, the Authority is strengthening reporting against its KPI framework by using new data sources

Activities and targets

Table 1 shows the relevant activities for this report listed in past corporate plan documents and the material published by the Authority relevant to each activity. This report also includes a conclusion with information about which activities need further monitoring and revisiting in the 2022-23 Annual Report.

Table 1 – Summary of activities from past Corporate Plan documents

Corporate plan document

Activities relevant to this report

Published material relevant to activity

Corporate Plan 2020-21

Complete two research projects on Australia's trade and investment opportunities in a global economy transitioning to net zero emissions by December 2021

  • Paris Plus: From Cost to Competitive Advantage
  • Paris Plus: Trade and Investment Trends in a Decarbonising World

Corporate Plan 2021-22

Complete self-initiated research on enhancing Australia's competitiveness in a decarbonising world

  • Economic Data for a Decarbonising World

Complete reviews of the Carbon Credits legislation and the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting legislation by December 2023

Due for completion in 2023

Complete other Special Reviews as requested by the Government or the Parliament

  • 2022 Review of International Offsets

Identify and undertake other self-initiated research on climate change matters

Projects underway, with publication expected in late 2022 and 2023

Each activity was assessed using the targets listed in the Corporate Plan 2021-22 document. These targets were:

Reviews and research reports are provided by the due date

The Authority’s analysis, findings and advice is communicated clearly and effectively

Reviews and research reports draw on the best available knowledge and are informed by a broad range of perspectives

Government considers the Authority’s findings and recommendations in developing and implementing policy

Public consultation is comprehensive, representative and transparent

Research and review reports are relevant to the Government and stakeholders of the day, and influence the public debate on climate change policy

Authority performance against targets

The relevant activities to this report (listed in Table 1) and the Authority’s performance against the above targets are summarised in Table 2.

Table 2 – Summary of activities for the 2021-22 year and Authority performance

Activity 1: Complete the Review of International Offsets

Met

Partially met

On track

Not met

N/A

Reviews and research reports are provided by the due date

Research and review reports are relevant to the Government and stakeholders of the day, and influence the public debate on climate change policy

The Authority’s analysis, findings and advice are communicated clearly and effectively

Public consultation is comprehensive, representative and transparent

Reviews and research reports draw on the best available knowledge and are informed by a broad range of perspectives

Government considers the Authority’s findings and recommendations in developing and implementing policy

Activity 2: Complete two research reports on Australia’s trade and investment opportunities in a global economy transitioning to net zero emissions

Met

Partially met

On track

Not met

N/A

Reviews and research reports are provided by the due date

Research and review reports are relevant to the Government and stakeholders of the day, and influence the public debate on climate change policy

The Authority’s analysis, findings and advice are communicated clearly and effectively

Public consultation is comprehensive, representative and transparent

Reviews and research reports draw on the best available knowledge and are informed by a broad range of perspectives

Government considers the Authority’s findings and recommendations in developing and implementing policy

Activity 3: Complete self-initiated research on enhancing Australia’s competitiveness in a decarbonising world

Met

Partially met

On track

Not met

N/A

Reviews and research reports are provided by the due date

Research and review reports are relevant to the government and stakeholders of the day, and influence the public debate on climate change policy

The Authority’s analysis, findings and advice are communicated clearly and effectively

Public consultation is comprehensive, representative and transparent

Reviews and research reports draw on the best available knowledge and are informed by a broad range of perspectives

Government considers the Authority’s findings and recommendations in developing and implementing policy

COUNT

11

2

3

0

2

The Authority’s impact on public discussion: A visual summary

The visual summary below (Table 3) shows data relevant to the Authority KPIs in support of the assessment that the Authority has been successful in impacting public discussions on climate change and climate change policy.

Activity 1: Complete the Review of International Offsets

Target: Reviews and research reports are provided by the due date

Status: Partially met

The Authority submitted its Review of International Offsets to the Minister for Climate Change and Energy, the Hon Chris Bowen MP on 5 August, and published it on 11 August 2022. The terms of reference received from the then Minister in February 2022 stated that receipt of the report by 30 June 2022 would assist in the review of Climate Active and the development of IPCOS. Originally, the Authority had intended to publish its report by that date. Determining that its review would benefit from additional time to accommodate further analysis and refinement of the report, the Authority consulted with the current Minister’s Office and then the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources before deciding to delay finalisation of the review by several weeks.

Target: Research and review reports are relevant to the government and stakeholders of the day, and influence the public debate on climate change policy

Status: On track

Following international agreement on carbon markets rules under the Paris Agreement in late 2021, the former Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, the Hon Angus Taylor MP, wrote to the Authority to request a review into the use of international offsets. A range of media outlets reported on the review following its announcement on 11 February 2022, including the Australian Financial Review, Energy News Bulletin, and several specialised outlets including Carbon Pulse.

There was significant stakeholder engagement in the review considering the specialised subject matter–38 submissions were received and many stakeholders engaged in conversations with the Authority.

After the announcement of the review, the Authority observed an increase in the number of questions to government representatives concerning the use of offsets to meet emissions reduction commitments and discussion of offsets in the media. The Authority has also observed similar conversations surrounding the integrity of the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). It is difficult to determine the Authority’s direct impact in informing these broader integrity discussions, however, we believe the theme of integrity to be linked with the work of the Authority on this review, and the Authority’s work would have helped amplify these discussions.

The review has already received strong coverage by a wide range of outlets including The Guardian, Australian Financial Review, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) website, and specialised outlets such as Renew Economy and Carbon Pulse. This suggests that the review has been successful in influencing the public debate.

The Authority will return to this criteria in its next annual report, as a sufficient amount of time has not yet passed since the release of the review to evaluate Authority performance against this criteria.

Target: The Authority’s analysis, findings and advice are communicated clearly and effectively

Status: Met

The Authority publishes its information in accordance with the Government’s style manual and ensures that content is accessible to various audiences.

In its Review of International Offsets, the Authority clearly communicated a summary and a list of its recommendations in the front matter of the report. Throughout the report, boxes and figures define and communicate information that help the reader better understand the content of the review.

Target: Public consultation is comprehensive, representative and transparent

Status: Met

The Authority released a consultation paper online (open access) and sent it to interested parties on 7 March 2022. The Authority offered stakeholders the opportunity to provide verbal feedback in addition to their written submission, and to consider material provided to previous reviews.

The Authority undertook public consultation in accordance with the requirements set out in the Climate Change Authority Act 2011 and the Authority’s Engagement Charter.

Target: Reviews and research reports draw on the best available knowledge and are informed by a broad range of perspectives

Status: Met

The Authority received 38 written submissions to the review (8 of which are confidential). The participants covered a broad range of stakeholders, including leading experts, industry bodies, businesses, and federal, state and territory government agencies. These stakeholders provided the review with invaluable expert knowledge and exposed the Authority to a wide range of perspectives.

Target: Government considers the Authority’s findings and recommendations in developing and implementing policy

Status: On track

Former Minister Taylor requested the Authority undertake a Review of International Offsets to help inform the development of IPCOS and the future use of international offsets under the Climate Active program. The review specifically takes into account Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which provides a framework for member Parties to use new international carbon markets to contribute to their Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

The review is expected to be tabled in Parliament in September. The Government has not yet formally responded to the review.

Activity 2: Complete two research reports on Australia’s trade and investment opportunities in a global economy transitioning to net zero emissions

Target: Reviews and research reports are provided by the due date

Status: Met

The papers were released in October and November of 2021, and prior to the COP26 summit in Glasgow. In its Corporate Plan 2020-21, the Authority indicated it intended to complete these papers by December 2021.

Target: Research and review reports are relevant to the government and stakeholders of the day, and influence the public debate on climate change policy

Status: Met

The Australian Financial Review and several specialised media outlets (notably Renew Economy, Mirage News, EcoVoice and Bloomberg Green) mentioned the two Paris Plus documents following their release in October and November 2021. This is evidenced by Streem media monitoring reports, which showed a slight increase in coverage volume during the same period.

It is likely that the media impact of these reports was diluted due to the many other climate-related releases at a similar time, including the Australian Labor Party’s Powering Australia plan, the Business Council of Australia’s climate policy, and several reports from the Grattan Institute.

Target: The Authority’s analysis, findings and advice are communicated clearly and effectively

Status: Met

The Authority used short summaries such as key insights, case studies and visual communication tools to effectively communicate information in both Paris Plus papers. The Authority published Paris Plus: Trade and investment trends in a decarbonising world, the more substantial of the two Paris Plus papers, alongside a summary slide pack to assist readers in finding key information and results. The Authority publishes its information in accordance with the Government’s style manual and ensures that content is accessible to various audiences.

Target: Public consultation is comprehensive, representative and transparent

Status: Not applicable

While the Authority is not required to undertake consultation for its self-initiated research, it drew on its network of thought leaders, including industry and government departments, to provide input and expert advice the Paris Plus: From cost to competitive advantage and Paris Plus: Trade and investment trends in a decarbonising world reports.

Target: Reviews and research reports draw on the best available knowledge and are informed by a broad range of perspectives

Status: Met

The Authority’s Paris Plus reports have drawn upon information from governments, academia and research organisations, including authoritative and respected institutions such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and the International Energy Agency. The Authority ensures that all material undergoes rigorous fact-checking before being published.

Target: Government considers the Authority’s findings and recommendations in developing and implementing policy

Status: Partially met

The Authority submitted the two Paris Plus papers to the former Minister and released them to the public prior to the COP26 summit in Glasgow. While the former Minister did not formally respond to the release of the papers, these documents were available to inform the former Government’s emissions reduction target of net zero emissions by 2050 and its Long Term Emissions Reduction Plan.

Activity 3: Complete self-initiated research on enhancing Australia’s competitiveness in a decarbonising world

Target: Reviews and research reports are provided by the due date

Status: Met/on track

The Authority’s insights paper Economic data for a decarbonising world was submitted to the former Minister and published according to schedule on 15 December 2021.

Target: Research and review reports are relevant to the government and stakeholders of the day, and influence the public debate on climate change policy

Status: Met

Economic data for a decarbonising world was a topical report outlining how Australian economic data could evolve to help policymakers, business and communities navigate the transition to a net zero world, released after the COP26 summit and the Government’s announcement of setting the same net-zero goal.

Target: The Authority’s analysis, findings and advice is communicated clearly and effectively

Status: Met

Economic data for a decarbonising world uses footnotes and figures to communicate data and to aid comprehension. All content published by the Authority is consistent with the Government’s style manual, ensuring accessibility for various audiences.

Target: Public consultation is comprehensive, representative and transparent

Status: Not applicable

Economic data for a decarbonising world did not require public consultation.

While the Authority is not required to undertake consultation for its self-initiated research, it drew on its network of thought leaders and reference groups, including industry and government departments, which provided input and expert advice. In particular, the Authority engaged with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the former Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, the OECD and other leaders on economic data.

Target: Reviews and research reports draw on the best available knowledge and are informed by a broad range of perspectives

Status: Met

Economic data for a decarbonising world drew upon information from relevant and authoritative sources such as government departments and regulators, and an Accenture report commissioned by the Authority.

Target: Government considers the Authority’s findings and recommendations in developing and implementing policy

Status: On track

Economic data for a decarbonising world provided several recommendations to the Government, including for implementation by the ABS and the former Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. The former Government did not respond to the recommendations and is not obliged to respond to the Authority’s self-initiated research.

Other activities

The Authority has continued publishing its weekly newsletter On Good Authority over the last financial year. Every week, the newsletter briefly summarises several climate-related news stories covering policy, business and finance, science, and international issues. The creation of this newsletter assists the Authority secretariat in keeping its knowledge current. It is not linked to the KPI framework, but there is evidence to show that it has been growing in influence.

On Good Authority subscribers have increased by 187 over the past financial year, corresponding to a 36 per cent increase (Figure 1).

Figure 1 – On Good Authority subscriber numbers over the 2021-22 financial year Figure 1 – On Good Authority subscriber numbers over the 2021-22 financial year
Figure 1 – On Good Authority subscriber numbers over the 2021-22 financial year

Conclusion

The Authority has either met, partially met or is on track to meet all of the targets listed in the Corporate Plan 2021-22 document for all activities. Excluding those targets that were not applicable to the activity, the Authority met 63 per cent of its targets, is on track to meeting 19 per cent of targets, and partially met 19 per cent of its targets.

The Authority intends to revisit aspects of its performance in its Annual Report 2022-23. First, a sufficient amount of time has not passed since the publication of the Authority’s Review of International Offsets to adequately assess its performance. A future evaluation could include a more comprehensive statement of whether the review influenced public debate on climate change policy and whether the Government formally responded to its findings.

The Authority intends to continue strengthening the framework used to evaluate performance for the Annual Report 2022-23, as detailed in the Corporate Plan 2022-23 document. Opportunities include clarifying activities for ease of tracking from year to year; and changing to automated rather than manual media-monitoring to support greater coverage.