Territory Stories

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Offsets Policy and Technical Guidelines



Greenhouse Gas Emissions Offsets Policy and Technical Guidelines


Northern Territory. Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT; Northern Territory Offset Framework




The Northern Territory Government (NT Government) has committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20501. Meeting this target will require significant effort to decarbonise the Northern Territory (the Territory) economy. Avoiding or mitigating GHG emissions (emissions) is the preferred approach. Offsets provide a mechanism of last resort to compensate for emissions that cannot be avoided or mitigated (residual emissions). The purpose of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Offsets Policy and Technical Guidelines (the policy) is to support and guide the consistent, transparent and appropriate use of offsets under Territory legislation to compensate for emissions and support achievement of the Territory’s net zero emissions by 2050 target. The policy is a statutory instrument given effect under section 125(2) of the Environment Protection Act 2019 (EP Act), and is a component of the Northern Territory Offsets Framework (the NT Offsets Framework). In this policy, a reference to the term ‘emissions’ includes carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons, and perfluorocarbons. A standard unit called a ‘carbon dioxide equivalent’ or CO2-e is used to quantify the relative impact of these different types of gases on the atmosphere, and is usually expressed in tonnes of CO2-e (tCO2-e).


Made available by via Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT)

Table of contents

1. Purpose of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Offsets Policy and Technical Guidelines -- 2. The Northern Territory Offsets Framework -- 3. Policy scope -- 4. Policy application -- 5. Target for emissions offsets -- 6. Use of emissions offsets in the Northern Territory -- 6.1. NT Government emissions management and abatement expectations -- 6.2. Applying offset requirements -- 6.3. Determining when offsets are required -- 6.4. Emissions offset approval conditions -- 7. Designing and delivering emissions offsets -- 8. Relationship with the Commonwealth Safeguard Mechanism -- 9. Types of emissions offsets -- 9.1. Australian Carbon Credit Units -- 9.1.1. Eligibility of ACCUs -- 9.1.2. Acquiring and delivering ACCUs -- 9.2. Alternative emissions offset units -- 9.2.1. Eligibility of alternative emissions offset units -- 9.2.2. Acquiring and delivering alternative emissions offset units -- 10. Additionality requirements -- 11. Emissions offset order of priority -- 12. Delivery requirements and timeframes -- 13. Monitoring, adjustments and reporting -- 14. Compliance and enforcement -- 15. Review of the policy




Greenhouse Gas Emissions; offsets; policy

Publisher name

Northern Territory Government

Place of publication



Northern Territory Offset Framework


12 pages ; 30 cm.

File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



Related links

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/898484 [E-Publications: Northern Territory Offsets Principles]; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/898482 [E-Publications: Biodiversity offsets policy]

Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security Northern Territory Offsets Framework - GHG Emissions Offsets Policy and Technical Guidelines Final Version 1.0 1 August 2022 Page 7 of 13 The NT Government will consider whether offsets are required during assessment and approval processes. Decision makers may apply offset requirements based on what is proposed by the proponent (for example within a GGAP) or may apply different offset requirements where appropriate based on the outcomes of assessment. Under Territory legislation, offsets can only be used as a tool of last resort where all avoidance and mitigation measures have first been explored and applied. The NT Government will only consider the use of offsets where this mitigation hierarchy has been appropriately applied by proponents to a project8. This means the NT Government must be satisfied that proponents have demonstrated they have taken all reasonable steps to first avoid or mitigate emissions. Any remaining emissions that cannot be avoided or mitigated are called residual emissions. Emissions offsets can only be used to compensate for residual emissions. Where an emissions offset is considered appropriate, the decision maker for the approval may require residual emissions to be offset as a condition of the approval (an emissions offset approval condition). For development that requires an environmental approval under the EP Act, the Minister for Environment is the decision maker for the granting (or not) of the approval. The Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NT EPA) is the entity responsible for assessing the development proposal, and may recommend to the Minister for Environment that an emissions offset approval condition should be applied to the project. For further information about the assessment and approval of development under the EP Act, refer to the NT EPA website9. The assessing entity and decision maker for a statutory approval under a different Act is determined by that Act10. 6.3. Determining when offsets are required Emissions may be produced and identified over periods of time over the life of a project (for example, annually or every five years) or through a more distinct or one off emitting event such as land clearing. Residual emissions include any emissions remaining once all reasonable steps have been taken to first avoid or mitigate the production of emissions. Assessing entities and decision makers are responsible for determining whether the quantity of residual emissions produced by the development over time, or through a single emitting event, must be offset. In making this determination, considerations may include: any relevant GGAP provided in accordance with the Large Emitters Policy the estimated emissions11 produced by the project, either annually or for a single event the projected emissions profile over the life of the project the target for emissions offsets identified in Section 6 of this policy 8 See the NT Offset Principles for further information on the mitigation hierarchy for offsets in the Territory. 9 https://ntepa.nt.gov.au/ 10 For example, DEPWS is the assessing entity and the Minister for Environment is the decision maker for an environment management plan under the Petroleum (Environment) Regulations 2016. 11 Emissions should be estimated in accordance with the emissions estimation and reporting requirements for organisations under the Commonwealth National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2008. https://ntepa.nt.gov.au/