Emissions offsets

Offsetting emissions is one tool we can use to limit the impacts of climate change.

3 minute read

Offsetting emissions produced by vehicles with internal combustion engines can help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Offsets provide an important avenue of investment into emission reduction activities.

More information can be found at Understanding emissions.

Carbon offset projects

Carbon offset projects involve activities that either avoid or decrease carbon emissions. These projects include different types of activities, such as:

Carbon avoidance

Activities that avoid carbon could include generating electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

Carbon removal

Activities that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere can take the form of tree planting, restoring native vegetation or soil carbon sequestration to lock those emissions away.

Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs)

Carbon offset projects create credits that can be purchased and used to compensate for emissions a business produces, to help reduce their carbon footprint. While climate change isn’t going to be solved by offsets alone, offsets do provide an important avenue of investment into emission reduction activities. 

The Australian Government Clean Energy Regulator issues and regulates Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs). Carbon retailers register with the Clean Energy Regulator and can offset your carbon footprint on your behalf. ACCUs need to be retired once purchased. Retiring a credit ensures that the carbon reduction or the avoidance achieved through the creation of the credit, is not counted or claimed more than once.

More information on how Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) operate and are tracked via the Australian Government can be found at the Clean Energy Regulator Emissions Reductions Fund.

Offsetting your vehicle emissions

In Australia, there are programs that allow drivers to make a voluntary contribution to offset their tailpipe emissions. In NSW, the Vehicle Emissions Offset Scheme (VEOS) allows NSW vehicle owners to make a contribution with their vehicle registration.

When a vehicle owner chooses to offset emissions via a registered carbon retailer, or via state government programs such as VEOS, their contributions are used to purchase ACCUs from a carbon offset provider who meets the Australian Government’s highest standards.


NSW Government and MOV3MENT


February 13, 2024

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