BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Mandatory carbon reporting for emissions-emitting industries will be introduced by the end of 2022, the head of Brunei’s Climate Change Secretariat (BCCS) said Monday.

The directive will require “all facilities and agents that emit and absorb greenhouse gases” to submit their carbon data on a monthly and yearly basis.

“The plan was to launch it in 2021, but because of COVID and everything that came in between, the plan [has changed] to launch it this year,” said Ahmad Zaiemaddien Pehin Dato Hj Halbi.

“We have drafted the document… We reached out to the Attorney General’s Chambers, our own internal legal team, and now we’re just waiting for it to be launched.”

The BCCS head said that creating a carbon inventory will produce a more accurate snapshot of Brunei’s greenhouse gas emissions, which will better inform climate targets and policy.

The secretariat is working with the Department of Energy to develop the centralised carbon inventory system, and with the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism to take stock of the country’s carbon sinks.

Emissions will be measured across four sectors – energy; waste; agriculture, forest and land use (AFOLU); and industrial processes and product usage (IPPU).

“We are looking at next year as a data frontier, making sure that we have everything correct,” Zaiemaddien told The Scoop on the sidelines of a sustainable economy forum.

“We make national pledges on an international level – imagine doing it premised on poor quality data. So that’s why it’s really important.”

As part of its nationally-determined contribution to the Paris Agreement, Brunei aims to cut carbon emissions by 20% in next 10 years.

Head of BCCS Ahmad Zaiemaddien Pehin Dato Hj Halbi (2R) speaks during the Sustainable Economy Forum on Oct 24, 2022. Photo: Courtesy of ASEAN and APEC Business Advisory Councils of Brunei

The secretariat has also been engaging industry players to ensure compliance with mandatory reporting, with the BCCS head floating the idea of penalties for non-compliance.

The government also plans to introduce carbon pricing as part of efforts to deter high emissions and drive investment to cleaner technology.

There are two types of carbon pricing — an emissions trading system (ETS) or carbon taxes. Zaiemaddien said they are looking at both options to see which is a better fit for Brunei’s economy.

An ETS — sometimes referred to as a cap-and-trade system — caps the total level of greenhouse gas emissions and allows those industries with low emissions to sell their extra allowances to larger emitters.

A carbon tax directly sets a price on carbon by defining a tax rate on greenhouse gas emissions.

“We want to do a domestic voluntary offset first to see what the uptake is from our industries,” Zaiemaddien said.

“Hopefully it can become mandatory carbon taxes, which depends on whether it’s the right thing to do for the economy, or a cap-and-trade system.”

He added that carbon pricing plays an important role in driving investment to carbon capture and storage technology.

Carbon capture and storage is the process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide before it is released into the atmosphere. The technology can capture up to 90% of CO2 released by burning fossil fuels in electricity generation and in industrial processes such as cement production.

“Unless there’s carbon pricing, there’s little incentive for a lot of industry players to start investing in [the technology] – so carbon pricing plays a really key role in that.”

According to projections made by BCCS, carbon pricing strategies could reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 46% through use of carbon capture and storage.