“[W]hat they are doing may be technically possible to do but practically, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to avoid real action on climate change.”
Analysts, though, queried what kind of advice Mr Shorten and the ALP can be waiting for.
“They are digging themselves into a hole,” said Erwin Jackson, a veteran of many international climate conferences and now a director of policy at the Investor Group on Climate Change.
RichieMerzian, climate and energy program director at The Australia Institute, and a former Australian climate negotiator, said Australia was the only OECD nation holding on “tightly to our credits”.
While not explicitly ruled out, the use of Kyoto credits went against the spirit of the Paris accord, he said.
“It’s the integrity of the issue that’s in question,” Mr Merzian said.
Germany, the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands were among nations to cancel unilaterally the types of surplus Australia is planning to use.
The European Union went further to extinguish them, a spokesman for the EU embassy in Canberra said. “EU legislation does not provide for use of Kyoto Protocol surpluses towards EU targets.”
The Abbott government’s Paris pledge was to reduce 2005-level carbon pollution 26-28 per cent by 2030. Labor has promised to lift that target to 45 per cent if elected.
Melissa Price, environment minister, said the Labor leader “knows he cannot meet the reckless targets he has set without Kyoto carry overs and without wrecking the economy”.
“Bill Shorten has offered nothing but vague rhetoric on Labor’s reckless targets – he needs to actually explain his plan to meet them,” Ms Price said.
with Benjamin Preiss
Peter Hannam writes on environment issues for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.