Labor still ‘taking advice’ on including Kyoto carryover credits
Labor is still “taking advice” on whether its climate policies would include carryover carbon credits from the Kyoto protocol to help meet its 45% emissions reduction target by 2030 – a move seen more as an accounting trick than a real-world reduction in carbon.
Countries that exceeded the Kyoto targets are allowed to count the excess when calculating their emissions under the later Paris agreement.
In December, Labor’s climate spokesman, Mark Butler, told the ABC the party wanted to “look at the final rule book, and in government, get proper advice, not just from government agencies, but talk to climate groups, talk to other stakeholders in the area and make the best decision in the national interest”.
With climate policy shaping as a hot-button election issue, Bill Shorten said Labor was still “taking advice on that”.
“I think the broader issue is that this is a government under whom carbon emission pollution is going up and up and up,” the Labor leader said.
“We welcome an election fought on climate change. The problem is for the last six years we have had a government not knowing what to do, and the loser is future generations of Australians.”
Asked if he believed carryover credits constituted a “loophole” to meet targets, without actually reducing emissions, Shorten was non-committal.
“It is technically possible what they’re doing but this government is relying on a technical loophole to do the heavy lifting because they don’t have other climate change policies,” he said.
“What they are doing may be technically possible to do but practically it shouldn’t be used as an excuse for real action on climate change.”
The Morrison government is relying on carryover credits for Australia to meet its Paris target. Australia’s emissions are continuing to rise, despite the energy minister’s repeated assertions they are going down.
Greg Jericho (@GrogsGamut)
The latest greenhouse gas emissions data is out, and YES, another record (and a new graph) pic.twitter.com/LY8JGfvdd0
The government will include a 367-megatonne abatement in carryover credits from the Kyoto target to meet the 2030 target, as well as including projected emissions reduction from the yet-to-be constructed Snowy Hydro 2.0 project, non-specified “technology solutions” and projects that have been put into development but not contracted.
Morrison also announced a reboot of the Abbott government’s emissions reduction fund – now called the climate solutions fund – which amounts to $200m a year for 10 years, and committed $56m towards the construction of an interconnector – the Marinus Link – which would bring Tasmania’s renewable power to the mainland.
A feasibility study into the link found it would be viable only if coal-fired power was retired from the electricity market.
But the government is also looking at at least 10 coal-fired generation projects to underwrite, according to the resources minister, Matt Canavan, which would put the government in a position of competing with itself.
The energy minister, Angus Taylor, who had been dubbed the “minister for lowering electricity prices” by Morrison, told the ABC on Sunday that such competition was good, while repeating the falsehood that emissions were going down. The government’s own data shows they rose by 0.9% in the past year.
On Monday, Morrison announced a $22m investment “to deliver practical environmental projects”, amounting to up to $150,000 for each federal electorate, as the Coalition attempts to shore up its environmental credentials ahead of a poll expected in May.
The grants are to be made available to “community-led projects that deliver real environmental benefits”, such as rejuvenating river and sand banks. The program has been criticised by the Wilderness Society as a “pissant funding announcement”.
“If the prime minister wanted to announce an environment funding package that had a real impact, he’d have announced something with two zeroes added on to the end,” the society’s federal policy director, Tim Beshara, said.
“And he’d announce something where the funding was allocated according to environmental need, not electoral concerns.”