Carbon credit transfer might be illegal

The Federal Government’s carbon credit headache has worsened after a new report has found that transferring old Kyoto Protocol carbon credits, a key pillar in the Government’s push to meet its Paris Agreement obligations, might not be legal.

The analysis by the Australia Institute identified a number of legal, diplomatic and ethical barriers to using Kyoto Protocol carry-over credits, which potentially undermines the Government’s reliance on the credits.

Key points:

  • Australia has already explicitly agreed, in Clause 106 of the Paris Agreement decision, to encourage cancellation of surplus Kyoto credits and not use them to meet Paris targets

  • Kyoto Protocol rules limit the ability to carry over credits between non-consecutive periods

  • Other developed countries in the Kyoto Protocol such as Germany have ruled out using surplus credits and are encouraging Australia to follow suit, in the spirit of the Paris Agreement

  • On the international stage, Australia has reputation for historically exploiting international climate agreements and will face diplomatic opposition to securing further loopholes

  • At the Government’s own figure of $50/tonne for an international carbon permit in 2030, it could cost the government over $18 billion to make up gap from relying on Kyoto credits.

“Australia Institute analysis shows that the use of Kyoto credits is unethical, undiplomatic and undermines the Paris Agreement,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at The Australia Institute.

“The Government maintains its climate action plans are fully costed but is yet to confess that it could cost up to $18 billion to purchase international permits to make up the gap left by its reliance on unauthorised Kyoto credits.”

The report can be found here.

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