About 100 countries at UN climate talks challenge Australia's use of carryover credits

(The Guardian, 9 Dec 2019) COP25 delegates from developing countries try to ban the emissions accounting measure in a clause described as an ‘anti-Australia option’.

Australia’s plan to use an accounting loophole to meet its international emissions targets has been formally challenged at UN climate talks, with about 100 countries wanting the practice banned under the Paris agreement.

Delegates from developing countries led by Belize and Costa Rica have introduced a ban on using carryover credits from the Kyoto protocol into the text of the rulebook for the Paris climate agreement, which is being debated at a meeting in Madrid.

It is a crucial debate for the Morrison government as it relies on using the accounting measure to meet its commitment under the Paris deal. The emissions reduction minister, Angus Taylor, arrived in Madrid on Sunday to make Australia’s case at the second week of the talks.

Emissions projections released as Taylor left Australia suggested the Morrison government was on track to meet its 2030 target (at least a 26% emissions cut below 2005 levels), but only if it used carryover credits. Without them it expected emissions to achieve just a 16% cut. Government advisers found Australia’s fair share under a meaningful global deal would be at least 45%.

Carryover accounting rules allow countries to claim credit for exceeding previous targets against future targets. They were allowed under the soon-to-be-obsolete Kyoto protocol to encourage countries to be as ambitious as possible. They were not mentioned in the original text of the Paris agreement.

The introduction of a ban on what are described as “Kyoto units” into the negotiating was the clearest sign that countries that had expressed opposition to their use were determined to follow through. Some observers at the talks described the clause as an “anti-Australia” option.

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The Guardian, 9 Dec 2019: About 100 countries at UN climate talks challenge Australia's use of carryover credits