Shadow climate change minister Mark Butler says Labor's calamitous election loss is no reason to walk away from tough emissions cuts, as a senior party figure described the result of its climate strategy in Queensland as "absolute carnage".
Labor failed to win office in what was billed as the climate change election, despite having a much bolder policy than the Coalition on cutting greenhouse gas pollution.
Labor had pledged to cut national emissions by 45 per cent between 2005 and 2030 - far greater than the Coalition's proposed 26 per cent cut. It wanted renewable energy to form half the electricity mix by 2030 and would have capped pollution from heavy industry through an emissions trading-type scheme.
In his first comments since Labor's defeat Mr Butler, a key architect of the party's climate position, said all policies would be reviewed however Labor should not abandon strong emissions cuts.
"The challenge of tackling climate change is just as important this week as it was last week," he said.
"And Australia remains in the middle of an energy crisis that is still seeing energy prices continue to rise under this government."
Mr Butler said Labor "remains committed to our obligation to future generations of Australians to take serious action on climate change".
The election loss has triggered heated internal debate on Labor's election strategy on climate and energy.
Labor frontbencher Shayne Neumann said the party's inability to communicate its policies on climate change, renewables and mining meant it "got flogged" in Queensland, slumping to its lowest primary vote on record.
"It was absolute carnage," he said. "There are failures on messaging, failures on policy and failures on campaigning."
Mr Neumann said he would not pre-judge the party's review process but everything "had to be reviewed," including whether the party uses direct action or market mechanisms to meet emissions targets.
"Anything that makes our policy easier to understand, comprehensible to Queenslanders, and is able to get their support is a good thing ... We have to make the case better that 'renewables equals jobs'," he said.
Labor's environment spokesman Tony Burke on Thursday surprised many in the party when he suggested abandoning market-based mechanisms, such as emissions trading, to cut greenhouse gases.
He suggested the party should pursue a direct-action model such as that established by the Abbott-led Coalition in 2014, but cautioned that Labor should not reduce emissions reduction targets.
However the Grattan Institute's energy expert Tony Wood said debate about the mechanism was solving the wrong problem and "people were scared off by the size of the [emisisons reduction] target".
"Labor did a terrible job convincing the public that it was a journey worth taking. They needed a much more positive story - you are going to get cleaner air, cleaner water and cleaner cars - and a much better salesperson."
The Australia Institute's senior economist Matt Grudnoff said it would be almost impossible for Labor to achieve its 45 per cent target without using a market mechanism or the Kyoto carryover credits it dumped before the election.
"I am not against direct action as part of a suite of policies but I can't see how you could possibly reduce emissions by that amount without serious regulatory controls," he said. "It becomes exceedingly expensive."
Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union national president Tony Maher said he did not expect Labor to shift its climate change policy and predicted it would remain committed to coal's ongoing role in the Australian economy.
Mr Maher said that whether Labor's pursued a market mechanism or another method to cut emissions was inconsequential.
"There's more than one way to skin a cat, so I don't know why that's a big debate," he said.