The ALP on Monday released its Climate Change Action Plan, a 10-point plan to reduce emissions and increase Australia's reliance on renewable energy to 50 percent by 2030.
He also said that emissions intensive, trade-exposed sectors, such as WA's LNG and aluminium sectors, would get "tailored treatment" under the new policy, which will require companies to buy carbon credits if they breach their pollution cap.
"This is a massive revival of a carbon tax on everything".
The government has attacked this aspect, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying it would force Australian business to spend money on "carbon credits for Kazakhstan".
"The diesel fuel rebate will have to go under Labor's policies".
"You can expect the cost of dinner and school lunches will soar - because consumers will ultimately pay for Labor's economy wrecking emissions targets".
And Finance Minister Mathias Cormann took aim at the plan to allow businesses to trade on global carbon markets, saying: "It clearly is a carbon tax".
Mr Butler said Labor would significantly expand the range of ways to offset emissions, including again allowing access to global markets after the coalition under Tony Abbott banned the practice.
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Australia's A$1.9 trillion economy is heavily dependent on resources with coal and iron ore its top export earners.
Mr Shorten said the cost of doing nothing was higher than taking action on climate change.
"So while many Australians do their duty - they recycle, compost, use keep cups for their morning coffee - we need the government to take a leading role to tackle some of the big, structural problems". "Whether they are from the Australian carbon farming sector or overseas robust, credible markets or the electricity sector, the important thing is for cuts in pollution to be achieved", he said.
The 250 biggest polluters must either cut their emissions or buy credits to offset any above a baseline level, and they would again be allowed to buy from global markets.
As details are clarified about where the baselines are set and how and when they will reduce, businesses will be able to start planning to invest in domestic abatement schemes if they can't directly cut pollution levels.
"The Coalition, on the other hand, intends to use Kyoto carryover credits".
Other planned initiatives include a national container deposit scheme, a $60 million national recycling fund, the appointment of a national waste commissioner, and $15 million to help neighbouring countries clean up the Pacific Ocean.
Labor will also set a national electric vehicle target of 50 per cent of new auto sales by 2030, as Australia lags behind other developed nations in adopting the new models.