Scott Morrison has stressed affordable low-emissions technologies are the key to helping developing countries tackle climate change.
His comments came as Australia signed agreements with Indonesia and South Korea to boost the adoption of cleaner technology during the G20 summit in Rome.
“Unless the technologies are both affordable and scalable in developing countries, then you will not see emissions fall in those countries,” Mr Morrison told reporters before leaving Rome for COP26 climate talks in Glasgow.
“It is not OK … to say to developing countries that they somehow have to settle for less, that they can’t have the same growth that their own economies and the jobs and the lifting of living standards that developed countries have been appreciating.
“The way that is achieved for them is ensuring that we can get those technology costs as low as possible.”
G20 leaders agreed in a final statement to commit to net-zero emissions “by or around mid-century”, removing a reference to 2050.
There was a pledge to stop the financing of overseas coal projects, but no date set for the phasing out of coal in leaders’ own countries.
The summit also watered down the wording of a promise to cut methane emissions.
Australia signed a strategic partnership agreement with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to co-operate more closely with the development, financing and deployment of low-emissions technologies.
“It acknowledges the priority to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Morrison said in a statement.
“This includes new co-operation on regional energy trade and carbon markets, accessible green finance, and institutional and private sector collaboration.”
Separately, Mr Morrison and South Korean President Moon Jae-in signed off on a low and zero emissions technology partnership.
This includes “clean” hydrogen and ammonia, hydrogen, low-emissions iron ore and steel as well as controversial carbon capture use and storage technology.
Meanwhile, Pacific Island Nations labelled Australia’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 as inadequate.
The Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organisations demanded Australia bring the target forward to at least 2035.
“Australia must lead by example and Prime Minister Morrison has the perfect opportunity to announce a proper plan to rapidly decarbonise at COP26,” the group’s executive director Emeline Siale Ilolahia said.
“Developing countries will suffer the most due to the inaction of the world’s largest carbon emitters.”
Mr Morrison last week ruled out boosting Australia’s 2030 target to cut emissions by 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels, even though he anticipated a reduction of up to 35 per cent this decade.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese accused Scott Morrison of trying to sell a net zero target on the world stage …….