Anthony Albanese has declined to put a timeline on when he’ll present a new short-term emissions target to Pacific leaders.
The Prime Minister joined regional powerbrokers at the Pacific Islands Forum’s annual leaders retreat on the picturesque Aitutaki in the Cook Islands.
He announced the government would be providing $350m to the Pacific Climate Infrastructure Partnership.
But despite the growing call from the Pacific for a phase out of fossil fuel, Mr Albanese said he’d had nothing “but positive feedback about Australia’s position”.
When asked if he would be prepared to unveil a 2035 climate target to Pacific leaders next year, Mr Albanese told reporters he’d have more to say in time.
“We will make an announcement at an appropriate time … We want to make sure that they are based upon what is achievable,” Mr Albanese said.
“We have a transition that is very important for our economy, and it is a transition that is providing opportunities as well.”
Labor committed Australia to reducing its emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2050 shortly after coming to power.
But a 2035 target is a condition of the Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, in a bid to hold the increase in global average temperatures to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels.
The Climate Change Authority is expected to inform the settings of the next targets based on how Australia’s progress is tracking against the legislated benchmarks.
Mr Albanese said the transition to net zero was a “huge opportunity” for Australia.
“We can really take advantage of the opportunities that Australia will have if we get it right,” he said.
“We have to get it right this decade, to set us up for the decades ahead, and that is good news for the Pacific as well.”
The Pacific Islands Forum is the third high-level talks Mr Albanese has attended in as many weeks after meeting with both the US and Chinese presidents.
He said there was a range of discussions on the agenda at the retreat, including security, economic growth and labour mobility.