Questions raised over emissions strategy
Australia will take a long-term emissions reduction strategy to a global summit on climate change later this year.
However, environmental groups and Labor say the plan merely kicks the can down the road on climate action.
Flagging his approach to the Glasgow COP26 summit, Energy Minister Angus Taylor told a business forum in Sydney on Friday the strategy will be based on using technology to cut emissions.
"A target without a plan is meaningless - it is the worst part of the emissions reduction debate," he told the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia.
"The world must go through a rapid technology development and adoption phase to ensure that we can reduce emissions on a global scale, and Australia is well placed to take advantage of this."
The government has a target of a 26 per cent reduction in emissions on 2005 levels by 2030, but Labor says a longer-term target of zero net emissions by 2050 is also needed.
Leading up to this year's climate summit, work will be done on how best to boost investment in low-emissions energy generation, and make geological and biological sequestration cheaper.
Mr Taylor says one of his parameters will be to deliver the shift over coming decades "without massive government subsidies".
The cornerstone of the strategy will be a "technology investment roadmap" which will give the public and private sector guidance on the government's priorities for energy and emissions-reduction technologies.
To date, federal funds totalling more than $10.4 billion have been invested in more than 670 clean technology projects with a value of $35 billion, mostly focused on wind and solar.
"We must move our investments to the next challenges - hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, lithium, and advanced livestock feed supplements, to name a few."
The government would target its support to ensure each technology reached economic parity or better, that is, the shift to lower emissions comes at a low or zero cost.
In addition, the government would seek a "four or five times multiplier" effect - for every dollar from taxpayers, the private sector would invest four or five dollars over the course of a project.
Labor climate and energy spokesman Mark Butler said the plan lacked credibility, especially given the latest data showed only a 0.3 per cent reduction in emissions in the year to date.
He said Bloomberg New Energy Finance had estimated the cost of a carbon-capturing coal-fired power station at around $352 per megawatt-hour, compared with a $70/Mwh figure for Snowy Hydro.
"Angus Taylor's carbon capture and storage pipe dream will mean higher power prices," Mr Butler said.
Dr Nikola Casule, head of research at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said the key to cutting emissions lay in phasing out coal, oil and gas.
"Images of koalas burned alive are still so fresh in our minds, yet the federal government just keeps kicking the climate can down the road with another tactic to ignore coal as Australia's top source of emissions," Dr Casule said.