Prime Minister Tony Abbott concedes climate change will likely come up when he hosts the G20 summit this year.
The government has come under fire from the US and Europe for not including climate change – a common G20 topic – on the agenda for the meeting of world leaders in Brisbane in November.
Now Mr Abbott is coming under increasing pressure to do more on climate change after US President Barack Obama announced an ambitious plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants by 30 per cent by 2030.
And there is speculation Mr Obama may urge Mr Abbott to put climate change on the G20 agenda when the pair meet in Washington DC next week.
Mr Abbott says he believes it is important to use energy efficiently.
‘It’s also important to ensure these international meetings don’t cover all subjects and illuminate none,’ he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.
‘It’s important that we keep a strong and focused agenda if we are to achieve anything significant.
‘I’d be surprised if climate change doesn’t come up as part of the G20 – but the focus of the G20 will overwhelmingly be our economic security.’
Mr Abbott aims to repeal Labor’s carbon tax in July and replace it with a taxpayer-funded “direct action” policy.
A new poll shows public concern about climate change is on the rise, with a strong belief the government should be showing leadership.
The annual poll from the Lowy Institute shows 45 per cent of Australians believe global warming is a serious problem that requires an immediate response.
It’s the second year running the prominent think tank has detected an increase in public concern about climate change, after five years of steady decline.