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PM to address wary Nats on climate target

Scott Morrison is expected to put the hard sell on wary Nationals for a mid-century target of net zero emissions during a joint coalition partyroom meeting.

The prime minister plans to take a 2050 target to COP26 climate talks in Glasgow starting at the end of the month.

He is seeking the backing of Liberal and Nationals members, some of whom remain staunchly opposed to a target, but insists federal cabinet will make the final decision.

“In cabinet, that’s where it will be made and that’s where these decisions are made – all members of the government understand that,” Mr Morrison told parliament on Monday.

He briefed Liberals about the plan on Monday, a day after a four-hour meeting of the Nationals partyroom that yielded no resolution.

Both parties will convene for a joint meeting on Tuesday, ahead of cabinet talks on Wednesday.

The government does not intend to lift its 2030 emissions target from the current reduction of between 26 and 28 per cent on 2005 levels.

Australia is expected to exceed this, but Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has knocked on the head any suggestion of formalising a higher mid-term target.

Mr Morrison insisted regional Australia would be the biggest beneficiaries from the government’s plan as he worked to assuage concerns about negative consequences.

“It’s about getting the balance right, the balance of affordability and reliability and getting emissions down,” he said.

Deputy Nationals leader David Littleproud believed most of his colleagues were working towards a net zero solution provided it guaranteed protections for regional Australia.

He saw the lead-up to COP26 as the chance to bury the country’s long-running climate politics war.

“Zealots from both sides really just need to bugger off,” he told the ABC.

“Just let the adults now over the coming week or so resolve this, get a pathway and look everyone in the eye about how we’re going to do it.”

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese did not believe a net zero target could be taken seriously unless it was legislated, something the government ruled out.

“We have a government and a nation being hostage to a few people in the National Party,” he told reporters.

Mr Joyce denied this and played down reports the junior coalition partner was seeking $20 billion in regional compensation.

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