'Stronger Commitment' Wanted On Paris Climate Change Pledge

25/11/2015 4:12 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
STR via Getty Images
This picture taken on November 22, 2015 shows smoke belching from a heating factory chimney in Heihe, in northeastern China's Heilongjiang province. China is the world's biggest polluter, and its emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change -- along with its ability to fulfill its promises -- will be at the centre of talks starting in Paris this month that are crucial to the future of the planet. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO / AFP / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Most Australians want the federal government to push for larger cuts to greenhouse gas emissions at next week's UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris.

That's the major finding from a new Lowy Institute poll, which reveals 62 percent of Australians want the Turnbull government to take a stronger position to the talks than its current target of a 26-28 percent cut in emissions by 2030.

Indeed, just 36 percent of those polled want the government to stick to its current target, the poll found.

"The majority of adult Australians say the Government should be prepared to make stronger commitments on emissions reductions," the Lowy Institute said.

The think tank said the poll, which surveyed 1,000 Australians in October and November, also confirmed an upward trend in concern about climate change, with 52 percent of respondents now considering it a "serious and pressing problem".

Despite the rising concern, Australians are torn on how to deal with carbon emissions, the poll found, with a split between those favouring the government's direct action plan and those supporting the reintroduction of a carbon tax.

The poll follows somewhat of a turnaround from the coalition on the global meeting, with Turnbull confirmed to be attending the event.

The man he replaced as PM, Tony Abbott, was not tipped to attend the meeting after he scrapped the carbon tax, cut Australia's renewable energy target and critiqued wind farms.

Before Turnbull was installed as PM, it was thought Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was going to take Australia's seat at the UN meeting, which runs from November 30 to December 11.

With Turnbull at the helm, there has been a perceived shift in Australia's stance on tackling climate change, especially after he backed a Paris agreement to include a long-term goal.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said on Wednesday he was confident a global agreement would be reached at Paris.

"In the end I'm optimistic there will be a real and genuine agreement in Paris," he told reporters in Canberra.

He said Australia was playing its part on carbon emissions on the world stage.

"Beyond 2020, our commitment to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2030 is strong, it is credible, it is significant and Australia's target compares well with that of other countries in the period from 2005 to 2030," he said.

Australia is considered one of the world's worst greenhouse gas emitters per capita, according to the Climate Council.

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