Net zero deal 'not done by a long shot'

Barnaby Joyce insists a deal for a 2050 net zero emissions target
Barnaby Joyce insists a deal for a 2050 net zero emissions target "is not done by a long shot".

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce insists a deal for a 2050 net zero emissions target to take to the COP26 climate summit "is not done by a long shot".

Scott Morrison is mulling the junior coalition partner's demands to shield the mining and agriculture sectors from a deal he anticipates will be sealed by early next week.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud maintains "the ball's in the prime minister's court" ahead of another Nationals meeting on Sunday to consider his response.

The Nationals' demands are understood to include support for regional industry and jobs, as well as greater clarity around the link between land clearing and carbon abatement.

Mr Joyce maintains his party is not grandstanding over negotiations before Mr Morrison leaves for a G20 meeting in Rome, ahead of the COP26 summit starting October 31.

"This is a process that can go for decades and we want to set in place the mechanisms so that there's a clear observation of this. And the deal is not done by a long shot," Mr Joyce told the ABC on Friday.

"But we are making sure we're not grandstanding, it's not a pantomime, that we're being constructive, that we want to make the situation better for people in regional Australia."

When asked if he believed in catastrophic climate change, the deputy prime minister said he thought human impact was a "factor".

But he didn't want to make terrifying "grand" statements about the risks.

Mr Joyce thinks the majority of his partyroom is on board for a net zero target, even though hardliners like Queensland senator Matt Canavan remain staunchly opposed.

"If that wasn't the case, we wouldn't need to deliberate for over a week. We would have just come straight out and said 'yes' or straight out and said 'no'," he said.

"There are, of course, let's call them very strong requests that are held dearly by the room."

Mr Littleproud believes coal mining in Australia would continue well beyond 2040, regardless of a net zero target.

"We'll still be digging coal up and we'll be exporting," he said.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor said it was right for the Nationals to be concerned about the future of industries like mining, heavy manufacturing and agriculture.

"Of course, the plan is all about making sure we strengthen those industries, not weaken them," he told Sky News.

"The focus is on making sure that there's upside for the regions, not downside."

Defence Minister Peter Dutton emphasised the globe was moving on climate issues.

"We need to be realistic about (the fact that) - from the Queen, Rupert Murdoch down - people have signed up to the zero 2050 target," he said.

"That's the reality for many of our trading partners."

He warned the climate wars could cost the coalition the next election if infighting continued.

Australian Associated Press