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Climate action key issue for G20 summit

AAP logoAAP 1/09/2016 Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer

Australia will join China and the United States in seeking G20 members' support to bring the Paris climate agreement into force as quickly as possible and channelling more investment into green technology and climate action.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will attend the G20 summit in the Chinese city of Hangzhou on Sunday and Monday, as part of his first overseas trip since the election.

While global trade, investment and financial regulation will be key issues for the leaders - including US President Barack Obama attending his 10th and final G20 summit - host Xi Jinping has put climate on the agenda.

Mr Obama told a meeting with Pacific Island leaders in Hawaii on Thursday that climate would be "a centrepiece of our agenda" at the G20.

The issue has been set down for discussion in the final session of the summit on Monday, but it is also due to be discussed between the two presidents in a bilateral meeting on Saturday.

A White House spokesman said the two leaders would "commit to getting the Paris agreement to enter into force as quickly as possible".

The Turnbull government this week tabled in parliament the Paris agreement on climate change under which Australia has set a 2030 target of reducing emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels, halving per capita emissions.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia would be seeking by the end of 2016 to ratify the agreement, which she described as a "turning point in the global transition to a low emission future".

The agreement can only take effect once at least 55 nations accounting for at least 55 per cent of global emissions ratify it.

Only 23 countries, accounting for 1.08 per cent of emissions, have done so. Together the US and China represent about 40 per cent of emissions.

Earlier this year, Bank of England governor Mark Carney said 2016 was the year to "mainstream" finance tools like green bonds, a market that grew to $US65 billion in 2015, and it would be a "fundamental issue that will go straight up to the leaders" at the G20.

The August meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors agreed green investment and finance should be "promoted to support global sustainable growth".

Australian Treasury official John Swieringa has been involved in the G20 climate finance study group, which will report to the summit.

Global investment in renewable power generation hit a record in 2015 with $US286 billion invested, with China's investment topping $US100 billion.

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