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Govt urged to build on Paris agreement

AAP logoAAP 6/11/2016

Environment groups are urging Australia to build on the constructive role it played in reaching a landmark global agreement on climate change when ministers attend the annual United Nations meeting in Morocco.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg are attending the conference starting in Marrakech on Monday.

It will mark the first official meeting of parties to the Paris agreement struck last year, a deal that came into effect on Friday.

The Climate Institute head John Connor says Australia will be in the spotlight and needs to step up efforts to achieve commitments central to the Paris agreement.

"Domestic action hasn't kept pace with unprecedented global momentum in clean energy and emissions reduction," he said.

Neither Australia's 2030 target nor its emission reduction framework were consistent with the Paris objectives, he said.

"These weaknesses leave Australia exposed."

Greenpeace Australia Pacific chief executive David Ritter said while the Paris agreement was a historic milestone, it had to be followed with real and decisive action from leaders.

"Signatures on a document are not enough," he said.

"The question for Malcolm Turnbull is: Will we keep our promise to the world?"

Being stuck with weak national targets with the window for action closed would leave Australia with big costs and big risks.

The Paris deal came into effect on Friday after 55 per cent of the world's emitters ratified it but Australia isn't among them, with the government blaming the timing of the federal election for the delay.

It hopes to have parliament ratify the deal by year's end.

Oxfam Australia's climate change adviser Simon Bradshaw warns the failure to ratify is a disappointment that risks Australia being excluded from the international meeting.

The deal signed by global leaders agrees to limit global warming to two degrees and commits countries to updating emissions reduction targets every five years.

At the Marrakech meeting rules for achieving this will be decided, including transparency and accountability.

"Australia can build on the constructive role it played in Paris," Mr Connor said.

"It's in Australia's interest for the rule book to be robust, so that countries can have confidence in each other's efforts," Mr Connor said.

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