Scott Morrison has admitted Australia's emissions have been rising, as a new international report shows climate change is a key factor driving species to extinction.
“Yeah they have lifted,” the prime minister told ABC’s 730 program on Monday night, when asked about carbon emissions.
But he insists Australia is on track to meet its Kyoto 2020 target, which calls for emissions to be five per cent below 2000 levels.
Mr Morrison says investment in renewables has been increasing and spruiked his recent outlay of $3.5 billion towards climate policies.
The money will go towards the Climate Solutions Fund, invested in business energy efficiency, as well as projects such as Snowy Hydro 2.0.
“That’s what we’re doing, that’s how we meet our targets,” the prime minister said.
A new report warns that major change is needed globally to prevent further environmental destruction, with one million species currently at risk of extinction.
The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services global assessment reveals nature is declining at rates previously unseen in human history.
Frogs, big cats and birds are at great risk of extinction and change is needed now, co-chair of the report Sandra Diaz says.
“When nature is in trouble we, and our wellbeing, are in trouble,” Prof Diaz told ABC Radio National on Tuesday.
“Our style of consumption and production and trade and general lifestyles are costing us the earth, literally.”
The report, which is based on 15,000 scientific and government sources, says the biggest drivers of environmental destruction are changes in land and sea use, exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution, and invasive species.
“Climate change is going to become an increasingly important driver,” Prof Diaz said.
“We will be seeing an accelerated decrease in biodiversity … unless we change dramatically the way we trade, we consume, we produce, we do business.”
Reducing the amount of meat we eat is an easy start, she added.
Findings from the report will be used at a global conference next year in China, where leaders are expected to agree to a “Paris agreement for nature”.
Labor leader Bill Shorten says climate change is one of the top four issues of the election.
“The government just gets itself tied up in knots over doing anything, and in the meantime businesses and community and young people, they all just want real action on climate change.”
Mr Shorten has come under pressure to explain the cost of his climate policies, which includes a 45 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030, but he says the cost of not acting is far greater.