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Australia Waters Down Climate In UK Deal

The Australian government has been criticised over a leaked email showing specific climate references have been dropped from a trade deal with the UK.

Australia has watered down climate change references and had temperature targets dropped from a trade deal with the UK.

A leaked email shows the British government agreed to "drop both of the climate asks" including a reference to Paris Accord temperature goals to get the free trade deal with Australia over the line.

While specific references to temperature commitments were dropped, a mention of the Paris Agreement would remain in the yet-to-be-finalised deal.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan's office did not dispute this.

Instead, the minister said the two nations "agreed to work co-operatively on environmental issues, including emissions reduction".

"The Australia-UK free trade agreement will deliver more jobs and greater access for businesses and workers in both countries, all of which will drive economic growth," Mr Tehan said in a statement.

"Australia has remained consistent that all our FTAs should focus on international co-operation and meeting existing multilateral environment commitments."

The government's 2015 Paris Accord commitments involve reducing emissions between 26 and 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

It has not updated its emissions reduction targets ahead of the UN climate talks in Glasgow in November and continues to face international criticism for being a global laggard in this area.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of holding Australia back when it came to renewable energy opportunities to boost jobs and reduce energy prices.

"The Paris commitments are something that Australia has signed up to, but which Australia continues to sit in the naughty corner with the rest of the world," Mr Albanese told reporters.

"The whole world has signed up to net zero emissions by 2050. Scott Morrison continues to be a recalcitrant when it comes to climate change action."

Greenpeace accused Australia of "diplomatic bullying to weaken the global climate effort".

"The Morrison government is resorting to sleazy backroom deals and pressure tactics to shirk the commitments it has made to the world on climate change," Greenpeace Australia Pacific chief executive David Ritter said.

Mr Tehan reiterated the government's long stated "technology not taxes" approach and that it wanted to achieve net zero emissions as soon as possible, preferably by 2050.

He talked up a letter of intent previously signed with the UK on technologies including clean hydrogen, and carbon capture use and storage.

Mr Morrison and British leader Boris Johnson are expected to sign the free trade agreement deal later this year.

AAP Georgie Moore with The Project