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A carbon price is expected to be front and centre of China’s net zero emissions plan, as pressure builds on Australia to set a date for the climate goal.

Chief energy modeller of the International Energy Agency Laura Cozzi says the group has had meetings with Chinese ministers about plans to achieve net zero by 2060.

Ms Cozzi says a carbon pricing mechanism is key.

“If this was to be put in place, this is clearly going to create a huge new carbon market in the world,” she told energy industry leaders in a keynote speech.

Ms Cozzi says carbon prices are essential to help decarbonise existing infrastructure, as only half of the technologies needed to reach net zero by 2050 are at commercial scale.

“So it is really needed to have a longer term signal through carbon pricing to kickstart this new type of innovation,” she told the Carbon Market Institute event.

“So we would like to see in the lead up to COP26 next year, a number of countries that look at the longer term and net zero targets.”

Pressure is increasing on the government to set a time frame for reaching net zero emissions, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison flagging an announcement on the issue by year’s end.

He says Australia hopes to achieve net zero as soon as possible, which has been met with mixed reviews within his party.

Queensland LNP MP and Great Barrier Reef envoy Warren Entsch hopes the government sets 2050 for net zero and ditches using previous achievements under the Paris Agreement goals.

But other colleagues think it’s a legitimate way to meet the climate goals, in place to put the brakes on rising global temperatures.

Other government MPs are angry at the NSW Liberal-National government for legislating plans to replace retiring coal-fired power stations with renewable energy zones.

Labor is also working to settle its climate and energy policies, with the issue recently resulting in Joel Fitzgibbon stepping into a more junior role in protest of him believing the party is too progressive.