Scott Morrison has attacked New Zealand's climate change policy in response to questions about Australia setting a net-zero emissions target.
Australia's prime minister faces growing pressure to set the target following Joe Biden's election as US President.
When asked by reporters if he would change Australia's approach to climate change policies in the wake of Biden's victory, Morrison pointed out that New Zealand's 2050 net zero emissions target only refers to carbon and leaves out methane, a greenhouse gas that traps 30 times as much heat as CO2, the Daily Mail reported.
"There are many countries that have made commitments in this area, but they have also made those commitments with qualifications," he told reporters today.
"For example, in New Zealand, their commitment to 2050 excludes methane. So it basically excludes agriculture and forestry, which are about half their emissions."
New Zealand's Zero Carbon bill passed last year with the support of almost the entire Parliament, led by Jacinda Ardern's coalition government.
The bill aimed to reduce methane emissions to between 24 and 47 per cent of 2017 levels by 2050.
Methane emissions from animals such as sheep and cattle make up about a third of New Zealand's total emissions. The farming sector has been critical of moves to restrict methane emissions, saying it will damage the economy.
Morrison has refused to follow other countries including China, South Korea, Japan, the UK, New Zealand and the European Union in setting a net-zero carbon emissions target to combat global warming.
Biden has said he favours a net-zero 2050 goal, leaving Australia even more isolated on the issue.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said he would adopt a net-zero target if Labor became the government.
"Australia is now isolated amongst our major trading partners," Albanese said.
Morrison said he would not bow to international pressure.
"Australia will always set its policies based on Australia's interests," he said.
He said he wanted to achieve net-zero emissions but feared a target could harm the economy and threaten thousands of jobs in fossil fuel industries.
"I owe it to Australians that if we make such commitments, I have to be able to explain how we get there and what it would cost," he said.
"Our goal is to achieve [net-zero] as soon as you can, but we'll do it on the basis of a technology roadmap."