Barnaby Joyce has declared climate targets will be a crucial election issue as he continues negotiations with the prime minister ahead of major international talks.
Scott Morrison is under pressure to back a 2050 net zero carbon emissions target before the United Nations' COP26 climate conference in Glasgow at the end of the month.
But some Nationals MPs have fiercely opposed the goal, which has exposed divisions on climate within the coalition.
Mr Joyce said the issue was incredibly important and promised the junior coalition partner would not "tick and flick" signing up to a target.
"I've been down this road before with the Kyoto Protocol. I've been burnt once. I don't want to get burnt again," he told reporters on the Liverpool Plains in NSW.
"I can also under the arguments where people say to be a good global citizen we have a role to play."
Under Kyoto-era laws, the Howard government enticed states to restrict land clearing, which left farmers fuming.
"What happened in Kyoto is they made their so-called equation work by taking a private asset that farmers had and just divesting them of it," Mr Joyce said.
"Just basically stealing an asset like they stole your television set."
The deputy prime minister said the Nationals would deliberate to see if a consensus could be reached, even if some members remained flatly opposed.
"That's the call of the leadership group to say, 'I see the position of the room, this is my interpretation of the views, basically in the majority, but not to every person and I therefore say that this is our position'," he said.
He said people in regional areas were parochial about government having respect for earning export dollars in mining and agriculture.
"The next election will hinge on the competency of government and will hinge on whether you're going to have a job," he said.
"It will hinge on whether you're going to do things like building infrastructure in the area, not just concentrate on the inner suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney, as wonderful as those places are."
Resources Minister Keith Pitt has proposed the government become a $250 billion financier of last resort for mining projects that don't get private funding.
Mr Morrison stressed regional areas would be part of the transition to new forms of energy, delivering new types of jobs.
Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is urging the Morrison government to invest in more long-term storage capacity to ensure the reliability of renewable energy.
He pointed to Snowy Hydro 2.0, one of his pet projects, as an example of what's needed for a zero-emissions economy.
Australian Associated Press
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