Australia's legal commitment is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by five per cent of 2000 levels, by 2020.
Mr Combet says the progress achieved there was important, but not enough to address climate change.
Mr Combet has spoken with Sabra Lane.
Speaker: Greg Combet, Australia's Climate Change Minister
REG COMBET: Well the Kyoto Protocol was the first international treaty to tackle cutting carbon pollution or greenhouse gas emissions and it's important that it has been extended. Australia will be a part of it. But it is not the whole response that's necessary because it doesn't bind all major emitters and that's the main game and the progress that was made at Doha on that front was important.
SABRA LANE: But Kyoto Mark II - Russia, Japan, Canada - have all withdrawn from it, making it weaker.
GREG COMBET: Well because they all have the same, similar view that what is necessary is a wider international agreement that binds all the major emitters, including themselves, and Australia has that view too.
For us though being part of the Kyoto Protocol second commitment period is important now that we've got our carbon price mechanism in place and in particular gives the business community confidence that they're going to have access to the biggest carbon markets in the world in the European Union and the clean development mechanism.
It's in our interest to be part of the agreement and it also helps get us towards, the stepping stone towards, a wider agreement involving the US and China and India and Russia and Japan and Canada that is necessary if we're going to successfully tackle climate change.
SABRA LANE: The Kyoto Mark II though only compels 35 industrial countries, including Australia, to cut their emissions. Those nations only make up about 15 per cent of total emissions globally.
If the climate scientists are right, those countries' efforts are just a tiny smidgeon of what's required to stop the impacts of irreversible climate change.
GREG COMBET: Well that's quite right. And what the scientists are telling us is very clear and very alarming and we do need to cut greenhouse gas emissions and Australia has got to play its fair part.
And by Australia signing up to the Kyoto Protocol again, that's all that we're doing, we're aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our economy by 5 per cent in the year 2020 compared to year 2000 levels.
Every country that signed up to Kyoto has done it on the condition that there is negotiation for the new agreement involving all the major emitters, including the US and China, and that we get on with that. And that progress was made on that front at Doha which has just concluded.
SABRA LANE: Well the world basically now has two years to get the new agreement that will take place from beyond 2020. How do you get those developing nations to sign up to make the sorts of deep cuts that are required given the level of ambition that we are seeing at these talks right now?
GREG COMBET: Well a year ago the US, China, India and others agreed to negotiate a new agreement and those negotiations are underway and they'll continue. And the Kyoto Protocol is just a part of that overall commitment.
SABRA LANE: Do you think the world is acting quickly enough?
GREG COMBET: I think everyone of course aspires to get on with this much faster. But this is a very complex international problem. No-one's ever dealt with anything like this before. They're difficult negotiations but they are progressing and we are confident that other countries are taking steps. You know.
Just in a few weeks' time the US state of California, which is a very large economy, larger than Australia's, carbon pricing kicks off with an emissions trading scheme just like ours. South Korea is getting an emissions trading scheme going in 2015, China starts carbon pricing emission trading schemes in many cities and provinces next year also. New Zealand's had a carbon price the last couple of years.
You know, while these negotiations are going on, countries are getting ready by setting up carbon pricing mechanisms. And that's what our carbon price is about - starting to cut our carbon pollution and getting the Australian economy ready for when there is a wider international set of obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Because if we do nothing and then find we've got obligations some years down the track, the shock to the Australian economy would be very significant indeed.
SABRA LANE: Developing nations have agreed to offer financial aid to poorer countries for loss and damage they suffer because of climate change. The Australian reports this morning that that could leave Australia with an annual bill of $3 billion. Is that right?
GREG COMBET: Well no, let me make this absolutely clear. The report in The Australian today is nonsense. There is no - I don't even know where such a figure has come from and Australia has not committed to be compensating anyone for loss and damage, that is complete rubbish that report.