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Labor's climate emergency motion fails

Labor's bid to declare a climate emergency has failed in the Senate with a tied vote shooting down the motion.

The opposition on Wednesday tried to move an identical motion to the one which is expected to come before the lower house next week.

"The threat posed by climate change on the future prosperity and security of Australia and the globe constitutes a climate change emergency," the motion reads.

But the Greens wanted to use stronger language, with leader Richard Di Natale launching a failed bid to change the motion to explicitly "declare" a climate emergency.

A 31-31 tie meant the motion was voted down.

It came one day after the Morrison government killed off a Greens motion in the lower house to declare a climate emergency.

Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor labelled it a "grand symbolic gesture" after a 72-65 win in the House of Representatives.

But the Greens are optimistic about those numbers, saying only three government MPs had to cross the floor in order for a climate emergency to be declared.

"We'll keep coming back until parliament tells the truth," Mr Bandt tweeted.

Climate protest group Extinction Rebellion - which has attracted scathing comments from senior government figures for blocking roads - thanked Labor and the Greens.

"We will continue to escalate our disruption of business as usual until governments tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency," the group said.

Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon last week said the opposition should support the government's 26 per cent emissions reduction target.

His idea was shut down by the party, with Labor climate change spokesman Mark Butler announcing on Tuesday Labor would seek to declare a climate emergency.

He wants the parliament to acknowledge its commitment to the Paris targets of a 26 to 28 per cent emissions reduction target on 2005 levels by 2030.

His motion, which is separate to the Greens', says that failing to meet that goal would have "unprecedented and devastating environmental, economic, societal and health impacts for Australia".

Labor is still reviewing the policies its took to the election, which included a 45 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030.

© AAP 2019