The federal government's cornerstone energy policy has almost universal support across the country, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull believes, but the same can't be said within the coalition.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott continues to stir discontent around the proposed National Energy Guarantee, including calling for Australia to back away from its globally binding emissions reduction targets.
Mr Abbott wants Australia to follow the lead of the United States and withdraw from its Paris climate agreement commitments - made first by him - to reduce 2005 level emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030.
He claims the original commitment was aspirational, not binding.
"Absent America, my government would not have signed up to the Paris treaty, certainly not with the current targets," he said in a speech to the Australian Environment Foundation on Tuesday night.
He also claims there's "no plausible evidence" the government's energy policy can address reliability, price and emissions reductions altogether.
But Mr Turnbull says there's "almost universal support across the country" for the plan, including from the minerals industry, manufacturers and unions.
"Our policies are working and the NEG is a very big part of it - it will ensure Australians have reliable and more affordable power," he told reporters.
Earlier his deputy Julie Bishop batted down Mr Abbott's Paris agreement claims saying it was always intended Australia would be accountable for the targets.
"Australia plays by the rules - if we sign an agreement we stick to the agreement," she said.
Mr Abbott is one of a handful of coalition MPs pushing for new coal-fired power plants.
Labor leader Bill Shorten told reporters on Wednesday he believed coal had a place in Australia's future energy mix but rated the chance of new coal investment as "highly unlikely, to not going to happen".
He said he feared pressure from pro-coal supporters within the coalition would result in a watered-down version of the energy policy.
"The idea that climate change is someone else's problem ... not only is that bad for our international reputation, not only is that bad for the environment but it's bad for jobs," Mr Shorten said.
Opposition to the NEG exists not just in the Liberals but also within the Nationals.
Some minor-party MPs are reportedly passing around a list of demands for changes to the guarantee, including a $5 billion fund to support assistance for coal, gas or traditional hydro projects that could deliver electricity around the clock, regardless of the weather.
The Australian, which obtained a copy of the document, says it's being promoted as a "genuine and serious policy position".
But while backbencher Michelle Landry says more negotiation is needed and coal must be a part of the guarantee, Nationals minister David Littleproud told ABC he was comfortable with the plan.