Australia stepped up lobbying ahead of the global climate talks in Copenhagen, with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd accepting a key role at the summit in December.

Rudd has accepted an offer from Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen to become a friend of the Copenhagen summit chair, giving him a key role in helping to forge an international deal to curb greenhouse emissions ahead of the December meeting, reports Reuters.

“The leaders engaged by Prime Minister Rasmussen will conduct regular discussions in the lead up to Copenhagen focused on delivering effective action on climate change,” a spokesman for Rudd told Reuters.

Meanwhile Australia’s Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, who is negotiating to push laws for a domestic carbon-trade scheme through Australia’s parliament, will attend a Barcelona meeting of environment ministers later this week where she will push for progress ahead of the Copenhagen talks.

Australia has proposed a system of national schedules, which will allow developed countries to set individual carbon reduction targets.

It has also promised to cut greenhouse emissions by 5%, or up to 25% if other countries take strong action to curb emissions.