"I think in Australia, we could get engagement with some of the more local countries and then extend to the Americas and then possibly one day go globally.
"To move through the region and to the international stage would be an enormous step forward."
Chinese Finance Minister Jin Renqing said his country supported the use of market-based emissions trading as a method of controlling climate change, but emphasised that China expected developed nations to carry the burden.
"Greenhouse gas is a serious challenge for us, but the source of most of the greenhouse gas produced came from developed countries," he said.
"Although China is now the biggest consumer of oil in the world, the per capita petrol consumption in China is one of the lowest in the world."
Mr Jin said China’s dependence on imported energy could be overstated. He noted that China imported only 10 per cent of its energy needs.
Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt said the US was committed to working through the UN to develop a response to climate change beyond the expiry of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. A summit in Bali is scheduled to develop a new framework.
He said the US and China remained committed to the Asia Pacific Partnership on climate change, which also includes Japan, India, Korea and Australia.