And that must involve governments working with the corporate sector, the head of the Business Council of Australia says.
Labor states led by South Australia have discussed setting up their own clean energy target, as the Turnbull government hints it will drop the policy recommended by Chief Scientists Alan Finkel.
But Business Council head Jennifer Westacott said it would be better to have the national government sort out the mess.
"Let's remember where some of the problems begin - the states have put moratoriums on gas exploration, the states have imposed additional renewable energy targets on top of the commonwealth's target, the states have introduced a mishmash of greens schemes that have put up prices," she told the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.
She also called for the climate agenda to be decluttered, saying there was a lot of confusion.
The debate had lost sight of the fact it would need an economy-wide effort to cut emissions, instead focusing solely on the energy sector.
If the clean energy target is being abandoned by the Turnbull government, the business community wants to be involved in working out a new policy.
"I want to see the plan, I want to see a comprehensive plan. Then, I think, and only then, can you start saying can we meet that (emissions reduction) target," Ms Westacott said.
The business community was being hampered by not knowing what the carbon price or mechanism will be in 2026.
Ms Westacott warned business would be back at square one, after another false start, without agreement on a clean energy target.