The Australian government has rejected calls from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to phase out coal-fired power by 2050.
The landmark IPCC report on Monday warned that the world has 12 years to avoid climate change catastrophe, saying that unprecedented changes to society were required to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, reports Xinhua news agency.
Despite the dire warning, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said that Australia would “absolutely” continue to use and exploit its coal reserves, arguing that renewable energy sources could not replace coal.
“The fact is, coal mining… And coal-fired power stations do play an important part of our energy mix in Australia and will do so going forward,” McCormack told the media.
“The government (is) supportive of small business, of industry, of farms, and of coal mining,” he said.
The IPCC report found that Australia was responsible for approximately 1 per cent of global emissions despite accounting for only 0.3 per cent of the global population.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday said that Australia would not abandon its Paris agreement commitment to reduce emissions by 26 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 but said that his government would not be “held to” the IPCC report.
Leader of the opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP), Bill Shorten, said that a greater proportion of Australian energy needed to come from renewable sources but did not commit to entirely phasing-out coal-fired power.