Australia PM defends coal after UN warning on climate

2014-11-04 11:53

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Tuesday defended using coal to generate energy as "the foundation of our prosperity", after the United Nations warned that carbon emissions were leading to disaster.

The UN climate experts said on Sunday that emissions of three key greenhouse gases were at their highest levels in more than 800 000 years and Earth was on track for temperatures to rise by at least 4°C by 2100 over pre-industrial times.

Asked about the issue, Abbott said that coal, a key export commodity for Australia and source of energy, was still critical to the nation's economy.

"For the foreseeable future coal is the foundation of our prosperity," he told reporters in Sydney.

Living standards

"Coal is the foundation of the way we live because you can't have a modern lifestyle without energy. You can't have a modern economy without energy and for now and for the foreseeable future, the foundation of Australia's energy needs will be coal."

Abbott said the fossil fuel was also crucial for the world's energy needs and would help raise living standards in less developed countries.

"If we are serious about maintaining and improving living standards in countries like Australia we have to be serious about making the best use of coal," he added.

Coal, gas and oil are the main source of global carbon emissions but also the backbone of the world's energy supply.

In its landmark review the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that unless carbon emissions were arrested, warming would bring worsening drought, flood, rising seas and species extinctions.

Unbelievable planet

Abbott, who once said climate change science was "absolute crap", has previously made comments supportive of the mining industry, which produces the country's top two exports - iron ore and coal.

In opening a Queensland mine last month, he declared "coal is good for humanity", adding that it was "very important that we sustain our faith in coal".

And since coming to power in 2013, he has abolished a carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions as well as a mining tax on coal and iron ore profits.

Following the release of the IPCC report, the Australian Greens called on for the nation's coal industry, worth some Aus$39.8bn (US$34.6bn) a year, to be scrapped.

"Four degrees is an unliveable planet, it is death to humanity," Greens leader Christine Milne said on Monday.

"Coal is bad for humanity and Tony Abbott is bad for Australia - he is actually driving global warming with his economic policy and putting our future at risk not only environmentally and socially, but economically as well."

Read more on:    un  |  tony abbott  |  climate change

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.