Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack is standing on the side of coal, emphasising that a government plan to move towards more gas is still a draft.
The Nationals leader on Friday declared his whole party backs coal: “We’re all pro-coal … we’re pro-all technologies.”
“We believe in technology rather than taxation,” he told reporters in Canberra.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor has released a discussion paper for the government’s technology roadmap, which lays out an investment plan for a cleaner economy.
It highlights the importance of gas, hydro and hydrogen for Australia’s future, with coal moving into the shadows.
“It is a draft,” Mr McCormack said.
“It’s in its draft form so there will be the opportunity for input into that process.”
Australia is a signatory to the Paris agreement which means it’s committed to a 26 to 28 per cent reduction in emissions on 2005 levels by 2030.
The global pact also includes a target of net zero emissions by 2050, a goal which the federal government shies away from.
Mr McCormack has downplayed the goal.
“It’s 2020. We’re talking about 30 years in advance,” he said.
“I know a lot of people set their hair on fire about climate change and all the rest, yes it is important … but what’s important is also jobs for the here and now.”
Labor leader Anthony Albanese says the deputy prime minister’s comments about climate change are inappropriate given the role it played in the devastating bushfires over summer.
“He should reflect on those comments and retract them,” he told reporters in Sydney.
“We need to be very careful about the language that we use. When it comes to climate change – it is real, we do need action.”