Melissa Price, the Federal Minister for the Environment, has cast doubt on the advice of the world’s top climate scientists about the urgent need to phase out coal-fuelled energy.
In a report released by the United Nations IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the world’s leading climate scientists asserted that worldwide emissions must get to 0 by 2050 in order to prevent global warming reaching the ‘tipping point’ of 2 degrees Celsius.
It also recommended that the percentage of coal used to power energy generation would need to drop to between 0% and 2% of the current level.
However, in her first radio interview since taking the position of Environment Minister, Ms Price defended coal as an “important part of the Australian energy mix”.
She then said that the Government would “make no apology” for its plans for “getting electricity prices down”.
She then said the call to phase out coal power by 2050 was “drawing a very long bow”, casting doubt on the expertise of the world’s leading climate scientists. Ms Price has also previously worked in the mining sector.
She then said it would be “irresponsible” for the Government to commit to phasing out coal when “by 2050” she expected technology to exist that would make coal a cleaner energy source.
In response to data showing that Australia’s emissions levels are the highest since 2011, Ms Price said that this was a “slight increase” and insisted that the Government was on track with meeting internationally agreed upon emissions reduction targets.
The Labor party has capitalised on the IPCC report and used it to demonstrate the their view that the Coalition isn’t unified on its’ approach to climate change and that more conservative elements of the party are undermining the Government’s ability to put forward sensible policy in regards to emissions reduction.