Australia fires: PM rejects ‘reckless’ calls to limit coal industry
Original article published by the BBC
Australian PM Scott Morrison says he will not make “reckless” cuts to the nation’s coal industry, despite criticism of his response to climate change and a deadly bushfire crisis.
Australia is being ravaged by bushfires which have killed nine people and razed hundreds of homes since September.
As the crisis escalated last week, Mr Morrison faced a backlash for deciding to take a family holiday to Hawaii.
On Monday, he reiterated he would not adjust his policies through “panic”.
The nation has steadfastly backed coal-fired power for its economic value, despite the recommendations of a major report on climate change. The coal industry employs some 38,000 people, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
“What we won’t do is engage in reckless and job-destroying and economy-crunching targets which are being sought,” Mr Morrison told local broadcaster Nine.
Many Australians have accused his government of inaction on global warming, with criticism growing as a heatwave broke records across the country and worsened the fires.
The town of Balmoral, south-west of Sydney, was largely destroyed and scores of homes were razed amid catastrophic conditions on the weekend.
What did Mr Morrison say?
Mr Morrison said tackling climate changes was “as important now” as it was earlier this year, before the fire emergency.
He said his nation was on track to meet its emissions reduction commitments – an assertion previously disputed by the UN.
“I don’t accept the suggestion that Australia is not carrying its weight,” he said on Sunday.
Why is he being criticised?
Australia is committed to reducing its emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030.
It has sought to achieve this in part by using credits accrued for beating targets under the previous international climate agreement, the Kyoto Protocol. It is the only country in the world openly doing this.