Scott Morrison has defended his government’s response to the bushfire crisis and says “reckless” moves like ending coal exports and setting a stricter emissions target will have no “meaningful impact” on the global climate.
The prime minister has faced criticism over his government’s climate change policies during a devastating bushfire season.
In an op-ed in The Daily Telegraph, he conceded there was need for “real action on climate change” across all levels.
“There is no disagreement and there has not been any denial of this critical factor, either by the federal government or any state or territory government,” Mr Morrison wrote.
“But to suggest that increasing Australia’s climate targets would have prevented these fires or extreme weather events, in Australia or anywhere else, is simply false.”
Mr Morrison pushed back against more stringent action, including calls to end coal exports and set an emissions target.
“We won’t embrace reckless targets and abandon our traditional industries that would risk Australian jobs while having no meaningful impact on the global climate,” he said.
The prime minister took to breakfast television on Monday – days after returning early from a controversial family holiday to Hawaii – to defend his judgement and the government’s climate change policies.
He was asked on Nine’s Today Show if he was “embarrassed” at how Australia, and his leadership, was being seen globally.
“People from outside Australia will make whatever comments they want,” Mr Morrison said.
“I’ll set Australia’s policies consistent with what I took to the last election and what I believe and my government believes is Australia’s national interest.”
Asked on Seven’s Sunrise if he thought the community’s feelings on climate change had changed since the election.
“The plans that we have are as important now as they were then. We will beat our Kyoto targets … we will meet out Paris targets and I intend to beat those as well,” the prime minister said.
“I made a promise to the Australian people to take action on climate change and I am.”