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Australia rejects UN appeal to stop coal use by 2050

Australia has rejected a call by group of 91 scientists to phase out the use of coal by 2050, saying that to comply with the recommendation is "irresponsible," the Financial Times reported Oct. 9.

The country's Environment Minister Melissa Price said the call of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to stop using coal to generate electricity by 2050 is "drawing a very long bow."

"I just [do not] know how you could say by 2050 that [you are] not going to have the technology [that is] going to enable good, clean technology when it comes to coal. That would be irresponsible of us," Price said.

The world's biggest coal exporter also said its priority is to cut domestic electricity prices rather than curb greenhouse gas emissions, which have risen for four straight years. Australia generates two-thirds of the country's electricity and reported a record A$61 billion export earnings in the 2017-2018 financial year.

Australia rejected the UN call after the panel in its report published Oct. 8, warned that the world will warm by 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, a level that would disrupt life around the planet.

Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef system on the planet, has lost half its coral after two heatwaves in 2016 and 2017, said the FT report.

Climate experts said Australia may miss its Paris target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26% to 28% by 2030 due to policy inaction.

"Australia has no coherent national energy emissions policy...,"Kate Mackenzie, a director of Climate-Kic Australia, told the Financial Times. "We are also well behind comparable countries in policy areas such as transport."