Australian PM dismisses climate change criticism from teen activist Greta Thunberg
Sydney - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison dismissed criticism Monday from Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg that he was not doing enough to combat climate change.
The 16-year-old activist, who has a global following, used Twitter to slam the Australian government for failing to make the connection between the climate crisis and extreme weather and disasters like the fires that have hit the country.
"Not even catastrophes like these seem to bring any political action. How is this possible?" Thunberg Tweeted. Asked by reporters about her message, Morrison said he will do what is right for Australia's national interests.
"We'll do in Australia what we think is right for Australia...I'm not here to try to impress people overseas," Morrison said.
Earlier Monday, Morrison said calls in Australia for him to do more to fight climate change in the face of the bushfire crisis were "reckless." He said he won't be "panicked" into taking stronger action.
Not even catastrophes like these seem to bring any political action. How is this possible?— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) December 22, 2019
Because we still fail to make the connection between the climate crisis and increased extreme weather events and nature disasters like the #AustraliaFires
That's what has to change.
"We won't embrace reckless targets and abandon traditional industries that would risk Australian jobs while having no meaningful impact on the global climate," Morrison wrote in an article published Monday in the Sydney newspaper Daily Telegraph.
Morrison has long been a strong supporter of the coal industry which is Australia's biggest export. Three quarters of Australian coal production is exported and is worth 67 billion dollars (46.2 billion US dollars) a year.
Morrison wrote there was a need for "real action on climate change" across all levels, but to suggest increasing Australia's climate targets would have prevented the current fires raging across the country or extreme weather events "is simply false."
In an interview on Channel 9 Monday morning Morrison rejected a call from his deputy and leader of his National Party coalition partner, Michael McCormack, to do more to combat climate change.
"I never panic. I don't think panicking is the way to manage anything," Morrison said.
He said he would not be intimidated by the push to do more to combat climate change which was "politically motivated."dpa