Fossil fuels are Australia’s largest export item, and if it is abolished, the people would have to accept a lower standard of living, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce claims.
Climate change skeptic Barnaby Joyce made the statement amid ongoing discussions in Australia regarding net-zero carbon emission goals, which the country has not yet determined. The biggest coal exporter in the world is under pressure to make pledges like the United States, European Union, Japan, China, and 125 other countries, which have committed to achieving the goal by 2060 or earlier.
Australia is the world’s bigger exporter of coal
The opportunity to make the pledge is the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, hosted by the United Kingdom, in partnership with Italy. It will be held from October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow. There is hope the participants would set new emission standards to slow global warming and prevent the increase of the temperature above 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Out of 191 signatories of the Paris Agreement, 81 haven’t sent their new or updated nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by the July 30 deadline.
It is possible that Australia won’t attend COP26 in Glasgow
It is not clear whether Australia will attend COP26. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he has “not made any final decisions” on attending, suggesting it was a burden.
The prime minister said he would consider other priorities, including the reopening of Australia’s borders. He said Australia wishes to reach climate neutrality as soon as possible, but no measures were adopted.
Joyce: Net-zero goal is responsible for the UK’s energy crisis
Barnaby Joyce is the leader of the National Party of Australia, also known as the Nationals, and a coalition partner of Prime Minister Scot Morrison. Joyce confirmed discussions are underway on the plan for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
“We look at it through the eyes of making sure that there is not an unreasonable loss of jobs or any loss of jobs in regional areas. We’ve got to remember this is the area where we have the mining industry and this is the area we have the agricultural industry and it’s not just those farms, it’s not just those mines, it’s the towns that are attached to the commerce of those industries, it’s the hairdressers, the tire business. These people also have to rely on the Nationals to make sure that we don’t pull the economic rug out from underneath them,” he said in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
If one wants to see what pulling the economic rug out looks like, the good example are the UK and Europe with a six‑fold increase in energy prices in one year and 250% since the start of the year, he said.
A few days ago, 850,000 people lost their energy provider and the real concern is about their capacity as they go into winter to keep themselves warm and even keep the food production processes going through, Joyce added.
UK experts have promptly answered to this statement, saying that the UK energy crisis isn’t related to its net-zero target.
When countries stop to import Australia’s coal, the country will know that they abandoned it
Joyce also underlined that an economy of the towns and loss of jobs must be taken into account to prevent “the obvious chaos that’s happening in Europe”.
“Because you’ve got to remember fossil fuels are your nation’s largest export and if you take away your nation’s largest export or it’s to affect them in any way, then you’ve got to accept a lower standard of living,” he said.
According to Joyce, the loss of interest for Australia’s coal from abroad will be the signal that the world has moved on.
“But currently we have record sales at record prices, and we have England reopening coal-fired power stations because they can’t keep the lights on,” Joyce repeated.
Of note, the biggest importers of Australia’s coal are Japan, China, India, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan.