An Australian economist has accused his government of hypocrisy at the Climate Action Pacific Partnership in Fiji.
Roderick Campbell from the Australia Institute said Canberra claimed to be helping the Pacific deal with climate change while planning to double coal exports.
Mr Campbell urged Pacific leaders to push for a global moratorium on new coal mines at November’s COP 23 UN climate change conference in Bonn.
He said the Australian government as well as its coal industry could be receptive to the idea.
“The importance of coal in the Australian economy is widely overstated,” said Mr Campbell. “Coal accounts for less than one percent of Australian employment … [and] no more than two percent of government revenue.
“If Australia was to stop approving new mines the effect would actually be to increase coal prices, which would work in the favour of existing coal mines. There are parts of the coal industry that don’t want to …