The Prime Minister has failed to properly respond to today's admirable call by 61 eminent Australians for an international moratorium on new coal mines to be negotiated at the Paris climate talks.
Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and climate change spokesperson, said:
"The group of eminent Australians are calling for an international moratorium on new coal mines and for this to be put on the agenda in Paris.
"But when asked about the call, the Prime Minister mischaracterised it as one for ending existing coal mining in Australia, and avoided answering the real call for no additional, new coal mines.
"Australians deserve more than a Prime Minister who sidesteps questions about our future and that of our children and our Pacific neighbours. Coal must not be treated as the elephant in the room at the climate talks.
"Standing next to our new chief scientist, who had just outlined his vision for a zero emissions future, the Prime Minister repeated the coal lobby's mantra that coal will relieve energy poverty, which is factually incorrect given the lack of electricity grid and the expense of coal.
"In contradiction, the Prime Minister then correctly said in developing countries where people are not connected to the grid, solar was a cheaper option than coal.
"While the Prime Minister rightly lauded the potential for clean energy, he is keeping Tony Abbott's plans to abolish the clean energy support agencies ARENA and the CEFC, and is persisting with Abbott's science-ignoring pollution reduction targets.
"The Prime Minister is using rhetoric to juggle the wishes of the climate dinosaurs in his party against the overwhelming community support for climate action.
"But he can't have it both ways - Australians want action on climate change and that means walking the walk, including by increasing our targets for Paris in line with science," Senator Waters said.