Greens leader Adam Bandt has revealed in the event of a hung parliament his party’s “number one issue" when it comes to climate change will be to stop the opening of new coal and gas mines.
“Angry” is how he would feel if Australia’s next government adopts a business as usual approach to fossil fuels use.
In a candid interview with Yahoo News Australia about the climate crisis, Mr Bandt said he hopes the Federal Election will put an “end to this terrible government”.
“We’ll kick the Liberals out, but will push Labor to listen to the climate science and stop opening new coal and gas mines,” he said.
Mr Bandt said he’s responding to growing concern among Australians about the impact of the climate crisis which has affected everyday life through severe flood, fire and drought.
Despite this, he argues both Liberal and Labor have gone out of their way to avoid talking about the issue.
“You can't put the fire out while you're throwing petrol on it,” he said.
“But Labor and the Liberals are both backing more coal and gas in a climate emergency.”
We could be the world's renewable energy superpower if we get off coal and gas.Greens leader Adam Bandt
Bandt accuses Labor and Liberal of lying over fossil fuels
Mr Bandt is concerned donations from coal and gas corporations influence the decision making of the major parties.
He argues it’s time to have “honest conversations” with people living in communities dependent on fossil fuels about transitioning fairly towards renewables.
Workers can see through Liberal and Labor “outbidding each other” to support coal, and instead want a plan for the future, according to Mr Bandt.
“Every election time, Liberal and Labor go to these coal communities and say that we can keep opening up coal mines and mining past 2050 and still meet our climate targets,” he said.
“That's that's just a lie, and the workers in those communities know it.”
Australia could be a leader in renewable energy
Warning both Labor and Liberal emissions reductions targets will not prevent the Great Barrier Reef from being destroyed, Mr Bandt said greater cuts are urgently needed.
“The scientists are very clear that the window to act is closing and 2050 targets are too little too late,” he said.
“The science is clear. It's what we do in the next decade that counts.
“If we don't act before the window closes, then we run the risk that climate change becomes a runaway chain reaction that our kids and our grandkids won't be able to stop.”
Despite his concern about the future, Mr Bandt is hopeful that with a change of government, Australia could transition to being a leader in climate policy.
“We will protect the places that we love, we will ensure that we're still able to feed ourselves, and we can create new export industries selling the rest of the world our sun and our wind in the form of green hydrogen, or direct electricity connected across to Asia,” he said.
“We could be the world's renewable energy superpower if we get off coal and gas.”
Energy Minister Angus Taylor and Shadow Minister for Climate Change Chris Bowen have been contacted for comment.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.