Australian Prime Minister Dismisses Calls To Curb Coal Use As Wildfires Intensify

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison doubled down on his government’s climate policy amid a record-breaking heat wave and a devastating weekend of wildfires.

Hundreds of fires burned across four states, with the worst conditions in New South Wales, where approximately 100 homes have been destroyed in less than a week. More than 800 total homes have been lost since the fire season commenced in October.

The disaster has prompted criticism of Morrison’s leadership and inaction on climate change; many also took issue with his decision to vacation in Hawaii during such a difficult time. Following the death of two firefighters, Morrison yielded to complaints and returned to Sydney over the weekend.

Australia has faced international disapproval for its reliance on carryover credits to meet its commitment under the Paris climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% by 2030. The country has also been questioned for increasing coal mining.

Morrison rejected calls for cuts to the country’s lucrative coal industry.

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