Australia

Scott Morrison's UN speech was 'colossal bulls**t', says Climate Council chief

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One of Australia's key climate change organisations has slammed the federal government for putting lives at risk due to lack of meaningful climate action.

The CEO of Australia's leading climate change communication organisation has slammed Prime Minister Scott Morrison's United Nations speech, in which he defended the country's environmental targets, as "colossal bullshit".

Mr Morrison used his first address to the UN on Thursday to spruik Australia's emissions reduction targets and divert attention towards the issues of plastic in the ocean, illegal fishing and waste management.

"Australia is doing our bit on climate change and we reject any suggestion to the contrary," he said.

"We are successfully balancing our global responsibilities with sensible and practical policies to secure our environmental and economic future."

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie.
Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie.
AAP

In response, the CEO of the Climate Council - an independent body comprised of science, health, renewable energy and policy experts - Amanda McKenzie, said the Prime Minister was "out of touch with what is happening all around us".

"Over the winter we saw bushfires burning across Australia while the Amazon rainforest and the Arctic were on fire. A major new report shows that suburbs in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne could experience serious sea level disasters every year on our current trajectory," she said in a statement on Thursday.

"Meanwhile, on this government’s watch, Australia’s pollution is rising year on year. To suggest we are doing enough is ludicrous and dangerous."

In an unprecedented move, the Climate Council also issued a statement fact-checking claims made in Mr Morrison's speech.

According to the statement, Australia has one of the weakest emission reduction targets among developed countries (26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030) and is the 17th largest polluter in the world, despite Mr Morrison's claim that the government is "taking real action on climate change".

The Climate Council's head of research, Martin Rice, told SBS News that the government's current climate policy was "downright dangerous".

"The federal government is effectively putting Australian lives, our economy and the natural environment at risk," he said.

"We've seen other world leaders look at the UK; they have bipartisan support on climate change. They've got strong net emission targets. The same for Germany. They've shown global leadership while Australia continues to be a global deviant."

On Friday, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean said measures to target illegal fishing and plastics, as lauded in Mr Morrison's speech, failed to combat the "big enemy" to the world's oceans.

“The most pernicious thing happening in our oceans are the acidification, the oxygenation and the warming," Peter Thomson told SBS News.

The common enemy in those three trends is greenhouse gas emissions ... so, controlling our greenhouse gas emissions is what this whole fight is about.”

Mr Morrison has been contacted for comment. 

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