Boris tells Morrison: Ditch coal and go nuclear
BORIS Johnson has urged Australia to create "new high-quality jobs from Perth to Penrith" by signing up to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The British Prime Minister told News Corp Australia the world was on course for "catastrophic global warming", including more intense bushfires, unless dirty coal was ditched.
And while he said that each country's energy mix was its own decision, he flagged that nuclear power provided reliable low-carbon energy.
Britain has banned the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2030, and plans to generate 250,000 new green jobs through a $7 billion (AUD) investment scheme, and wants to make London's City district the centre of global green finance.
"If we don't step up in the next decade and shift decisively to clean energy, catastrophic global warming will be all but inevitable," Mr Johnson said.
"Australia already does a fantastic job protecting its unique flora and fauna, from kangaroos to wattle trees and bottlebrush, but we've also seen the devastating effect of wildfires exacerbated by rising temperatures."
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has resisted making an iron-clad commitment to net zero emissions by 2050, although the government's position has been that it was "preferable."
The pair, who are also in the middle of talks for a historic trade deal that has been agreed in principle, will meet face-to-face at the G7 meeting of world leaders which will be held in Carbis Bay, Cornwall - a beachside resort in England's south west in June.
Mr Johnson said he hoped to share a "tinny" with Mr Morrison to celebrate the trade deal, but also wanted commitments on carbon.
"Net zero will be on the agenda for the G7 in June - we have seen the US, South Korea and Japan recently commit to reaching the target by the middle of the century and I'm hoping to see a positive announcement from Australia," he said.
Mr Johnson said there were opportunities for new jobs in a green economy.
"These industries will be vital not just to efforts to drive down global emissions, but also to futureproof our economies and generate new high-quality jobs from Perth to Penrith," he said.
Renewable energy, including wind and solar, have outstripped fossil fuels for electricity generation in the UK, and Mr Johnson is hosting the world's next climate change conference in Scotland in November.
Britain's power generation includes nuclear energy, which has so far been resisted in Australia despite our country having 46 per cent of the world's total uranium reserves.
Mr Johnson said it was up to each country to decide their energy mix, but added "nuclear power stations provide reliable low-carbon energy."
Climate change has become Mr Johnson's passion project, with the G7 and Glasgow summit's providing the platform to make it his political legacy.
Australia's coal industry, which employs 40,000 people, has already been under pressure from Chinese import bans, but was still expected to generate $15 billion in exports, according to the Australian government, in 2026.
Mr Morrison, who had trouble connecting a video call during a climate change summit with US President Joe Biden last month, has pledged $500 million to protect jobs in areas heavily reliant on coal mining.
Of that money, $275 million used for hydrogen power projects, while $263 million will be used on carbon capture projects.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor told The Australian's Ticky Fullerton on the weekend that the government would resist "sabre rattling" that could lead to global carbon taxes.
Originally published as Boris tells Morrison: Ditch coal and go nuclear