Hunt focuses on 'power station clean up'

DESPITE a global report urging that coal-fired power stations must generate only 20% of the world's power by 2050, Environment Minister Greg Hunt says the government is focused on "cleaning up power stations" rather than renewable energy.

A report from the United Nation's International Panel on Climate Change, released Monday, urged global leaders to reduce reliance on coal ahead of next year's climate policy summit in Paris.

The report, synthesising previously released reports, said greenhouse gas emissions were now at the highest level in 800,000 years and coal-fired power should be eliminated by 2100.

Mr Hunt last week secured a deal with Clive Palmer and crossbench senators to pass the government's $2.5 billion emissions reduction fund and delay the abolition of the Climate Change Authority until the next election.

However, the IPCC's latest report said if global action on reducing carbon emissions was not ramped up, the likelihood of irreversible damage to the world would only increase.

It urged policymakers to take up more renewable energy, just as the Abbott government considers review recommendations to lower its renewable energy target.

But Mr Hunt said on ABC Radio on Monday that rather than renewable energy being the government's focus, it was looking at "cleaning up our power stations, (and) protecting the great rainforests".

He said while "we can all do more", he was focused on delivering outcomes, specifically in cleaning up coal emissions at existing plants, despite questions remaining about the ability of such programs to reduce emissions when compared with new renewable energy projects.

His comments follow Prime Minister Tony Abbott's declaration last month that coal was "good for humanity", and that investment must continue in the hard commodity.

However, The Greens leader Senator Christine Milne said on Monday that there was "no longer a window of opportunity for new coal mines".

She said it was time for the public to tell the government that "we don't want any changes to the renewable energy target".

While the government is still in talks with Labor over the future of the target, it faces stiff opposition from The Greens and Palmer United Party, which have both ruled out supporting any changes.


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