The Deputy Prime Minister has doubled down on his criticism of a global climate leader, despite being questioned if he should be more respectful.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has doubled down in his criticism of the COP26 president, after mocking Alok Sharma for his visible emotion at the end of the global climate summit.
At the end of the summit on the weekend, Mr Sharma handed down a watered down communique signed by some 200 countries, which outlined a plan to phase down, rather than phase out, coal.
Mr Sharma looked to be on the brink of tears, apologising as he ratified the deal.
Mr Joyce said Mr Sharma “annoyed” him for the emotional way he had acted.
“(Sharma) was with his gavel and oh, I’m almost crying, I can’t do this,” Mr Joyce told the ABC on Monday.
Mr Joyce was asked about whether that was appropriate on ABC radio on Tuesday morning, with host Fran Kelly questioning whether the president of COP26 didn’t “deserve more respect”.
“I am cynical about it. Why didn’t he mention his North Sea Oil? And what are the carbon emissions that come from that?” Mr Joyce said.
“Why is it that they can keep one of their biggest exports, and are perplexed that we don’t want to shut down our second biggest export.
“They (the UK) are putting in more oil wells… This is where I get so cynical about it.
“The reason everybody was so perplexed and torn apart was because we didn’t sign up to shut down the coal industry, which would have been absolutely economically devastating for our nation.”
Despite Mr Joyce’s implications that the UK would be installing more oil wells, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Glasgow agreement was the “death knell for coal”.
But, Nationals senator Matt Canavan said the weaker language agreed upon in the final communique was in fact a “green light” for Australia to also build more coal mines.
When asked who was right, Mr Joyce said Senator Canavan was “pretty smart”.
“What he’s clearly saying is, if I look out at Newcastle Harbour and there are coal ships, they’re taking my coal. And there are,” Mr Joyce said.
“The world is still demanding coal. They’re demanding more of it at a higher price … because of coal fire power station.”
Mr Joyce has also rejected calls from some Liberals, including Dave Sharma and Jason Falinski, to set an ambitious 2035 target, as high as 45 per cent, given the government has refused to increase the 2030 goal.
“The Nationals have clearly stated that they’re not changing the 2030 target. We’ve been honest and upfront about that,” Mr Joyce said.
“ … This is not the view you get from Singleton or Muswellbrook and it’s not the view you get from Gladstone.
“We have to represent our constituencies and we’ve been upfront and honest.”