PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Joining me live now is the Deputy Labor Leader, Richard Marles. Richard, good to see you. Thanks for your time, as always. Code Red for humanity. It’s the big headline this morning. And that comes from the IPCC. What is Labor’s response to that report?

RICHARD MARLES, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Well, it’s a very significant report, as these reports have been, since they’re first being issued by the IPCC. And it’s obviously deeply concerning. We need to have meaningful and real action in respect of climate change. And what this report is showing is that the predictions of climate change, in fact, are speeding up rather than slowing down. It’s why we have been –  it’s really been part of our DNA for decades, actually, to have meaningful action on climate change- we certainly did when we were last in government. That’s why right now, we are committed to zero net emissions by 2050. But it’s why it’s so important that the government actually starts acting itself, starts committing to those measures, which really are in – contained in the Paris Accord. And it’s time for the government to actually start acting in respect of climate change.

STEFANOVIC: The report by the IPC- the IPCC, I should say –  this report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels. Does Labor still back coal beyond 2050?

MARLES: Well, coal has a role to play in our economy for some time to come- and we’ve been making that point for a while now. And you know, those who work in the coal industry are performing a really important function within our economy. It’s also clear that we need to be doing more to develop renewable energy in Australia. There is a huge opportunity for our country to really lead the world in respect of renewable energy and technology, but also renewable energy exports through the hydrogen industry. And the government likes to talk about the fact that it’s focused on technology, it’d be actually good to see what they have committed to that, what they’re doing to make sure that Australia is at the forefront of renewable energy technology, and that we are realizing the opportunity that we have as a nation to export renewable energy and to lead the world in that respect. Because right now, I don’t see it.

STEFANOVIC: Just on the subject of nuclear now. What do you say to those members of your party, and also unions as well, who do support nuclear?

MARLES: I mean, nuclear is all well and good. But the question really is whether or not there’s a feasible prospect of it playing a part in Australia’s energy mix going forward. And I think all the science at the moment and all the predictions are that there are other renewable resources, which are much more readily available than nuclear. So I think, to think about it in terms of the domestic industry, which is how the debate unfolds, is I think, to walk down a side alley, frankly. I mean, we are part of the global nuclear industry through uranium mining, and it obviously does have a really important part to play at a global level, which is quite significant we’re a part of it. But in terms of our own domestic energy consumption, really, the opportunity lies in renewable energy, because that’s where we’ve got such an incredible resource, such an incredible resource in respect of solar by virtue of the latitude of our desert to the equator, but also the resource we’ve got in wind, having a long coastline against the roaring 40s and having trade winds to our north. All of these things are assets that other countries in the world don’t have. And we have a technological base here to exploit it. But it really requires us to walk down that path with intent and purpose. And we don’t see that from this government. In fact, what we see from this government is an internal debate inside the government party room about whether or not climate change is actually happening. This report has got to make that clear. There is still a rump inside the party –  of the government party room –  which are happy to deny.

STEFANOVIC: Do you believe that the report though loses some of its credibility when talking about China and the fact that it wants to go carbon neutral by 2060. But, but no one really believes that it’s going to do that. So is China getting a leave pass?

MARLES: I think it’s really important that the whole world is acting on this. That’s what the report is calling for. That’s what really the report asks, in terms of the findings that it has. And I think the meeting in Glasgow is going to be profoundly important, every country is going to need to play its part, that includes China and includes Australia. And that’s why it’s really important that this government actually resolves its internal issues and starts acting with intent in relation to action on climate change. To have the government party room, full of a whole lot of people who are essentially denying the science of climate change in 2021, is genuinely unbelievable. And that is the situation we’ve got right now.

STEFANOVIC: The whole party is not denying the science of climate change, though.

MARLES: No, I am not saying that. I’m saying that there is a debate inside the government’s party room in relation to that. It has paralysed them in terms of their action, since they came to power. I am not saying all of them do, but there’s enough of them in there that do, which means that you’ve not had a clarity of purpose from this government, from the time that it’s been elected. It’s why, you know, we’re 21-22 energy policies, something like that, since the government’s come to power. I mean, they have been all over the place because there is a rump inside their show which thinks that climate change is not happening. And that is, frankly, in this day and age, is genuinely unbelievable.

STEFANOVIC: Richard Marles we’ll have to leave it there. Talk to you soon. Thanks for your time.

MARLES: Thanks, Peter.


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