SYDNEY: Veteran conservationist David Attenborough has taken aim at Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for not giving a "damn" about coal emissions and his lack of action on climate change.
The British natural historian said in an interview broadcast Tuesday (Sep 24) that Morrison's conservative government had backed away from Australia's previous commitments to take action on global warming.
"Australia, it seemed to me, were saying all the right things - previous governments were," he told national broadcaster ABC.
"And you are keepers of an extraordinary section of the surface of this planet, including the Barrier Reef," he said "what you say, what you do, really, really matters."
Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was ousted in 2018 in part due to his attempt to make climate emissions targets law.
Morrison, his successor, has stopped short of denying climate change, but continues to focus on boosting coal exports.
In the lead up to his surprise election victory this year Morrison took a political gamble when he green-lit the controversial Adani coal mine in northern Australia.
This week he snubbed a UN climate summit in New York after it emerged he would not be invited to speak for lack of new climate announcements.
Attenborough took aim at Canberra for adopting a position of it "doesn't matter how much coal we burn" and for not giving "a damn what it does to the rest of the world".
When treasurer in 2017, Morrison famously brandished a lump of coal in parliament in defence of his party's energy policies.
"I didn't think it was a joke," Attenborough said of Morrison bringing the coal to parliament.
"And if you weren't opening a coal mine, OK, I would agree, it's a joke. But you are opening a coal mine."