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Leadership battle could spark new Coalition climate war

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The climate wars have reignited in the Coalition party room after leadership turmoil engulfing the Nationals stoked tensions on the issue.

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Nationals leader Michael McCormack survived a leadership tilt on Tuesday from former leader Barnaby Joyce.

Joyce has described climate change as a “hobby horse” issue while moderates in the Liberal party are calling for more action to cut emissions and boost investment in renewable energy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he won’t be bullied into tougher action on climate change.

“We listen to Australians right across the country. Not just in the inner-city,” Mr Morrison told Nine today.

“We won’t be bullied into higher taxes or higher electricity prices.”

McCormack has said the government should resist further action on climate change, pointing to the action it was already taking on emissions targets.

“We’re doing that. But we’re doing it in a responsible way,” McCormack told ABC today.

“We don’t want to be sending industry offshore. And there is a future for coal in this country.”

Nationals MP David Littleproud, who has taken the party’s deputy leadership position, also ruled out further action.

“The marketplace now has greater certainty in terms of understanding that there won’t be significant changes in energy policy,” Littleproud told the ABC.

“It’s not just Australia that has to act (on climate change).”

At a Coalition partyroom meeting on Tuesday, some members referred to an “ultimate ambition of carbon neutrality” by ensuring Australia became a global leader in renewables.

As the Greens target younger voters with climate change policies at the next election, newly minted leader Adam Bandt sat down with school climate strikers at Parliament House on Wednesday morning.

Canberra teenager Aoibhinn Crimmins said the lack of action on government climate change had left her angry and wanting stronger policies.

“How can we be kids in the climate crisis,” Crimmins said.

Leaked talking points from the government on Tuesday showed extensive responses its team should adopt on climate change questions, highlighting its vulnerability on the issue.

– AAP

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