Labor promises ambitious climate policies

LABOR is promising more ambitious policies than the coalition at the next election to tackle climate change after Australia's bushfire crisis.

Opposition climate spokesman Mark Butler also wants the government to allow a debate on climate change in parliament when it returns in February.

"Hopefully we could fashion a bipartisan position," he told ABC radio on Wednesday.

Mr Butler said the bushfire crisis had raised the tempo of the debate around climate change in Australia and overseas.

He said Labor's focus now was on the current emergency.

"There will be a need for a very thorough inquiry into these events and also a full national debate about how we protect future generations around climate change impacts," Mr Butler.

"What people can be assured of is that we will have a more ambitious climate change policy at the next election than the coalition."

Labor leader Anthony Albanese recently toured Queensland coal country, throwing his support behind the industry.

But Mr Butler said if the world was going to meet international carbon reductions targets, fossil fuel use would have to decline sharply.

As recently as Sunday, the prime minister claimed his government had always made the connection between climate change and extreme weather conditions.

Government ministers were forced to distance themselves from comments made by a Liberal backbencher on UK television on Tuesday.

Craig Kelly used an appearance on Good Morning Britain to deny the links between climate change and Australia's bushfires.

Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud described his comments as a "sideshow".

"He doesn't represent the views of the government," Mr Littleproud told reporters on Tuesday.

"Our view of climate change is that it's real. We accept the science," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.


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