July 15, 2017 - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has mounted a defense of coal-powered electricity, saying those who think the resource doesn't have a future are "delusional".
Addressing the Liberal National Party state convention in Brisbane, Mr. Turnbull hit out at the state Labor government's "reckless" plans to ensure Queensland's energy supply is carbon neutral by 2050 and said Australia had an interest in ensuring the future of coal.
"Those people who say coal and other fossil fuels have no future are delusional and they fly in the face of all of the economic forecasts," he told the crowd of party faithful.
His sentiments were greeted with applause by the crowd, who had a day earlier passed a resolution urging a future state LNP government to promote and support the coal industry.
The convention is also considering a resolution to call on the Turnbull government to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, which is likely to be debated on Sunday.
Mr. Turnbull devoted a significant portion of his 20-minute address to energy policy, warning of the impact of renewables on power prices and the security of the electricity grid.
He said Queensland's efforts to source 50 percent of its electricity supply by 2030 would see it follow the path of South Australia, which has been hit by high prices and supply issues.
"We know what happens if you allow left-wing ideology and politics to drive your energy policy. You get unreliable and unaffordable power, and business is driven out of your State," he told the crowd.
"Now, what the Palaszczuk government is seeking to do here is undermine your competitiveness in the interests of chasing green votes in the inner city and you can't allow them to get away with it, and we won't."
He said as the world's largest exporter of coal, Australia had an interest in demonstrating that clean-coal could play a role in a low-emissions energy future.
Mr. Turnbull later told reporters ideology had no role to play in the energy policy debate.
"The critical thing to do with energy is to plan it, you've got to be businesslike about it," he told reporters on the Gold Coast.
"That's why I say our policy is based on engineering and economics, not on ideology and politics."