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Australia only nation to join US at pro-coal event at COP24 climate talks | Environment

Australia has reaffirmed its commitment to coal – and its unwavering support for the United States – by appearing at a US government-run event promoting the use of fossil fuels at the United Nationsclimate talks in Poland.

Australia was the only country apart from the host represented at the event, entitled “US innovative technologies spur economic dynamism”, designed to “showcase ways to use fossil fuels as cleanly and efficiently as possible, as well as the use of emission-free nuclear energy”.

Its panel discussion was disrupted for several minutes by dozens of protesters who stood up suddenly during speeches, unfurling a banner reading “Keep it in the ground” while singing and chanting “Shame on you”.

Patrick Suckling, Australia’s ambassador for the environment, and the head of the country’s negotiating delegation at the climate talks, spoke on the panel. His nameplate bore a US flag.

“Actions speak loudly,” he said, “and as we’ve been hearing, the United States has been a powerhouse … in different approaches to energy security while seeking emissions reductions.

“Australia has a technology-neutral approach to emissions reduction. It’s important that we do so, we need to pull every lever to reduce emissions. We need to be open to innovation and new technologies providing multiple pathways for energy security and emissions reductions.”

Suckling said Australia would continue to invest in low-emissions innovations, including doubling its innovation investment by 2020. But he said carbon capture and storage – “a proven technology” – was important in any model for emissions reduction, and that the technology had broad applications across industries.