Existing climate policies to protect Australian environment from future bushfires: PM

2020-01-03 14:30:25Xinhua Editor : Cheng Zizhuo ECNS App Download

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that the nation's existing emissions reduction targets would be enough to prevent future bushfire crises.

Speaking at a press conference as bushfires continued to burn in all six of Australia's states, Morrison announced that the National Security Committee (NSC) will meet on Monday to discuss "longer-term" responses to the crisis.

"Our emissions reductions policies will both protect our environment and seek to reduce the risk and hazard we are seeing today. At the same time, it will seek to make sure the viability of people's jobs and livelihoods," he told reporters.

Victoria has declared a State of Disaster, where two people are dead and Victoria authorities have grave fears for 28 people missing. Another big state, New South Wales, is in a State of Emergency, where death toll has risen to eight.

Morrison, whose leadership has been criticized amid the crisis, on Thursday reassured those in affected areas that "help will arrive" but said that no "single policy, climate or otherwise" could entirely prevent bushfires.

Australia has committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 but the government has been urged to pursue more ambitious policies.

"I am sure you would also agree that no response by any one government anywhere in the world can be linked to one fire event," Morrison said.

"They are natural disasters. They wreak this sort of havoc when they affect our country and they have for a very long time."

The Royal Australian Navy on Thursday began evacuating residents and holiday-makers in coastal towns that were trapped by the fires in eastern Victoria.

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