“See what I’ve found in engaging with neighbours and even here is often times … people have had a prejudiced view about what Australia is actually doing,” Mr Morrison said.
“They get their information now, where do they get their information from? Who knows? Maybe they read it … But from what’s come out in the media and other things like this, how they get their information … All I am saying is when I’ve spoken to them, they’ve been surprised to learn about the facts about what Australia has been doing.”
He said Australia’s priority was meeting its 2020 and 2030 emissions targets “by keeping the commitments that we gave to the Australian people”.
Mr Morrison said there would be many technological advancements in the energy sector over the next decade and he was confident Australia would “do better” than just meeting its 2030 commitments of a 26 per cent reduction on 2005 levels.
“We can all get very excited about what happens at global summits, but what is actually more important is what happens on the ground,” he said.
“Whether you build the world’s largest pumped hydro project in the southern hemisphere, which is what we’re doing. Whether you actually have a climate solutions fund that runs reverse options to reduce emissions, that’s the stuff that matters.
“People can say whatever they like at the United Nations, and they often do, but at least Australia, when we say it, we actually do it.”
Without mentioning 16-year-old Ms Thunberg by name, Mr Morrison reaffirmed his view that society should should “let our children be children, let our kids be kids, let our teenagers be teenagers”.
Mr Morrison earlier told the United Nations he had many letters from children in Australia concerned about their future.
“I take them very seriously and I deeply respect their concerns and indeed I welcome their passion, especially when it comes to the environment,” he said.
“We must respect and harness the passion and aspiration of our younger generations, we must guard against others who would seek to compound or, worse, facelessly exploit their anxiety for their own agendas.
“We must similarly not allow their concerns to be dismissed or diminished as this can also increase their anxiety. What parent could do otherwise?
Rob Harris is the National Affairs Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra