The Federal Environment minister has given his support for coal as an energy source, saying it will provide power for “decades and decades” to come.

His call came just days after the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emphatically urged world leaders to move toward renewable sources of energy.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has made the prediction that Australia will remain coal-powered for another generation, saying he believes carbon capture and use will drive down the impact of one of the main sources of pollution and man-made carbon emissions.

“Coal will be used for decades and decades more … but what I do think will change is the emissions from it and that is the critical thing,” Mr Hunt told Sky News this week.

“What I think will happen is this … we will be able to use coal and gas in a dramatically more efficient way, with dramatically lower emissions … that will happen over the coming decade as we make real progress, including cleaning up our brown coal power stations, with drying gasification and capturing, not for storage … but capture and reuse,” he said.

Hunt said there were three “great sources” for reducing carbon emissions for Australia; “the land sector, energy efficiency and cleaning up power stations”.

He believes that researchers will create new ways to efficiently extract from coal processing to make it cleaner and safer. This claim comes as chief research body the CSIRO braces for massive funding cuts. 

Mr Hunt will soon release the government’s white paper detailing the Direct Action plan to fight climate change, and given that he is a big proponent of major pollution methods, it is likely that the plan will be to give mining companies money to try carbon capture and storage projects.

Reports so far say the Direct Action fund has been allocated $300 million, $500 million and $750 million to cover its first three years, with an unspecified amount available in years after. The plan is it to offer funds to companies and organisations that attempt to reduce their emissions.

Mr Hunt continues not to be drawn on the topic of the future for Australia’s short-term minimum emissions reduction target of 5 per cent by 2020.