Australia on Tuesday said that India and China should continue relying on fossil fuels for energy needs despite growing concerns about their impact on global warming.
In a speech to the International Energy Agency's (IEA) governing board meeting in Sydney, Australia's Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane said that while there were growing calls for countries to find cleaner energy sources, fossil fuels still had a major role to play.
"Despite what some commentators, and sadly, some politicians, may think, development is the best friend the earth has," he was quoted as saying by 'The Age'.
"That said, the reality we can't ignore - and must plan for - is that fossil fuels will continue to dominate the global energy mix. This is especially true in China and India."
Voicing his support for the two Asian giants' quest for energy, Macfarlane said the West should not try to curb their energy consumption in the name of a cleaner environment.
"I can assure our friends from China and India that we want you to have reliable power from secure, stable energy suppliers and the best way to provide that power - for now at least - is with fossil fuels."
"It is unrealistic and unfair for the west to look to China and India - and other developing countries around the world - and say 'you need to scale back your energy expansion so we can cut carbon emissions'."
The IEA's recent World Energy Outlook 2006 report predicted carbon emissions from fossil fuels, such as coal, would continue growing in line with demand from fast-growing economies like India an China.