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During a recent trip to Australia, I caught up with Matt Canavan, whose position in the Australian government is most similar to that of our Interior Secretary.

Why it matters: As Australia’s minister for resources, Canavan is responsible for this nation’s rich natural resources, including coal but also wind and solar, which are growing rapidly. When we spoke, he had just finished trips in Queensland and other parts of the country facing extreme weather, some of which scientists say is growing more extreme due to rising global temperatures.

Here are edited excerpts of our interview.

On whether he agrees with the science that says Australia is already and will continue to face more extreme weather due to warmer global temperatures.

  • Canavan: "I certainly think I accept the science being described by the IPCC [United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], and yes as part of their latest report, they do talk about potentially [increasing] in bushfire risk. That is something we should prepare for, something we can manage. My main beef is that the government is not managing that risk very well; they’re doing less land clearing. … Linking every weather event to climate change is just not good science. In fact, if you read the IPCC report, there’s no evidence climate change is contributing to an increase in rainfall or cyclonic [hurricane] events in Australia.”
  • Reality check: Per Axios’ science editor Andrew Freedman, he’s right about cyclones in Australia, but leaving out important context on rainfall, including that the IPCC also says precipitation extremes are already increasing in frequency and severity around the world.

On Australia’s relationship with America. Australia is the world’s top exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG) and coal. Meanwhile, the U.S. is looking to export more coal as its domestic market wanes and it’s set to take the top spot with LNG exports in a years.

  • Canavan: "I’ve met with U.S. government officials a number of times. We have a shared interest in seeing the adoption and promotion of cleaner fossil fuels in the Asia Pacific region. … I also always say we’re a competitor with the United States in the gas market, and increasingly coal, too."
  • Reality check: America is unlikely to overtake Australia on coal, but in a few years, Australia will be in solid third place on LNG exports behind both U.S. and Qatar, per a Credit Suisse analyst quoted in this Reuters article.

On Australia’s potential to be a wind and solar superpower, given its vast swaths of sunny, open lands.

  • Canavan: "Let’s just keep our own lights on first. … Our energy system needs significant reform and investment, particularly non-renewable and non-intermittent. That’s why the government is prioritizing reliable power and coal-fired power. We are struggling with around 20% renewable energy in the market, higher in some regions, which is making it very difficult to keep the lights on in South Australia. "
  • Reality check: Australia is facing high electricity prices and reliable issues, as Canavan noted, and increased renewable energy is one of several factors for that, experts say. Lack of reliable and redundant transmission networks facing more extreme weather is another, along with a lack of coherent government energy and electricity policy, which is styming investments in the sector.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Big Tech lobbies hard against looming antitrust bill

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big Tech CEOs, including Apple's Tim Cook and Google's Sundar Pichai, have been jawboning lawmakers as a Senate committee takes up a key antitrust bill Thursday.

Why it matters: The bill prompting this lobbying frenzy could upend how tech's giants do business, and tech's critics see this as a "now or never" moment for Congress to check the industry's power.

Biden stock market gets Trumped

Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

U.S. stocks markets performed worse during the first year of Joe Biden's presidency than during the first year of Donald Trump's presidency.

By the numbers: The S&P 500 rose 19.3% between the market close before Biden's inauguration and yesterday's market close, compared to a 24.1% increase for Trump during the similar period.

First look: Biden's Year One turnover

Expand chart
Data: Brookings Institution; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Low first-year turnover among President Biden's senior staff marks a "return to normalcy" and a sign of stability after the Trump years, says a new Brookings Institution report reviewed by Axios.

Driving the news: The departure of five out of 66 "A-Team" officials puts Biden's departure rate as the third lowest since Ronald Reagan's presidency, above only George H.W. Bush and son George W. Bush, the report found.