Queensland's clean coal is helping millions of Indians and Chinese claw their way out of poverty, the premier says.
Campbell Newman made the comment after a new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned time is running out to limit global warming and avert potential disaster.
The panel recommended switching from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources, increasing energy efficiency and carrying out other emission-mitigating measures to stem the effects of runaway climate change.
Mr Newman agrees there's a need to transition to a new type of energy economy, but says doing it too quickly will stall development in countries, including India.
"Those who say we can immediately change, I'm afraid, are condemning people in China, but particularly in India, who live in poverty, condemning them to that poverty," the premier told reporters in Brisbane.
"To take 1.3 billion people in India out of poverty is going to require significant energy, and coal particularly is what they're after."
"If Queensland doesn't sell our cleaner coal, our low-emissions coal, to them it will be acquired from other places where the coals have all sorts of nasties like sulphur in them and it will be burnt."
Queensland is Australia's largest coal producing state, exporting almost half the country's total last year.
The state's $19.3 billion in coal exports were about 60 per cent coking coal, used in steel making, with the remainder thermal coal used for electricity production.