Labor resources spokeswoman Madeleine King and Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)

Labor is still battling a climate change stalking horse -- and now it’s tackling a straw man as well.

Former resources spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon -- who quit the frontbench to continue chest thumping about coal -- was seen by some to be bugling for a leadership change. Now new resources spokeswoman Madeleine King is stepping into the ring on behalf of dirty rocks. She says Labor supports the coal sector, and that Australia will keep exporting coal beyond 2050 -- as in, the year in which Labor has pledged to reach zero net emissions.

"It is about having a more mature conversation and explaining exactly what this will involve", she said. "We all want a renewable energy future but it will not, cannot, happen overnight.