DEPUTY Prime Minister Michael McCormack says scientists' calls to end the use of fossil fuels are "shortsighted" and denies North Queenslanders will lose tourism jobs if coal mining continues.

A report authored by more than 90 scientists from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said global emissions of greenhouse gas pollution must reach zero by about 2050 to stop global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

At current rates the report said a 1.5C rise would be reached as early as 2040 and continue to about 2C by the 2060s.

A 2C rise is estimated to result in the loss of more than 99 per cent of the world's reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef.

The IPCC report noted every emissions reduction option must be used, including a significant reduction in the use of fossil fuels such as coal.

Speaking in Townsville yesterday Mr McCormack rejected suggestions backing the coal industry would negatively impact the thousands of North Queenslanders who relied on the Great Barrier Reef for work.

"They also have a job and have prospects, we can have both, it needs to be a sensible balance," he said.

"It's a ridiculous notion to say it's tourism versus mining … we've had both for many many decades and we'll have both for many, many decades in the future."

Mr McCormack said a lot of people relied on coal for their jobs and energy.

"The reports that suggest coal should be stopped are, I think a little short sighted, I'm not dismissing the report," he said.

I believe … that there is a viable industry in coal mining and in coal fired power stations, until we can be proven otherwise that renewables can take care of the needs of 100 per cent of our power requirements and do it at a reasonable cost, then I think coal mining has a viable future."