Aerial view of the Galilee Basin coal mine in Queensland, Australia. Photo: GVK Resources

3 November 2014 (BBC News) – Australia is a drag on international efforts to tackle climate change, says leading economist and former government adviser Professor Ross Garnaut.

Prof Garnaut said the country had failed to make its "fair share" of greenhouse gas cuts.

Earlier, Prime Minister Tony Abbott reiterated his position that coal was the foundation of global energy needs.

Australia has the world's highest carbon emissions per capita and is its second biggest coal exporter.

Prof Garnaut, who teaches at the Australian National University, said progress made by the government's Direct Action policy would be undone by emissions made by companies not covered by that policy.

Direct Action includes a A$2.5bn (£1.4bn; $2.2bn) fund that will be used to pay big polluters to cut emissions and use cleaner energy.

"It is a bit sad. We are a drag on the international efforts [to tackle climate change]," Prof Garnaut said in an interview on ABC TV.

"You could make the case [that] we were once doing our fair share, now we are not," he said. [more]

Australia is 'holding back' global climate change fight



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