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Australian parties spar over climate change ahead of elections

Extreme weather swipes at economy of one of world's largest coal exporters

Young protesters in Sydney answer a student-led call for action against climate change, which many Australians blame for the extreme weather conditions that have been affecting their country. (Photo by Fumi Matsumoto)

SYDNEY -- Global warming is becoming a major campaign issue in Australia, one of the world's biggest coal exporters, as the nation moves closer to federal elections due by the end of May.

Extreme weather has been battering Australia for years, but in 2018 the country's farms came in for particularly harsh punishment. Droughts, wildfires, floods and heat waves also persuaded the largest opposition party to come up with an ambitious renewable energy plan. And that convinced the ruling Liberal Party-National Party coalition to promise adding 2 billion Australian dollars (U.S.$1.4 billion) to a previous government's anti-climate-change spending initiative.

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