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Australia has forfeited world leadership on climate policy, says Kofi Annan panel

Canberra has withdrawn from constructive engagement on the issue, says report, as Australia is grilled at crucial meeting in Germany

Australia has forfeited its position as a global leader on tackling climate change and is now a “free-rider”, a panel led by former secretary general of the United Nations Kofi Annan has said.

The Africa Progress Report 2015 disputes claims by the fossil fuel lobby that moving away from carbon would impede economic growth in developing countries. It says high-emitting nations, such as Australia, have stepped back from global discussions in favour of unilateral action.

Related: The ten worst environment decisions in Abbott’s first year | Alexander White

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