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The Future of Australian Coal

Australian environmentalists believe the political climate is changing. They say that last month’s Paris climate summit signaled a shift toward a zero-carbon global economy, so Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should get with the program, phasing out fossil fuels and slashing emissions further than his center-right government’s target of 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2030.

On the surface, the climate debate has shifted away from the skepticism of Tony Abbott,the former conservative prime minister whose opposition to the Labor Party’s carbon tax helped ensure his election victory in 2013. After all, Paris was a public-relations success for the anticarbon crowd. Stocks in fossil-fuel companies plummeted and renewables soared on the Australian stock exchange following the conclusion of the global pact.

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