Australia's new Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who once dismissed evidence of climate change as "absolute crap", has disbanded an environmental agency set up to provide independent information to the public, and sacked its head, the internationally renowned scientist and author Tim Flannery.
Mr Abbott's move, on day two of his premiership, horrified environmentalists, academics and many in the wider community. Among developed nations, Australia - the world's driest inhabited continent - is regarded as most vulnerable to climate change, with scientists pointing to more frequent and severe bushfires and floods as part of an already visible pattern.
Indeed, Professor Flannery's Climate Commission blamed "a climate on steroids" for last summer's record-breaking heatwaves, and warned of "really frightening" temperatures to come.
The leader of the Australian Greens, Christine Milne, said Mr Abbott's decision marked "a black day in the struggle against global warming" and called him a "climate criminal [who] has demonstrated his contempt for climate science and for the health and wellbeing of future generations".
The agency's abolition is part of …