FOR decades, coal mining has been a cornerstone of the Australian economy: It is an industry worth $70billion (£53.6billion) that employs tens of thousands of people.
But as devastating bushfires – some of the worst in the country’s history – have destroyed large swathes of countryside and left at least 15 people dead, Australia’s coal industry has come under increasing scrutiny.
Experts say the severity of the fires is being exacerbated by climate change – a phenomenon which already disproportionately affects Australia. Coal is the most environmentally damaging fossil fuel, producing about a third more carbon dioxide than oil.
(Image by Alexandru Șerbuță from pxhere)