Australia Climate Council revived after being axed

File photo: Professor Tim Flannery, 20 September 2007
Image caption Climate change expert Tim Flannery said the new organisation would fiercely guard its independence

An Australian climate change body scrapped by the new government has been relaunched as a non-profit organisation reliant on public donations.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott axed the Climate Commission, set up by the previous government, last week.

But the group resurrected itself as the Climate Council, saying it hoped "Obama-style" public donations raised online would keep it open

Australia is the developed world's worst polluter per head of population.

The Climate Commission was set up to provide "an independent and reliable source of information about the science of climate change" under former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Speaking at Tuesday's launch, scientist Tim Flannery, who headed up the Climate Commission, said: "We are raising money Obama-style in small donations online from the public."

He added that the council would "fiercely guard [its] independence" and would not take "any money that has any strings attached to it".

"We're in the middle of a titanic struggle... I think the fight for a clean and safe environmental future is reaching its peak," he said.

Supporters of the rebranded Climate Council say it will provide impartial and fearless advice about impending threats to Australia from more bushfires, droughts and rising sea levels, the BBC's Phil Mercer in Sydney reports.

Sceptics in Australia argue that warming temperatures are the result of naturally occurring cycles, and are not caused by society's excesses, our correspondent adds.

Mr Abbott intends to repeal Australia's controversial carbon tax, which was introduced under the previous Labor government.

He says the carbon tax - which makes Australia's biggest polluters pay for emissions over a certain amount - cost jobs and forced energy prices up.

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