Coal exporters Countries exporting the most coal in 2018 (in million tons). Photo: Statista / IBT

Smoke from the bushfires that have plagued Australia since December are now putting the production of coal on hold, a producer said Wednesday. While slower production obviously means an unwelcome harm to the economy, coal producers and the Australian government have been scrutinized for the large-scale extraction of coal and other fossil fuels in the country which contribute to climate change.

Critics have also accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of putting the interests of the coal industry before the protection of the Australian population and nature. After to Indonesia, Australia is the second-largest exporter of coal in the world and shipped 382 million tons out of the country in 2018.

Researchers estimate that the recent bushfires in Australia have killed hundreds of millions of animals in the state of New South Wales alone. In addition, thousands of people have lost their homes to the flames. Scientists and environmental activists see the cause of the fires connected climate change - Australia is currently experiencing the driest summer since weather records began. Despite all criticism, Morrison has so far rejected introducing changes concerning the coal industry.