Australia is devastated by drought, yet it won't budge on climate change

Farmer Ash Whitney cuts off branches to feed his cattle in a drought-affected paddock in Gunnedah, Australia.

(CNN)Australia is suffering its worst drought in living memory, as dozens of bushfires are blazing out of control. It's hard to believe that it's winter "down under." Summer is yet to come.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Sunday committed 1.8 billion Australian dollars ($1.3 billion) in relief funds for farmers, whose livelihoods are disappearing down the cracks of their dry, barren land. The very next day, he announced he was dropping a national policy to cut carbon emissions from the energy sector that was supposed to help Australia fulfill its obligations under the Paris climate change agreement.
The vast majority of Australians accept human-induced climate change is real and scientists have linked the current record-slashing drought to global warming, yet the subject is still highly controversial in Australian politics, and climate change skepticism is still given political space.
    Australia is suffering from a record-breaking drought.
    Turnbull is now facing a renewed leadership challenge from MP Peter Dutton. If Turnbull loses, he would be the third Australian prime minister to be ousted over climate policy in the past decade. A Dutton-led Australia would mean even less hope for those who want action on climate change.
    It's difficult to comprehend why Australia -- a wealthy, developed nation that has long experienced crippling weather events -- has failed time and time again to get a coherent climate change plan together.
    All the signs are there. The UNESCO heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, a 2,300-kilometer stretch rich