Australia is no longer a leader in climate change science, with research "plummeting" in the past decade, an inquiry has heard.
Australian National University Climate Change Institute director Mark Howden told a Senate inquiry examining the 2019-20 bushfires on Wednesday at a time when Australia was experiencing increasing impacts of climate change, research on the topic had fallen.
"Research on climate change has plummeted over the last decade," Professor Howden said.
"This is not a minor reduction. This is a major reduction. And it's taken us in many ways from being a global leader in terms of the various dimensions of climate change work ... and put us way behind the the leaders of in that area."
While research in some areas was being done in a "patchy and rather uncoordinated way", Professor Howden said there were "zero levels of research activity" on climate change relating to water, agriculture and biodiversity.
He said a national climate research centre was required to coordinate research across the country.