The UN’s former climate czar has called out “appalling inaction in Canberra” on climate change.

Christiana Figueres was a leader in the UN's global negotiating process that culminated in the 2015 Paris climate change agreement. She is now a climate leader at the World Bank.

She has publicly backed four female independent candidates, Zali Steggall, who stands against former prime minister Tony Abbott in the NSW seat of Warringah, Wentworth MP Kerryn Phelps, Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie and the MP for Chisholm, Julia Banks, who recently resigned from the Liberal Party to contest the seat of Flinders as an independent.

Ms Figueres said the four women “set out strong policy platforms and longer-term vision for what it would take for Australia to take its rightful place as a leader in the global fight against climate change”.

She condemned the allegedly “ridiculous climate wars in Australia that have led to a very damaging climate and energy policy vacuum for more than a decade”.

“This inaction is putting us at war with a climate that has no more room for atmospheric pollution,” Ms Figueres said.

“No other policy issue has been plagued by such partisan attacks, nor heralded the repeated fall of Australian prime ministers.

“Extreme elements from both sides of the political spectrum have frustrated sensible, forward-looking policies founded in what must be our most important guide — the science.”

Ms Figueres made the comments via a video chat to a meeting in Sydney of Mission 2020, which was established after the Paris Agreement to drive global action on climate change.