ONE block east of Grand Central station, in a skyscraper on 42nd St, is the office of Australia’s Consul-General.
It’s a high profile diplomatic role and one that gives business leaders, thinkers and politicians the chance to see what drives the Australian Government of the day.
In April, Australia will have a new Consul-General taking up that seat on New York's 42nd Street.
Seemingly in lock-step with the prevailing views of the conservative government in Australia, that man will be Nick Minchin — a rusted-on denier of the science of human-caused climate change and power broker in the country’s Liberal (that’s conservative) Party.
Minchin has claimed the “extreme Left” has used environmentalism as a way to try and “de-industrialise” the western world. He thinks human-caused climate change is a scare story.
Minchin’s appointment was announced by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who said the consulate role was “high profile” and that it could be used to “influence perceptions of Australia” in the city.
She said Minchin’s role would be to influence “key individuals and companies across a range of sectors particularly business and politics.”
Things could get a little awkward if talk at those business and political lunches turns to climate change — which it surely will in a city acutely aware of its susceptibility to climate change impacts.
In April 2012, Minchin ridiculed the notion that human-caused climate change was a risk, writing in a column that “despite the hype” the ice at the world’s poles was not melting and that “our cities aren’t being submerged.”
Six months later, New York was submerged by the storm surge from ex-cyclone Sandy.