WHEN speaking to script, Australia's new conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott will say that he accepts that human emissions of greenhouse gases are having an impact on the world's climate.
Yet the Liberal Party leader appears to be surrounding himself with ministers and advisers who reject the science of human-caused climate change, with the most outspoken anti-science advocate being Maurice Newman, recently appointed as chairman of the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council.
According to Newman, the current government's two key climate science agencies - the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology - “continue to propagate the myth of anthropological climate change”, as he wrote last month in the Australian Financial Review.
Writing in The Australian newspaper in July, Newman described the science of human-caused climate change as a “smokescreen” for “vested interests” and criticised US President Barack Obama for continuing to “champion discredited research”.
Last November Newman, a former stockbroker and chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, was again dripping with hatred for climate scientists and “believers”, who he described as being part of a global throng of “fundamentalists” who had “collected hundreds of billions of dollars from naive governments that adopted their faith”.
Since entering Government in September, Tony Abbott has already abolished Australia's publicly-funded Climate Commission, re-iterated his “blood oath” to repeal the country's carbon price legislation and has pushed on with attempts to scrap the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation. The CEFC has made a reported $500 million in loans since July which have attracted a further $1.6 billion in private investment to projects it has backed.
ANYONE who places stock in safeguarding the current and future climate (and for that matter anyone who doesn't) should prepare themselves for the risk that very soon, climate science deniers, contrarians and sceptics will be running the show.
All the polls suggest that a Liberal-led coalition will sweep to power at next year's Federal election in Australia - the world's biggest exporter of coal and on track to be the biggest exporter of liquified natural gas.
The Liberal-National Party's new Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and his environment minister Andrew Powell are currently presiding over a massive boom in coal and gas projects. Both have said they're unable to accept the evidence of human-caused climate change, going against the scientific findings of the country's main science agancy the CSIRO and the country's Bureau of Meteorology, plus every major science academy on the planet.
Instead the Newmans and Abbotts of this world would rather stake the future of their constituents, our economies, our food supplies and our coastlines on the ideologically-blinkered pseudo-science of narrow vested interests and free market fundamentalists.
ON November 24 in Melbourne, Professor Ian Plimer launched his new book which aims to spread doubt and uncertainty on the science of climate change.
Targeting school children and teachers (at least superficially) with his book, Professor Plimer told the audience: “These children are being fed environmental propaganda and these children are too young to be fed ideology”
Not only that, but Professor Plimer, a geologist at the University of Adelaide, was actively fundraising for the IPA just last month when the Federal Government’s carbon price legislation was passed.
The executive director of the IPA John Roskam, former corporate affairs manager for mining giant Rio Tinto, is on the editorial board of the book’s publisher, Connor Court.
During his 20-minute launch speech on YouTube, Professor Plimer criticised climate scientists for being allegedly part of a “political movement”. Yet in virtually the next breath, he told the audience “one of the aims of this book is to maintain the rage, because we have an election coming.”
So much for spreading ideology and taking the politics out of science?
Three days ahead of an Australian general election, front-running Labor leader, Kevin Rudd has committed to immediately signing the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, describing it as the “number one” priority.
Australian's have been experiencing first hand the effects of a warmer planet with massive drought. Instead of taking a leadership role on the issue, soon-to-be former Prime Minister John Howard ducked the Kyoto Protocol and only acknowledged the threat of climate change when it appeared to be the politically expedient thing to do.
Looks like the Australian citizenry easily saw through Howard's ruse, the latest polls show Rudd is set to win with 54 per cent of the vote compared to Mr Howard's 46 per cent.
The three “world leaders” who are working hardest these days to kill the Kyoto Accord are also asking their public to believe numbers that are, at best, misleading.
U.S. President George Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Australian Prime Minister John Howard lead three of the richest countries in the world and the three leading per capita greenhouse gas emitters among major nations. All three have rejected the Kyoto Accord - or any other fixed and measurable limit on greenhouse gas emissions - preferring “aspirational” targets that are voluntary and keyed off “carbon intensity.” All three are also straining credulity in making their case.
The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is meeting this week in Australia and according to the conference chair, the goal will be to reach a consensus on a greenhouse gas emissions strategy.
“We have here … the world's biggest emitters — China and the United States — and to have that discussion with them and to see if we can get an agreement on principles for managing carbon emissions and cooperation across the world's major economies would be a really good step forward,” said Australian Treasurer Peter Costello.
Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.