Australians Beware: Soon The Climate Science Deniers Will Be In Charge

Read time: 6 mins

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.

Current Liberal leader Tony Abbott, if we care to remember, once described climate change as “crap”. Views shared among Abbott's parliamentary coalition ranks are that climate science is a “leftist fad” and a “work of fiction”.

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.

The latest snapshot on this inglorious race to the bottom came last week during the Queensland LNP state conference with a motion proposed by the Noosa LNP member Richard Pearson.

Pearson's motion called on the state's education minister John-Paul Langbroek to “remove environmental propaganda material, in particular post-normal science about ‘climate change’, from the curriculum and as adjunct material at exam time”. The motion was passed with party members overwhelmingly in favour.

LNP state representative Glen Elmes recently thanked Pearson in parliament for helping him win his Noosa seat at the state election earlier this year (perhaps those visits to Noosa by fake climate experts Christopher Monckton and Professor Bob Carter have rubbed off on the Sunshine Coast community).

As reported on Brisbane Times, Pearson said: “Few people understand that the so called science of climate change is really what can be defined as 'post-normal' science,” before apparently arguing that climate change went beyond traditional understanding of science based on experimentation and falsifiable theories.

To Pearson and others, the experiments of John Tyndall in 1859 which established the warming properties of what we now know to be greenhouse gases just didn't happen. Not in existence either, are the reams of scientific papers over many decades which have attempted but failed to falsify the “theory” that burning fossil fuels is causing the world's average temperature to rise, the oceans to become more acidic, the sea levels to rise and the ice at the poles to melt.

Also not in existence is last week's study by almost 400 scientists (they're everywhere) which showed that greenhouse gas emissions were increasing the likelihood of extreme weather events.

So far, Premier Newman has clarified that while Pearson's motion has been passed by the party, this doesn't mean it will be adopted by the parliamentary group which he leads.

“We will always do the right thing by Queenslanders ahead of the LNP”, he said, forgetting that just a few weeks ago he told Queenslanders the state was actually “in the coal business”.

Regardless, reaction to the motion has been damning. Anna-Maria Arabia, the chief executive of Science & Technology Australia, which represents almost 70,000 scientists and technology experts in Australia, described it as “extremely harmful”.

The secretary of the Queensland Teachers' Union Kevin Bates told The Australian that it was important schools taught children to have an “open mind” (but presumably not so open that your brain falls out). “Our greatest concern is that this is a government that is going to interfere in the education process,” he said.

One blogging research scientist wrote that the motion was “preparing our children for future ridicule”.

Helping in this process is the Institute for Public Affairs, which has been sending out a discredited book on climate change to Australian schools. The book How To Get Expelled From School, written by Professor Ian Plimer, a member of the board of two of Gina Rinehart's mining companies, was launched by former Prime Minister John Howard.

At the launch, Professor Plimer said “one of the aims of this book is to maintain the rage, because we have an election coming”.  Clearly, Professor Plimer sees his book as a political tool.

While consistently claiming that school children are being brainwashed by climate change “propoganda”, those who push this line rarely (if ever) produce any actual evidence. Pearson didn't define what he meant by “propoganda” or “post normal science”.

Plimer's genuine piece of propaganda was described by the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change, which analysed his book, as “misleading” and based on “inaccurate or selective interpretation of the science”.

It should not be forgotten that Tony Abbott isn't afraid of pushing his own misinformed climate dogma on young schoolkids when given the chance.

In 2010, the Catholic Jesuit told a class of five and six year olds in Adelaide: “OK, so the climate has changed over the eons and we know from history, at the time of Julius Caesar and Jesus of Nazareth the climate was considerably warmer than it is now.”

Nobody should be surprised that conservative politicians are unable to accept climate change science. A survey of political representatives at local, state and federal level carried out in late 2009 found that acceptance of climate change science was divided along political lines.

The University of Queensland survey found only about one third of Liberal/National politicians accepted the world was warming because of human activity. This compared to nine out of ten Labor politicians and practically all Greens.

Then there's the “conservative white male effect” discovered by scientists (yes, them again) in the US linking the described demographic to the denial of human-caused climate change.

The Australian conservative political movement's lurch towards the denial of human-caused climate science is like a mirror-image of the same enlightenment-crushing ideas of many US Republicans.

None of the recent candidates for the Republican presidential nomination (excusing possibly  John Huntsman) were able to publicly back climate change science, with some reverting to scepticism after previously accepting the issue.

Also in common with the US, is the existence of Tea Party-style “grassroots” activism in Australia helped along by free market think tanks that claim regulating greenhouse gas emissions is an attack on our freedom.

But rather than have an honest debate about a policy response to a real world risk, they sink to trying to discredit climate science while telling the public that carbon dioxide from burning coal is just “food for plants”.

Earlier this week the climate sceptic organisation the Galileo Movement, founded by two retired Noosa (is there something in the water there?) businessmen, tweeted a link to a document written by Viv Forbes claiming coal was not dirty and CO2 was plant food. No mention anywhere in the document that Forbes is a director of Stanmore Coal.

Galileo's patron is Sydney radio host Alan Jones, who recently told a crowd that climate science was “witchcraft” and a “hoax”.

Our descent into the deluded world of pseudo-science occupied by astrology, creationism, crystal healing and homeopathy is almost complete. It's a place where progress dies and business-as-usual thrives.

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Plimer has been debunked by so many times, by so many people, that he must have a hide as thick as a Plimer. In-fact he has also been debunked by himself, repeatedly!

It’s perfectly clear that if Plimer can’t even agree with himself, that he certainly isn’t worth listening to, unless one wants a good laugh!

 @ In 2010, the Catholic Jesuit told a class of five and six year olds in Adelaide: “OK, so the climate has changed over the eons and we know from history, at the time of Julius Caesar and Jesus of Nazareth the climate was considerably warmer than it is now.”

GR - I didn’t see anything scientifically problematic with the above statement in parentheses and don’t understand why you suggest that it is climate dogma. First lets examine the null hypothesis of the first part of the statement which is, “climate has not changed over the eons”. Is the null hypothesis correct? I could provide you with volumes of climate change occurences over the eons as well as just during the Holocene, but do I need to? So that isn’t dogma.  Next.

The links you provided did not lead to specifics on the type of “history” that was used by the Catholic Jesuit to support their contention that, “at the time of Julius Caesar and Jesus of Nazareth the climate was considerably warmer than it is now” or I missed it.  There is however scientific evidence that suggests that there were years around the time of Jesus that might have been warmer than 2010. “Considerably warmer” might be an exaggeration but where is the dogma? Look these are six year olds, they don’t vote and by the time they do vote they will have forgotton what they were told at age six so how big of a deal is it? I found the comment comparing climate science to “witchcraft” to be a far more compelling example of dogma, and this dogma IS dangerous because it is being offered to adults who do vote.


“that there were years around the time of Jesus that might have been warmer than 2010.”

Windy. What don’t you guys get about that period being a regional event? Not a GLOBAL event.

define global warming and drought while it new cold weather records and snow in the Sahal Desert, Europe, Alaska and Australia were being set. I know that was global warming too. It is interesting to see you with your panties in a bunch simply because there is better data than Mike Mann’s hockey trees that show the hockey stick had these regions being cooler than they really were. One wonders how good the rest of the hockey stick resolution is and that question is certainly in play? There are other studies showing that the Arctic was also Warmer during the RWP and China has also come out with reconstructions to support these findings so the evidence is larger than your myopic view based on your lack of climate data.

The Catholic Jesuit comment is fine. Pull your panties out of your butt and relax.

vague claims are the lifeblood of the CAGW movement. Remember the 20 foot sea level rise by Al Gore?  lol

Did you read the peer reviewed study in my first comment?

Here’s another using 120 proxies covering the Northern Hemisphere.

Windy…  Did you notice that the paper was not about global warming?

Here’s the data they analyzed;

“We here address these issues by developing a 2,000-year summer temperature reconstruction based on 587 high-precision maximum latewood density (MXD) series from northern Scandinavia (Fig. 1). The record was developed over three years using living and subfossil pine (Pinus sylvestris) trees from 14 lakes and 3 lakeshore sites >65° N (Methods),”

That paper is about Northern Scandainavia Warming or the lack there of.  We’re here to talk about global warming.  Right?

To conclude that a paper about Northern Scandainavia is in fact a paper about the whole world is stupid in the extreme.

Here’s a map of Windy’s new world for everyone to see;

I’m surprised a Jesuit is leader of a political party, but evidently he doesn’t listen to his Pope:

“…we must protect the habitat that sustains us. The believers among us ask God to grant us this wish.” This followed a presentation by climate scientists.

Yes,we’ve got them here,alright. On present indications Abbott will be PM sometime next year.This is not because he or his party are held in high regard it is simply that the present Labor government is on the nose.The same situation applied in the recent Queensland state election when “Can Do” Newman became Premier. This is a rather sad state of affairs but it is not unusual in a 2 party system.

Abbott’s religious leanings are not relevant.He is Catholic but certainly not a Jesuit nor ever has been.He did do a short period as a novitiate with the Society I believe.Catholics are not especially noted for being climate change deniers in Australia. He was an amateur boxer and is still physically fit and proud of it.It remains to be seen what a liberal government led by Abbott would be like.There are various shades of opinions in this party.Some likely candidates in an Abbott cabinet would certainly not agree with him on climate change.

Re Allan Jones - He is very anti Coal Seam Gas and has performed stirling service for the movements which oppose this. He is an accomplished and persuasive public speaker.I was very disappointed to learn that he is a climate change denier.

Plimer is a sick joke but in the circles he frequents this is no disadvantage.