Climate change deniers in parliament

By March 19, 2017Australian Politics

There are two main types of climate change denier, those that do it out of ignorance and those who do it because it makes them money. The former need to be educated about climate science, the latter need to be educated about morality.

It is unfortunate that many of our current politicians fall into the latter category. They take money from fossil fuel corporations and spruik their supposed benefits. This is tantamount to criminality. By far the best evidence available shows that the climate is changing very quickly and yet these people, in exchange for money to help them in their campaign to get re-elected, clearly will ignore that evidence, demonstrating clearly that they have no interest in the wellbeing of Australians, as long as they can get re-elected.

Denialism1 is the refusal to accept well established theory, evidence or fact. Denialists often refer to themselves as sceptics, but that is a misnomer, because no matter how much evidence you provide, they will not change their mind. Whatever evidence they cannot cherry pick to apparently support their story, is stated to have been doctored. Much has been written about how it should be dealt with by scientists2.

Some time in the future when the ignorant denialists are brought to account, they will say that they didn’t know any better, that they were ignorant. That is a lie insofar as this ignorance is wilful. All parliamentarians have been made aware of the evidence of climate change, many of them simply choose to ignore it. Nobody can say they are unaware of the concept of climate change, and nobody can be unaware of where to find the evidence.

In a court of law, the principle of ‘ignorantia legis neminem excusat’ (ignorance of the law excuses no-one)3 means that a person may not escape liability for violating a law because they were unaware of its content. The same should hold for all politicians for their wilful ignorance of a dangerous increase in global average temperature and its known cause. This will condemn future generations to live on a very different, badly damaged planet. Even the most venal politicians like to delude themselves that they have made a contribution, no matter how minimal, but when this current crop have retired, they will be looked upon by future generations with disgust. I hope that all the little vanity plaques around the countryside stating how a particular politician opened this particular building will be torn down and discarded. They deserve to be.

Those in parliament who have, at some time, denied the science behind climate change, which has shown its predictive power to be extraordinarily good, include:

Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz, Kevin Andrews, Cory Bernardi, Brian Burston, David Bushby, Matthew Canavan, Michaelia Cash, George Christensen, Jonathon Duniam, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Pauline Hanson, Alex Hawke, Barnaby Joyce, Bob Katter, Craig Kelly, David Leyonhjelm, Ian Macdonald, Fiona Nash, Ken O’Dowd, Barry O’Sullivan, Stephen Parry, Tony Pasin, James Paterson, Malcolm Roberts, Ann Sudmalis, Angus Taylor, Tim Wilson4,5.

Others, including the following are suspected of being climate change deniers. These include:

Dean Smith, Andrew Laming, Julia Banks, Andrew Broad, Christopher Back4,5.

Write to them, tweet them, e-mail them, facebook them. Do whatever it takes to make them realise you hold them accountable.

Sources

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denialism
  2. https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article/19/1/2/463780/Denialism-what-is-it-and-how-should-scientists
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignorantia_juris_non_excusat
  4. http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Parliamentarian_Search_Results?q=&mem=1&par=-1&gen=0&ps=0
  5. http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Parliamentarian_Search_Results?q=&sen=1&par=-1&gen=0&ps=0

 

One Comment

  • Jim Jago says:

    The lack of scientific knowledge amongst our politicians is of serious concern and their chances of understanding global warming and its effects are not high. To some extent it reflects what is not taught in the schools and universities these days. I was talking to a PhD graduate (quite a bright guy) in biology today who never did any chemistry at university. In Hobart we could not get our degree unless we had passed two out of three of Maths, Physics and Chemistry at first year and I suspect it was the same at other unis.

    As you would be aware there is at least a third group of climate deniers–probably a pretty small group, but nevertheless people whose opinions should be respected. These are people who are quite happy to accept that the world is heating up (how you can deny this I do not understand) but deny or are very doubtful about the influence of humans on global warming. I know of at least three very capable Quaternary scientists who would suggest that what is going on now is part of a natural cycle. The most obvious example is the late Bob Carter from James Cook. He was a very serious and good scientist whose opinions had to be respected. The same remark applies to the other two people. One other point is that if global warming is indeed due to natural cycles then we really are stuffed because there is nothing we can do about it. If as most scientists think, global warming is due to human activities, then we have a rough chance of doing something although the pledges made by both China and the US at the Paris conference are meaningless.
    However, no-one will tackle the real problem, i.e., the world is already hopelessly overpopulated.

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