Some of the Liberal and National parties’ amateur climate scientists have been emboldened by Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the Paris Climate Accord, in which almost all of the nations on the planet agreed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. In the first half of 2016, average temperatures were about 1.3 degrees Celsius above the average in 1880, when global record keeping began1.
These amateur climate scientists are so confident in their own abilities and that they are far in advance of almost all the climate scientists on the planet. George Christensen said he did not subscribe to the theory of “catastrophic anthropogenic climate change”. I’d very much like to see Christensen’s research on the topic. I have done a search of the scientific literature, but can find no references to his publications anywhere. They are not in ‘Nature’ or ‘Science’ where much ground-breaking, peer-reviewed global science is published. I wonder where they could be?
Seriously though, the climate change deniers in the federal government are numerous and most are religious, like Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz, Kevin Andrews, Matthew Canavan, George Christensen, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Alex Hawke, Barnaby Joyce, Ian Macdonald, Barry O’Sullivan, Stephen Parry and Tony Paisin2. It is perhaps needless to say that none of these deniers knows anything about science, let alone understands how it works. One fruitcake, Tim Wahlberg, a Michigan Republican member of the US House of Representatives, believes that should climate change be a real problem, God will take care of it3. While this is only mildly ludicrous in the US given how many religious nutters it contains, I suspect that Australian politicians know that if they uttered such drivel here, they would be ridiculed to an extent that it would end their political careers. However, it does make you wonder if these religious politicians really do think that their god will fix it and are just keeping mum to avoid the laughter and finger-pointing.
Having an opinion diametrically opposed to what you are told by highly trained and experienced scientists means you are either out of touch with reality or see some benefit in it for yourself. In the case of evolution deniers (creationists, intelligent designists), fixists (deniers of continental drift), flat earthers, geocentrists (deniers that the sun is at the centre of the solar system), antivaxxers, and sundry others; they are just out of touch with reality. However, there are and have been many others, such as acid rain deniers, ozone hole deniers, DDT deniers, tobacco deniers, and now climate change deniers4 who, it has been demonstrated, have been bought off by those who have financial gain at the centre of their denialism. One of the biggest donors to the Liberal Party in recent years is the Cormack Foundation Pty Ltd, one of the directors of which is the notorious climate change denying former CEO of Western Mining, Hugh Morgan5. Does anyone really think that those venal, avaricious, opportunist people we elect to parliament would bite the hand that feeds them? To do so would require a conscience.
- Oreskes, N. & Conway, E.M., 2010. Merchants of Doubt. Bloomsbury Press, London. 358 p.