Letter to the Editor - Monday, November 11: Long three years
IT'S HARD to comprehend the mentality of some of those currently running the country when it comes to climate change.
We have long known that the Prime Minister considers the science of climate change to be "crap", but it seems he is not the first Coalition Prime Minister to hold that belief.
John Howard has now come out of the closet at a sceptics' forum, announcing that he never accepted the science; not for any considered or science based reason, but because he had a "gut feeling", which apparently assisted him, as our leader, to make all manner of decisions that would potentially affect us all.
Tony Abbott's determination not to allow any climate change 'distraction' was evident from the start with his scrapping of the Climate Commission, a body set up to advise the government on the science and economics of carbon pricing.
At the time, the new Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, announced that henceforth the Government would seek its climate information from the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology. However, a month later we learned that almost a quarter of scientists, researchers and workers at the CSIRO, some 400 in all, will lose their jobs under the government's cost cutting program. I'm sure people at the Met Bureau will be very careful what they say from here on.
To further ensure that as little climate change science is absorbed by members of the government, a decision has been made not to send the Environment Minister or any ministerial stand-in to the international climate change negotiations in Warsaw. Mind you, that could be simply to avoid the embarrassment of having to explain how their "Direct Action" will cut greenhouse gas emissions.
On the home front, with fire service chiefs linking the recent disastrous Blue Mountains bushfires with global warming and admitting they were a clear sign of what we can expect on a warming planet, the Government's climate change denial shifted into top gear. Messrs Abbott and Hunt trotted out the claim, apparently sourced from Wikipedia, that bushfires are a fact of Australian life, and it was dangerous to link any one event to climate change.
That fire is a part of Australian life is certainly true, in fact the same Wikipedia identifies some 40 catastrophic fire events over the past century, mostly occurring in December, with a couple in November. The fact that there has never been one this early in the year, is conveniently ignored by the Abbott camp.
I fear it's going to be a long three years!