Denying Reality

If you’re after some light entertainment, try asking a member of the federal opposition what they think of climate change deniers.

If you’re talking to someone in the half of the party room who voted for Tony Abbott over Malcolm Turnbull, they’ll likely try to change the subject. They know that it’s a difficult task to argue that the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology, NASA and the Academy of Sciences are engaged in a vast conspiracy. But in their heart, many Coalition politicians somehow can’t come to accept the overwhelming scientific evidence in favour of climate change.

Alternatively, you might be talking to a Malcolm Turnbull supporter. They know the science is solid, but their leader believes climate change is ‘absolute crap’. So they’ll likely tell you that the Coalition is a broad church, which tolerates a variety of views.

But rejecting the science of climate change isn’t a fashion choice. It’s a fundamental question about whether you’re serious about public policy. If you believe the cranks and shonks on a matter as big as whether humans are causing climate change, why should we trust your judgement on anything else?

On some issues, we should tolerate difference. I may not like paisley shirts and ABBA, but I respect your right to love them both.

But if you can’t accept the thousands of temperature readings that show us that 2010 is one of the three hottest years on record, then you’re off with the fairies. Yes, Cori Bernadi, I’m talking about you.

If you can’t accept that every decade since the 1940s has been hotter than the preceding decade, then I have as much respect for your views as a flat-earther. Yes, Dennis Jensen, I’m talking about you.

And if you can’t cop the mainstream evidence that CO2 emissions are causing climate change, then you’ve just joined the loony right. Yes, Nick Minchin, Barnaby Joyce, Sophie Mirabella, Eric Abetz, Guy Barnett, Bronwyn Bishop, Ron Boswell and Michaelia Cash, I’m talking about you.

Australia’s conservatives didn’t always oppose mainstream science. Stanley Bruce created CSIRO.

Robert Menzies was an original fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. Malcolm Fraser created the Australian Science, Technology and Engineering Council.

Today, every living Liberal Party leader apart from Tony Abbott accepts the science of climate change and the need to put a price on carbon. It’s time for the Opposition to recognise that if you’re not serious about climate change science, you’re not fit to govern the country.

(crossposted at the ALP blog - please comment there)

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