Some would have seen One Nation Senator-elect Malcolm Roberts' performance on ABC's Q&A on August 15.
He went hammer and tong repeating ad nauseum that academics are doctoring the science, that the major science bodies are corrupt and that the science on climate change is anything but settled.
Here is one small excerpt from his exchange with British physicist Brian Cox:
Roberts: “I'm saying ... two things. First of all, that the [climate] data has been corrupted and we know that the 1930s were warmer than today.”
Cox: “What do you mean by corrupted? Corrupted? What do you mean corrupted?”
Roberts: “Been manipulated.”
Cox: “By who?”
Roberts: “By NASA?”
The audience cracked up. We did not get to hear Robert's second "thing”.
Apart from conspiracy, Roberts' main argument was that there is no “empirical evidence” to show that carbon dioxide affects the climate.
Robert's specious argument, which is pushed by the reactionary Galileo Movement founded in Australia in 2011, rejects scientific modelling and analysis that uses data to project likely future scenarios.
As some have said anyone can claim there is no evidence if they refuse to look at it.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used scientific evidence to conclude that human-induced global warming is real and while the impact is uneven, the higher percentage of carbon in the atmosphere represents a serious threat to all life and Earth.
When the Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997, the atmospheric carbon dioxide level was 368 parts per million (ppm). Today, it stands at 404 ppm and large parts of the world are undergoing extreme and dangerous weather events.
For instance, the heat index (which includes measuring humidity) for Abu Dhabi and Dubai could reach 88°C this century if global warming is not tackled.
The deniers know this.
Their arguments are used as proxy to slow down any real action on climate change. And they are backed by powerful forces including the ridiculously wealthy mining magnate Gina Rinehart, who helped underwrite British climate conspiracy theorist Christopher Walter Monckton's tour of Australia in 2010.
With the likes of Roberts in the Senate, the major parties might look reasonable by contrast. But their irresponsible policies on climate change might as well have been devised by climate change deniers.
By continuing to use and promote fossil fuels and underestimating the speed and extent of climate change today, the major parties are culpable of allowing the greatest structural change in human history to rapidly unfold while leaving the poorest unable and unprepared to deal with it.
Green Left Weekly, now in its 25th year, has consistently presented the science on climate change while trying to avoid the depressing “we are all doomed” line.
By promoting the climate justice movement — in all its diversity — we hope to encourage the movements to grow and bring real political pressure to bear on intransigent policy makers.
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