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- Improved heath and education services.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Ministers deny climate science

Reblogged from Cate Faehrmann's site

Posted on 07 November 2012 by Cate

Unfortunately there are climate deniers in the senior ranks of the NSW Government. Some hold the most responsible positions in government; Ministers in charge of departments which make policy on matters most sensitive to global warming – our natural environment, transport and fossil fuel resources.

During Budget Estimates last month the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, the Hon. Robyn Parker revealed that she gets her information on climate science from the newspapers and believes the science is not settled and is still being debated. I asked the Minister: where did you get the information that the science (on climate change) was being debated?

She replied:
Do you not read papers, do you not listen -
And the Minister for Road and Ports and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council the Hon. Duncan Gay, coyly dodged a question from me on whether he believed that greenhouse gas emissions from trucks and cars contribute to climate change saying:
It is my understanding that a lot of people believe that.
Perhaps the most outrageous and bizarre statements have been recorded by the Government whip in the Upper House, the Hon. Dr Peter Phelps. His remarks have visited the extremist end of the climate deniers’ utterances. In the Legislative Council on 30 May 2011 he said:
I comment in this place on the latest adventures in the great global warming swindle that is gripping our nation and most of the formerly civilised world.
He appeared to be likening some present day climate scientists to totalitarian sympathisers.
Indeed, how different are today’s global warming urgers from those in pre-war Britain, who looked forward to a Britain that would be “centralised and totalitarian”? Those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. The present idolatry for pseudoscience, the claims of settled science and of a scientific consensus—these are the leper’s bell announcing the approach of the would-be totalitarian. The bell was not heeded in the 1930s. It should be heeded now.
And then on 11 May 2011 he suggested that dragons were just as responsible for climate change as CO2 emissions. I  can only presume he doesn’t believe in dragons.

Recently I introduced a Notice of Motion into the Legislative Council calling on the NSW Government to commit to dramatically decreasing NSW’s carbon emissions including that embedded in our coal exports, and immediately work to phase out fossil fuel energy and replace it with alternative and renewable energy.

I spoke in the parliament about some of the recent science from the renowned NASA climate scientist, James Hansen, showing a link between extreme weather events such as the current catastrophic drought in the USA and climate change.  (What would we now say about Super-storm Sandy?) I mentioned 2 recent reports from our own CSIRO. One shows that our marine life is changing (many species are migrating south) as our oceans warm and currents change. The other says that by 2070 many of the environments supporting our plants and animals will disappear due to the affects of climate change. And the Arctic sea ice is melting at the fastest rate since satellite recording began in 1979.

As I spoke all I could hear were guffaws from the chamber, it was not too hard to guess where the loudest were coming from.

The first step would be for this conservative government to acknowledge that the consensus from climate scientists is that climate change is occurring and that it is human induced. Interestingly enough the Premier, Barry O’Farrell said on Stateline in March 2011:
I accept climate change. I accept the impact of man on climate change and if we’re elected to Government I’m committed to using the energies of Government to limit that impact and reduce those emissions.
If indeed, the Premier does believe this, it is obviously time that he brought the climate deniers in his own government to heel. At present it appears that the deniers hold all the cards. What chance do we have of an appropriate response to human induced global warming when cabinet doesn’t even believe in it?

Link to Cate's blog:  Ministers deny climate science

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