Maurice Newman refuses briefing with top scientists

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maurice_newmanUnsurprisingly, yet still remarkably, Maurice Newman has rejected the opportunity to meet with Australia’s top scientists for a briefing on climate science following his disturbing article in The Australian on Tuesday that called for an investigation in the Bureau of Meteorology.

The Climate Council, disappointed and concerned with Abbott’s chief business advisor’s comments, sought to organise a meeting with him and the top scientists available in Australia to discuss the real impacts of climate change on business and the economy.

“It is tempting to simply ignore Mr Newman’s ignorant and unfounded utterances,” said Professor Will Steffen. “However, climate change is an important issue and it deserves to be properly understood. The Australian business community accepts the science of climate change and understands that the economic impacts could well be profound.

“It is unacceptable that the Prime Minister’s Chief Business Advisor puts his head in the sand rather than make himself aware of the serious and growing risks for people, the economy and businesses from climate change.

“Mr Newman has a responsibility to avail himself of the facts. His recent attack on the Bureau of Meteorology, one of Australia’s most highly respected institutions, is irresponsible. People at BoM are highly qualified professionals that provide important information to support many people’s economic decisions – from farmers to the aviation industry.

Steffen says that speculation that the world might be cooling, in an earlier opinion piece in The Australian, was another example of Mr Newman’s “nonsense.”

Steffen added: “The evidence of a warming climate system –  increasing ocean heat content, rising sea level, decrease in polar ice sheets, increasing air temperature over land and ocean, net decrease in glacier volumes, net decrease in global sea-ice extent, increased water vapour in the atmosphere – is overwhelming and absolutely unequivocal.”

RenewEconomy asked Professor Steffen what sort of impacts Newman is having with these comments.

“Hopefully not much of an impact, what he is speaking is nonsense, but it is important for someone to make the point he is wrong, to try and clear the air that this stuff has no basis.”

“The real debate is how to best transition our economy to carbon free which benefits both society and the economy, something  Maurice Newman could play a big part in considering his business expertise.”

Professor Steffen however has not met Maurice Newman himself, and is unsure as to why he is so reluctant to meet. “I don’t understand his thought process. All I can say is people who want to deny climate change don’t tend to like meeting credible scientists, because they know the scientific argument on their side is weak, and will be shut down very quickly.”

“Every major country in the world accepts the science across the political spectrum, except for Canada and the Tea Party in America. What he is proposing is like saying the world is flat. To paraphrase (US President Barack) Obama, its time for the flat earth society to pack up and go home”.



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  • barrie harrop

    Talk about boxed mind.

    • WimsThePhoenix

      Ad hom

  • Rhona Eastment

    If Newman was asked to meet with Bob Carter, or Jennifer Marohasy, Joanne Nova or husband David Evans, Libertarians and all IPA members, all Climate Change deniers, he would take up the offer immediately. The IPA actively promotes these views. They also have an off-shoot called Landscape Guardians – actively campaigning quite aggressively, against wind farms,

    It is most concerning that we have such influential people governing us, especially at such a crucial time as this. Personally, the quicker we get rid of this style of government, the better for Australia ecologically, and Australians for our safe future.

  • Mags

    It is really quite extraordinary and actually disgusting that modern Australia has such a man as a “government business advisor”. If his judgement is so terribly poor that he won’t even talk to the experts, what sort of an advisor can he possibly be on any topic??? Prejudiced, ill informed, ideologues are about the last people any sane leader would want for advisors.

    I keep thinking I will wake up and this will just all be a dream – surely it can’t be real???

    • Ben Wilson

      But the thing is that Abbott isn’t sane

      • Annette Schneider

        So, you have added a third option to my theories about what sort of people deny the consensus of our top scientists and so seem to deliberately be putting us all in grave danger of extinction;
        They are stupid.
        They are evil.
        They are insane.
        Given that Anthropogenic Climate Change deniers are acting suicidally, perhaps it is their sanity that is the problem.

        • Ben Wilson

          its a mixed bag with right wingers, the majority of real right wingers are like Germany’s leading conservative party but don’t speak up, don’t ensure that the crazy and evil elements don’t take over their party

  • Rob G

    Another day, another Liberal climate denier dumping their ignorance on us. There is no more doubt left were this party stands on climate action, voters have a simple choice now. Climate action or climate in-action.

    • Annette Schneider

      I would love to know what Labor really intends to do about the new export coal mines and CSG fracking.

  • Thylacine

    No one more that me wishes that Maurice Newman was right about Climate Change. It is inconceivable, however, that a man of his undoubted intellect and business acumen and expertise with abilities to understand scientific and economic data could arrive at, let alone maintain a position he has today. It leaves me with no other option than to conclude he is doing and saying what he does purely for reasons that benefit himself or the organisations he represents over and above all else.

    • Annette Schneider

      So, if you say that it is inconceivable because you do not doubt his intellect, where does that leave us? As far as I am concerned, there are only two reasons for someone being a climate change denialist – they must either be stupid or they are what has traditionally known as “evil.” Not having a lot of reference to how “evil” is defined, (I suppose I judge people on their common decency or lack thereof), I looked up Wikipedia –

      “Desire is the root of evil, illusion is the root of evil.” Gautama Siddharta”
      “American psychiatrist M. Scott Peck.., describes evil as militant ignorance.[27] The original Judeo-Christian concept of sin is as a process that leads one to miss the mark
      and not achieve perfection. Peck argues that while most people are
      conscious of this at least on some level, those that are evil actively
      and militantly refuse this consciousness. Peck describes evil as a
      malignant type of self-righteousness which results in a projection of
      evil onto selected specific innocent victims (often children or other
      people in relatively powerless positions). Peck considers those he calls
      evil to be attempting to escape and hide from their own conscience
      (through self-deception)”

      • WimsThePhoenix

        As far as you are concerned there are only two reasons? Stupid or Evil? How many papers have you published? As many as Richard Lindzen? Are you as clever as an MIT professor? Is he stupid or evil.

        What a baby.

      • deach

        That’s a bit over the top. Climate change “denialist” are as important as believers. They have a purpose especially the scientists whose experiments prove/disprove theories.

    • Lee

      Intellect does not preclude irrational thought. As an atheist, I am always astonished how otherwise intelligent people can believe in supernatural beings who live up in the sky and care about the puny affairs of mankind. Some have wings, others have horns. Haven’t you read the Books? You’ve gotta have faith, that’s all, you don’t need to think. Isn’t that right, Maurice?

    • Tom

      We should doubt both Newman’s intellect and his acumen. The AFR’s ‘most influential’ list in 2014 wrote him up as an ‘ordinary’ early-career banker. He made most of his money from the demutualisation of the ASX when, as Chairman, he convinced the government to list the market operator and thereby realised a private profit from what had previously been valued as a public good. Acumen? Maybe, but shareholder activist Stephen Mayne accurately smelled a sniff of cronyism at the time. His major board seats since then have all been in the gift of government. And when he was appointed the PM’s Business Advisor in late 2013 the AFR wryly noted the raising of a collective eyebrow in the Australia business community.
      Newman fluked a career in the 70s and 80s, made friends, and now he peddles influence. It’s the story of a self-made man, true, but it’s not a story of intelligence or acumen that demands your deference, Thylacine. He’s no cleverer than you or I – just better connected.

  • Mozzi in Ozzi

    Apart from the fact this guys a muppet. What’s up with the combover?

    • WimsThePhoenix

      Ad hom again

      • Mozzi in Ozzi

        OK. he wants to launch an inquiry into the BOM because they no nothing…The guys a fossil fuel lickspittle.

        • Chris Fraser

          He needs his wax dummy to go into the famous Hall of Self Interest

      • John Hardy

        Ad moron.

  • coomadoug

    What concerns me is the length of time influential people will remain addicted to this lie.
    It’s like the drunk drinking the pint of whisky in full knowledge that he will pass out and may be seriously ill, still he drinks.

  • Annette Schneider

    Last summer it came to the point where I really started to despair about what was happening with the climate and our political system. I decided that strong action was needed but that I couldn’t expect anyone else to do something that I wouldn’t do myself. Instead of getting sad or angry, or at least to stave off the feeling of powerlessness, I joined and was soon fighting our huge export coal mines with these good people: I have no regrets, except that I didn’t start it sooner. Non Violent Direct Action is a life affirming experience.

    • Craig Thomas

      Don’t worry about the coal exporters – coal prices are dropping and orders and investments are all vanishing as business everywhere but here stops investing in coal. The coal industry is on the same path as the VHS video tape, and there’s nothing we have to do about it – wind power is now way cheaper than coal power, so investors are steering well clear of coal.

      • Scott Dickson

        Are you the Craig Thompson?

        • Craig Thomas


  • That comb over. Baldness denier.

  • Kevin O’Dea

    Maurice Newman is most likely taking instructions from the Tea Party fringe in USA and their fellow travellers. He has a duty to Humanity to at least consult with the scientists and understand their concerns. He can cherrypick all he likes, but at least he needs to be brave enough to talk to them. Otherwise, like most bullies, he is nothing more than a coward seeking comfort from other bullies of his ilk.

  • Sir-Rene Baur

    To all those before me who’ve criticised our mate Maurice’s comb-over, it’s an obvious and natural defence against scalp freezing in the looming ice age he’s so cleverly foreseen, eschewing all irrelevant evidence to the contrary.
    It’s a comb-over of heroic proportions, befitting such a great intellect, and precisely the intellect you’d expect to be advising our fabulous Prime Minister and Flat Earth Society President (with Tea Party support) Tony Abbott, the best friend the environment’s ever had.
    I have some advice to pass on to all you climate change hoaxers from Maurice and Tony – even if the looming ice age does push sea levels up (and that can happen; just look what happens when your manservant puts ice in your whiskey glass), the excess water will just flow off the edges of the earth. Problem solved.
    And anyone who says they’re anti-wind turbines should know Joe has a plan to boost that industry. Instead of all that wind trickery, they’ll fit them with steam engines powered by the coal we can’t sell. See, two industries saved at the same time, and ugly wind turbines turned into beautiful things with smoke stacks. And you thought they weren’t visionary!

  • John McKeon

    Gee, I’ll bet any money that the Bureau of Meteorology is most thoroughly PISSED OFF.

    • john

      No they just shake their heads and get on with the work.
      I wish they would say something but they are public servants and can not.
      It is pathetic I agree

  • WimsThePhoenix

    18 years today since the world stopped warming.

    • john

      You got one paper to support that have you?
      or do you get your info from WUWT or the charity in London ?
      Now honestly all your trying to do is distract.

      • Tomagain

        funny!! no data since 1977!

        • john

          that is the problem you understand if people get their info from the above mentioned it is all here and now rubbish.
          However the real problem is the rate of change is over 100 years whereas it has been 1000 years.
          I have a feeling our society is all about me and can not deal with the fact that WE are going to leave our grandchildren’s, children a depleted planet.
          Rather a sad note of this generation of the throw away society

    • John Silvester

      This graph shows cooling trends are not hard to find if you choose start and end dates carefully. sorry upload didn’t work properly so here is a link.

      • barrie harrop

        What utter
        nonsense, and quite misleading, it seems to me you are just another poster
        cheer-leading for zealotry not in the public interest-name “one” climate change
        scientist refereed/published in a leading academic climate science journals
        that support your views.

        • John Silvester

          What is so controversial about pointing out that short term cooling trends can be found by cherry picking starting and end dates without heralding the end of warming.

          only part of the graph appears to have made it onto the comments thread.

          Barrie, click on the link. see the full graph (animated gif), you may find we’re not in disagreement.

    • barrie harrop

      My late father advised me may times never
      debate with an idiot they will only bring you down to their level and beat you
      with experience.

      • john

        Well said I agree if you debate it brings you to the level of stupid

    • Craig Thomas

      Weirdly, observations show the planet is warming:
      So…what is WhamsThePhoenix relying on? Maybe he’s drinking the same Kool-aid that the ignorant Maurice Newman hasimbibed?

    • Ken Fabian

      No, it hasn’t stopped warming. Global heat content has continued to rise steeply over the past 18 years and if warming had truly stopped then surface air temperatures – which vary a lot due to natural variability over periods this short – would go up and down, up and down. Going up and not coming down is exactly what warming looks like.

    • Annette Schneider

      And NASA are nothing but a bunch of hippies…

  • john

    In fact the earth is supposed to be getting cooler however the trend changed not just recently rather a few decades ago.
    One of the energy companies described Mr Newman as scientifically illiterate.
    Not a very strong endorsement I must say however it does point to his shortcomings .

  • Caro

    How dare he!

  • Bluefishbaker

    It’s not that he believes this stuff, or that he’s not advised by the right people, or that he just doesn’t get it. He’s stalling for time, simply providing some cover for his fellow goons as they dismantle our social democracy, and a roadblock that people will have to go around in order to progress. He’s a spoiler with intent.

    Trying to make him understand is a huge waste of time, because he never will, ever. It’s not his role to understand and inform debate, his role is to draw as many experts that could be useful in actually dealing with the problem into a circular discussion of disproving his claims, which are barely substantiated anyway.

    We just have to work out how to take him and his ilk out of the conversation. Humor and ridicule always works against these types- reason rarely does.