Yet another senior Abbott government minister has nailed the Coalition’s climate colours to the mast, with Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce declaring himself “always sceptical” of the human influence on global warming on the weekend.
In an interview with conservative commentator and noted climate denier Andrew Bolt, Joyce described the University of Western Australia’s decision to back out of plans to establish the “Australia consensus centre” with so-called climate contrarian Bjørn Lomborg as a “disgrace” and suggested it was part of a climate consultancy conspiracy.
“Apparently, you’re not allowed to have fascists, Isis or Bjørn Lomborg speaking at the University of Western Australia. Obviously, they don’t believe in debate,” he said.
“Don’t stand between a bureaucrat and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of consultancy fees, and that’s the biggest threat that Bjørn Lomborg is to them, that he might actually question this unparalleled commitment to reporting about reporting about reporting for reporters’ sake.”
The Guardian reports that the government has vowed to find another university to host the Lombørg-backed thinktank, whose unorthodox views on climate change have angered the academic and scientific community, with education minister Christopher Pyne reportedly seeking legal advice about the UWA contract.
Later in the same interview, Joyce also questioned the link between humans, climate change and the weather.
“Look….I just – I’m always sceptical of the idea that the way that anybody’s going to change the climate – and I’m driving in this morning and we’re driving through a frost – is with bureaucrats and taxes.
“All that does is….it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. I make you feel guilty so I can get your money and put it in my pocket and send reports backwards and forth to one another,” he said.
— Bernard Keane (@BernardKeane) May 10, 2015
Asked whether the drought being experienced in parts of Queensland were linked to climate, the agriculture minister had this to say:
“No. This just – this is part and parcel of it … since Dorothea Mackellar talked about, you know, droughts and flooding rains … It will rain. It will rain again and those people will be back in production.
“We’ve got record prices in beef and sheep for them to enjoy. We’ve got to look after them until they get to that point because then they’ll deliver bucket-loads of money back into our economy,” he said.
“There’s a logic behind this. It’s not a permanent removal of rain … You’ll have wet periods. You’ll have dry periods. Our job is to look after people, to make sure that they get back into production and we’re doing that.”
Joyce’s comments follow the publication of yet another climate denying op-ed from Abbott’s senior business advisor, Maurice Newman, in The Australian.
Meanwhile, the results of a new Ipsos survey have shown that a clear majority of Australians view climate change as already causing weather extremes, including droughts.
The Age reports that just over 60 per cent of 1063 respondents viewed climate change as behind extreme events, with similar numbers also linking the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and rising sea levels to warming global temperatures.
The survey also found that around 40 per cent of respondents viewed climate change as either entirely or mainly caused by human activity, while another 43 per cent said both human and natural forces are at play. Just 3 per cent dismissed climate change altogether and another 4 per cent viewed changes as entirely naturally.