Does Tony Abbott believe the moon is made of cheese?

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Obama says those who reject the science of climate change are akin to those who think the moon is made of cheese.

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We know that climate change was discussed in private talks between US president Barack Obama and Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott, but it wasn’t mentioned in their heavily scripted public comments to the media.

Now we know why.

cheeseJust one day after his meeting with Abbott, Obama told an audience at the University of California that those who denied the science of climate change – presumably including those who thought that the science was “crap” – were akin to people believing that the moon “was made of cheese.”

Obama has been dealing with a lot of climate denialism during his tenure. Most of the Republican Party, for instance, which has fought against carbon pricing and pretty much any other environmental legislation.

Now he has to do the same with other countries such as Australia and Canada who are doing the same. Abbott, having once described the science as crap, now insists that he accepts the science, although he does not rate the issue as one of the most important.

But all the businessmen he has appointed to head key economic reviews – Dick Warburton, David Murray, Tony Shepherd and Maurice Newman, have made no secret of their disdain for the science. Which is probably why most analysts think Tony Abbott’s climate policies are crap. 

According to the NY Times, Obama likened those who deny climate change to people who would have told John Kennedy, at the dawn of the space program, that the moon “was made of cheese.”

Obama’s most scathing words were for lawmakers who say they are not qualified to judge the issue because they are not scientists. These people, Obama, recognize the truth but will not utter it for fear of being “run out of town by a radical fringe that thinks climate science is a liberal plot.”

(Many in Abbott’s government openly suggest that climate science is a left-wing plot. Certainly his “friends”, such as conservative commentators Andrew Bolt and Allan Jones are firmly of this view).

“I’m not a scientist either,”  Obama said. “But we’ve got some good ones at NASA. I do know the overwhelming majority of scientists who work on climate change, including some who once disputed the data, have put the debate to rest.”

Later, he said:

“No matter what you do in life, you will run up against a stubborn status quo and people determined to stymie your best efforts, who say you can’t do something and shouldn’t bother trying. I’ve got some experience with this myself.

“I’ve got to admit, though, it’s pretty rare that you’ll encounter someone who says the problem you’re trying to solve doesn’t even exist.

“When President Kennedy set us on a course for the moon, I’m sure some made a serious case that it wouldn’t be worth it. But I don’t remember anyone ignoring science. I don’t remember anyone saying the moon wasn’t real, or that it was made of cheese.”

And later:

“Today’s Congress,” Obama said, “is full of folks who stubbornly and automatically reject the scientific evidence. They will tell you climate change is a hoax or a fad. One member of Congress actually says the world might be cooling.”

And also:

“We also have to realize, as hundreds of scientists declared last month, that climate change is no longer a distant threat, but ‘has moved firmly into the present. In some parts of the country, weather-related disasters like droughts, fires, storms and floods are going to get harsher, and they’re going to get costlier.”

“Today’s Congress,” he declared, “is full of folks who stubbornly and automatically reject the scientific evidence. They will tell you climate change is a hoax or a fad. One member of Congress actually says the world might be cooling.”

Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, and is also the founder of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and founder/editor of www.TheDriven.io. Giles has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.

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12 Comments
  1. Alan Baird 5 years ago

    You can feel for poor old Tony. You could see the folks he really wanted to cosy up to were from the T party. If only THEY were in power now so he could send the US and Oz forces BACK to Iraq! What a missed opportunity! Damn! Now for genuine climate reactions, see S. Harper from Canadia. Now there’s a guy he can chew the fat with! All the rest with of the stuff with Obama was not written for Tony so he was serially misspeaking and couldn’t be relied upon to tell the truth. But I still say he’d like to send some troops to be “blooded” in Iraq, just as WW1 generals would say.

    • wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

      Yeah “stuff” seems to “happen” where ever Tony goes these days!

  2. wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

    Best check the bible for answers to tricky theological questions like that Giles!

  3. Ray Del Colle 5 years ago

    “Carbon pollution from dirty energy is warming our planet. Just ask 97% of the top climate scientists in the world.” http://clmtr.lt/c/IBm0cc0cMJ

  4. José DeSouza 5 years ago

    Tony Abbott (but lest we commit any injustice,he’s not alone) seems to believe climate change issues are hoax and the financial elites also believe they can keep on gambling forever, whatever it costs our planet. But a lot of regular, mostly good willing folks, just like you and I, abide by their narratives, otherwise politicians and financial vampire squids wouldn’t be running the horror show we’re unfortunately part of. See my point? Bad politics, bad science and bad economics would’ve been thrown into the dustbin of history hadn′t we —collectively speaking— been so eager to nurture them. Therefore, we′re part of the problem (we elect crappy officials, we pay more than deserved heed to quacks and, last but not least, we also pay heed to economists who haven’t gotten the faintest idea of what money really means. But we can also be part of the solution. In order to act so as to shift the current course, we need to quickly educate ourselves first —let’s say, to wake up from the trance we seem to be in, but, at the same time, we don’t seem to be fully aware of. Hint: be very careful, enquiring and selective when it comes to trusting most specialists.

    • Miles Harding 5 years ago

      While on a long bush walk on the weekend, the topics of sustainability, delusion and environmental disconnection came up, as they do!

      We often see reports of large swathes of the urban population not realising how (if at all?) dependent we are on agriculture and the environment. The closest we get is the occasional image of swaying wheat in a breakfast cereal advert, Certainly no meat or hamburger advertisement has ever shown a cow being put to death and carved up for our dining pleasure.

      It would seem that gullible politicians are easily swayed by the apparent might of globalisation, the industrial and financial industries, apparently without ever considering how complex and interdependent these systems have become. Like the cow, the fragility and very dim prospects for survival of the current (exponential) growth model of society is a very unpleasant truth that is ignored.

      Instead, our Kakistocracy (nice one, Graeme) has chosen to avoid the most important problems of the age and take advice from the captains of those doomed industries. Many are now collectively perpetuating a myth that continued exponential growth is somehow possible and that business and industry are masters of the environment.

      It is comforting to know that there are some politicians willing to say it as it is.

      Unfortunately, Australia is currently being operated by morons, gullible ones at that!

      • José DeSouza 4 years ago

        Unfortunately, Australia’s not the only country to deserve that dubious ‟privilege″. Kakistocracy leading to khakistocracy (e.g., USA since 2001), whatever. One thing is for certain: we won’t be able to fight back unless we educate ourselves away from the ideologies that legitimize those kakistocrats. My point still is: we voluntarily put them into office. How come?

  5. schmoepooh 5 years ago

    The so-called educated “deniers” in fact understand the implications of global warming pretty well, they just think someone else should foot the bill.

  6. Graeme Henchel 5 years ago

    We are being governed by?
    (A) A Murdochcracy
    (B) A Plutocracy
    (C) A Kakistocracy
    (D) All of the above

  7. yo yo 5 years ago

    Fuck the govenment, fuck the world leaders & fuck congress. You serve the civilians. Do your fucking jobs and fix problems. Not cause them or procrastinate on decision making. These worthless humans contribute nothing to the world and should go straight to hell asap if it exists. The world doesnt need you pathetic closed minded people in power, so fuck off!

  8. Miles Harding 5 years ago

    Indeed it is! Wensleydale, according to Nick Park
    here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Grand_Day_Out

  9. hippygreenieleftie 5 years ago

    Tony’s manifestly a moron. His Party might yet dump him.

    Greg Hunt isn’t, but he’s so thoroughly compromised that it’s wasted effort writing to him. I tried and got an utterly fatuous, defensive reply. He’s going to look a right fool if he doesn’t manage to keep climate change off the agenda in Brisbane.

    Put pressure on the back benchers who are feeling the heat of community outrage and encourage your Senators to block whatever they can of the bills to undue vital environmental legislation.

    It’s grim, but not hopeless.

Comments are closed.