Unsurprisingly, 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”.