Pollie Watch: Brandis questions climate science as reef bleaching worsens | RenewEconomy

Pollie Watch: Brandis questions climate science as reef bleaching worsens

Coalition explains push for giant coal-fired power station: the climate science is not settled, even as reef bleaching worsens.


Just a day after Queensland Coalition MP Ewen Jones put the case for climate funds to be used to finance a 1.2GW coal fired power station near Townsville, Coalition Senate leader and attorney-general George Brandis revealed why the government thinks this might be a good idea.

In response to a question from Labor, and on the same day that it was revealed the extent of bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef is far worse than thought, Brandis told parliament on Tuesday:great barrier reef

“Senator Carr you’re the one who says the science is settled. I don’t. I’m aware that there are a number of views about the two questions of the nature and the causes of climate change. It doesn’t seem to me that the science is settled at all. But I’m not a scientist, and I’m agnostic, really, on that question.”

The remarks were, of course, leapt upon by Federal Labor and the Greens as proof of the hold that the far right and Abbottistas have over the current government. But the real question must be about at what point does ideology and climate denial trump simple maths about jobs and economics.

The new research on the Great Barrier Reef shows that more than 90 per cent of the reef has been affected by bleaching. Worse, some 40 per cent of this is not merely bleached, it has died, putting at risk some of the 70,000 jobs that rely on the tourism market, not to mention the trillions of dollars in biodiversity value.

This, you might suspect, should prompt federal Labor to have a quiet word in the ears of its state counterparts about its approval of the giant Carmichael coal mine. State Labor is also using “jobs” in the coal industry as justification for its support, although the coal-related job numbers are small in comparison, and declining.

“The science is clear – it’s coal or the Reef,” said Senator Larissa Waters, the Greens climate spokesperson.

“The Labor and Liberal parties’ approval of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest coal mine to export through the Reef flies in the face of the science and community expectations,” she said in a statement.

In reference to Brandis’ comments, Waters said it was time for the government to wake up to “the scientific reality that global warming is destroying the Reef and that continuing with Tony Abbott’s woeful climate policies won’t help it.

“The coal industry is dying and leaving workers in the lurch, while in contrast  the clean energy industry is taking off and can provide thousands of new jobs without sacrificing our Reef or our very way of life.”

Waters also promoted the Greens’ renewable energy policy target of 90 per cent by 2030 – a policy given added credibility by this week’s release of an analysis from the Institute of Sustainable Futures that found 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 is not just feasible, but will likely result in reduced costs – and more jobs.

But, it seems, mainstream media just ain’t interested. The story got a run in The Guardian, and on RenewEconomy. But as far as we can tell, not a single mention in print in Australia. Not one word. But then, Brandis’ denial of climate science didn’t rate a mention either.

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  1. john 5 years ago

    I notice the use of the term ” I am not a scientist “, this is a tried method for those who usually follow up with ” But there is dispute over some aspect of the situation “.
    The message of course is, THERE IS DOUBT.
    There is no dispute; there are different findings; which all point in the same direction.
    The message from the said senator is that there is no definitive findings and this is totally incorrect, but the message is key in what is being understood from his words.
    A very sad situation where a leader is being so deliberate and frankly not honest.

  2. Rob 5 years ago

    Criminal denial and blatant lies from the COALition who clearly put their fossil fuel friends ahead of Australia. This should be a major election issue. This is profound corruption and until we seperate the influence of big business from our politicians it will continue like a disease.

  3. suthnsun 5 years ago

    Coal is doomed, GBR is almost certainly already doomed. Renewables and a ‘reneweconomy’ are 2 essential planks to give a chance that humanity is not doomed. In the light of elections we really need a party of genuine ‘reneweconomy’ . A radical rethink of underlying assumptions. Adopting the Genuine Progress Indicator GPI to replace GDP would be a small step..

  4. PV believer 5 years ago

    Perhaps he needs to have a legal analogy rather then trying to think about science. I wonder if the attorney general thinks that the law is not settled because cases are brought before courts ?

  5. DevMac 5 years ago

    “The science isn’t settled”
    We don’t have a Grand Unified Theory yet, but, somehow, the universe still manages to exist.
    Can we not just reverse the question:
    “The honourable George Brandis, please provide us with the settled science proving beyond any doubt that humans are not causing climate change”.

    • John McKeon 5 years ago

      > “reverse the question”

      I agree, DevMac, put this Reverse Question to all the trolls and George Brandises of the world. The onus is on them.

      • John Saint-Smith 5 years ago

        He would simply respond: “I’m not a scientist so I don’t have to have evidence for my views, for or against.”
        Being a scientist is like having a target on your face that every Tom, Dickhead, or Half-arsed Attorney General can take pot shots at from the side-line.
        And you wonder why there are too few kids studying science in Australian schools?

  6. Ben 5 years ago

    “I’m aware of a number of views held around our federal attorney-general and I’d like to point out that George Brandis is a total moron. However I’d also like to acknowledge I’m not an expert in moronic behaviour and I dare say that the community hasn’t settled on what a moron looks or sounds like.”

    Just more weasel words from Soapy Brandis.

  7. Alastair Leith 5 years ago

    Recently I put it to Liberal denier in chief Dr Dennis Jensen that the scientific consensus around CC is not just the a matter sheer numbers of published climate scientists endorsing the consensus view points but the very rigorous consilience around all the published evidence that makes up the theory of AGW.

    His reply was that the evidence against also represented a consilience of evidence. I put it to him that “it’s the sun doing the warming” and “it’s cooling not warming” represent anything but a consilience, at which point he disappeared in a puff of twitter logic.

    • john 5 years ago

      Evidently he is not standing again

      • Alastair Leith 5 years ago

        he’s a feather duster

      • Chris Fraser 5 years ago

        Eh ? Maybe as Independent ? Getting a job with the Minerals Council instead ?

    • john 5 years ago

      You are correct it is not the sun.
      However that is too science for the average person to get his/her head around.

  8. Rob 5 years ago

    Question for deniers: “If 9 aircraft engineers tell you your Jumbo Jet is unsafe to fly in, and 1 aircraft engineer tells you it is, why aren’t you boarding?

    • john 5 years ago

      Well obviously the 9 engineers are wrong because one lone apprentice who did metal work tells me it will fly besides i get my info from the kook network.

    • John Saint-Smith 5 years ago

      That’s a little unfair, we actually have 10,000 aircraft engineers, designers and physicists who have been demonstrating, in exacting detail – through 30,000 scientific studies over the last 50 years that the Jumbo isn’t safe, . All the science and all the observations (of similar crashes) tends to put the argument to bed.

      And on the other hand we have Orville Wright’s nephew, who has never even flown in a plane, let alone studied aeronautics, who says ‘I’m not a scientist but I don’t think it’s dangerous’.

      • Rob 5 years ago

        unsubscribe please

        • John Saint-Smith 5 years ago

          That seems a little unfair. After all, I’m merely being ironic. As John Cook and others have amply demonstrated, the number of scientists who support the consensus is vastly more than 9 out of 10. Those who oppose it have been debunked so many times it is beyond belief that they persist with their zombie arguments.
          Go pick on the enemy, mate, and leave your allies alone.

  9. Ron Horgan 5 years ago

    Sabotage remove the S, and hey presto “abbotage” the legacy of a totally discredited former Prime Minister ! The IPA trolls all sing from the same song sheet, and its against the best interests of Australia.

    • john 5 years ago

      I would say against not only Australia.
      I think there are 2 kinds of people those who care and those who do not.
      Those who look to help and those who care only about them selves.
      So make your choice do you care only about your self or are you caring about others?
      I would put the said senator in the I care only about me box.
      So if you boil down the whole society situation to this simple axiom you will understand the outcome.
      Those who are self interested and do not care make your decision.

  10. howardpatr 5 years ago

    We need Get -Up to put to every politicians the question – do you agree with the following statement from Attorney-General George Brandis:-

    “Senator Carr you’re the one who says the science is settled. I
    don’t. I’m aware that there are a number of views about the two
    questions of the nature and the causes of climate change. It doesn’t
    seem to me that the science is settled at all. But I’m not a scientist,
    and I’m agnostic, really, on that question.”

    Many would lie in their response but it would be worth the effort and readily be published.

  11. Chris Fraser 5 years ago

    Eventually, the Online SMH found Brandis’ comment …

    The Article also so said that Brandis believed in anthropogenic change as recently as 2014. Of course these Brandis vacillations simply don’t add up. He has to believe in one or the other right ?We could put out the theory that he does believe in anthropogenic climate change, but, like everyone else in the LNP, he doesn’t want public money for ARENA or CSIRO or BOM to solve the problem.So he makes utterly stupid remarks which provide enough irritation to environmentally-minded people to double down their resolve to do something about it with their own private investment.It may be a bit of a stretch, but it could be a strategy that suits Senator Haemorrhoid and ideology just fine.

    • Peter Campbell 5 years ago

      I wonder if these conservative types simply lack the imagination to appreciate how serious this is?

      • david H 5 years ago

        They certainly lack the vision of what the future for Australia could be like.

  12. John Saint-Smith 5 years ago

    Sadly, the Queensland (Labor) Minister for State Development and Natural Resources, Dr Anthony Lynham passes the buck to the Federal Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt. It seems that the people who buy and burn our coal are the ones with the moral responsibility for the climate changing pollution, and Hunt is in charge of climate change mitigation in Australia, so it’s not Lynham’s job.
    Sickening, isn’t it. Imagine the conversation with your great grandchildren, explaining to them why Australia waved the world’s largest natural wonder goodbye, and allowed all of the dependant ecosystems along the entire Queensland coastline to be destroyed – along with 50,000 jobs.

  13. Farmer Dave 5 years ago

    George Brandis is being intellectually dishonest. If the question under discussion was an important point of law, would he accept a policy proposal around that point of law from a non-lawyer as OK because the proposer said “I’m not a lawyer”? Of course not! George would expect the proposer to seek expert advice – advice from a lawyer whose expertise in that area of law was accepted by his or her peers.

    So George, you are not a scientist. Go and get a briefing from one of the many climate scientists in Australia whose expertise is accepted by the international community of climate scientists. Ignorance is not a defence, after all.

  14. lin 5 years ago

    Those who ignore what science tells us about climate change are needing to ignore the evidence of their own senses more and more, and are sounding more and more irrational in their shrill denunciation of the obvious. Brandis is only one such idiot in a government that consists almost solely of idiots or those who would sell their souls to idiots to retain power. If we elect a government of liars, cowards and idiots again, we truly deserve everything that is coming our way.

  15. Les Johnston 5 years ago

    The is a fundamental difference between an agnostic and being ignorant. Brandis fits the ignorant camp because science is not based upon belief it is based upon evidence. Brandis is ignorant of the evidence not agnostic about science. That is flawed logic and misuse of the word “science.” Maybe Brandid needs to have some books on science in his million dollar bookcase!

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