It’s no wonder the Turnbull government’s climate credentials are being actively questioned: Yet another senior member of Coalition – the Deputy leader of the Nationals, no less – says the overwhelming scientific consensus on the cause and broad implications of climate change is not a thing.
“I don’t think it is certainly necessarily settled,” Nationals Senator Fiona Nash told Sky News in a discussion about what she described as “varying views” on climate change on Thursday.
Nash’s comments follow those of Coalition colleague Senator George Brandis, who told Parliament on Tuesday that he was not convinced there was scientific consensus on climate change.
“Senator Carr, you’re the one who says the science is settled. I don’t,” Brandis said earlier this week. “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.”
Brandis’ comments neatly encapsulate all the ingredients of gold class climate denial, including the use of ideology – and even allusions to religious belief – to argue against decades of scientific research, not to mention basic economics.
More importantly, though, his comments – as the government’s leader in the Senate – alongside those of Nash and Joyce, serve to remind us that the same climate deniers who populated the upper ranks of the Coalition during Tony Abbott’s reign are still there, and have Malcolm Turnbull surrounded.
Joyce, who appears to have recently come around on the subject of renewable energy, at least in his own electorate and in the face of a bitter fight with Tony Windsor, has also had occasion to question 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,” he told conservative commentator and noted climate denier Andrew Bolt in an interview last May.
“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.
AsWindsor has noted, Joyce is one of a core group of arch conservatives – including Corey Bernardi, and Kevin Andrews – of being a “handbrake” on the Turnbull government’s climate and renewables policies.
Which is why he has thrown his hat back into the political ring, announcing last month he would re-contest his former seat of New England, pitting himself directly against Joyce.