Friday, 17 April 2015

Wow... I didn't think my contempt for Tony Abbott could grow any stronger

On 7 September 2013 the Australian public, tired of a disfunctional Labor Government, fell for the lies and fear-mongering of the Tony Abbott led Liberal party. It was only a couple of weeks later that I typed:
Tony Abbott is a climate change denier. Previously open about his denial, he paid lip service to addressing climate change while getting elected, but his "direct action" plan is designed to fail, and his true self became even more clear when he got into office and quickly abolished the Climate Commission.
In our dire financial situation, a budget emergency, it was vital that we saved money, and the Climate Council just had to go. Our token Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, said:
"As part of the Coalition’s plans to streamline government processes and avoid duplication of services, the commission’s function to provide independent advice and analysis on climate change will be continued by the Department of the Environment," he said.

"I would like to recognise the efforts of the Climate Commission in providing information on climate change to the Australian public and thank all the commissioners for their work.

"This decision will save the budget $580,000 in 2013-14 and an annual funding of up to $1.6 million in future years."
In my inbox today I found the following email from the Climate Council:
Hi Mike,

The Australian Government today announced they would contribute $4m for Danish climate contrarian Bjorn Lomborg to establish a new “consensus centre” at the University of Western Australia.

In the face of deep cuts to the CSIRO and other scientific research organisations, it's an insult to Australia’s scientific community.

As the Climate Commission, we were abolished by the Abbott Government in 2013 on the basis that our $1.5 million annual operating costs were too expensive. We relaunched as the Climate Council after thousands of Australians chipped in to the nation’s biggest crowd-funding campaign - ​remember this video?

It seems extraordinary that the Climate Commission, which was composed of Australia’s best climate scientists, economists and energy experts, was abolished on the basis of a lack of funding and yet here we are three years later and the money has become available to import a politically-motivated think tank to work in the same space.

This is why the work of the Climate Council is so important - to counter this continuing ideological attempt at deceiving the Australian public.

Please consider chipping in a few dollars a week to help us stay independent and continue to fight the rising tide of misinformation.

Mr Lomborg’s views have no credibility in the scientific community. His message hasn’t varied at all in the last decade and he still believes we shouldn't take any steps to mitigate climate change. When someone is unwilling to adapt their view on the basis of new science or information, it's usually a sign those views are politically motivated.

But with your support we will continue to fight back and reach millions of Australians with information that is based on the best science available.

Thank you

Tim Flannery

P.S We're already busy responding to misinformation in the media. We just called out The Australian for deliberately misinterpreting the science and the Prime Ministers Business Advisor Maurice Newman for getting his facts wrong
Bjorn Lomborg is what is sometimes called a "lukewarmer", someone who downplays the problems we face from climate change and other environmental problems while saying he isn't really a denier at all. He has a long history of cherry picking and misrepresenting reality. While not an explicit denier himself, he's a darling of deniers because he pushes the Overton window in their direction - hard right.

The University of Western Australia seems to be getting into the climate change denial business. They're giving a platform to a man who damages public understanding of an important issue. They should be ashamed.

And so the Australian Government will partly fund a climate change disinformation service. As for Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt, well, my sentiments of 2013 are renewed.

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