The Science Debate is Over – Now We Need An Effective Response

Tony Abbott says that he is unconvinced by the science behind climate change. I’m guessing that like most of our politicians, Mr Abbott has no science education beyond High School, so he is making this science value-judgement from a position of ignorance.

Most politicians would not provide financial advice, or medical advice, or advice on how to build a skyscraper because they know it is irresponsible and dangerous to voice an uneducated opinion on complex and technical matters. So why do politicians like Mr Abbott and Mr Fielding persist in taking a stance on climate science which is in direct opposition to the consensus of the world’s leading scientists?

What would convince Mr Abbott? Is he gathering new data on molecular resonances in the upper atmosphere? Is he running new oceanographic models on his parliamentary PC? No, Mr Abbott simply chooses to deny the problem because it absolves him from
taking any action. As a politician, Mr Abbott is not qualified to make value judgements on the science. The overwhelming,
peer-reviewed scientific consensus is that man-made climate change is a clear and present threat to the natural systems
that support humanity. As a politician, Mr Abbott should be working on policy and legislation to address the threat from
climate change.

If Mr Abbott doesn’t like the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) then there are a number of valid politicial responses he can make. A valid political position might be that the proposed ETS is not the best way to control carbon emissions – but then he would need to come up with a better alternative. Another valid political position might be that the short term economic costs of the proposed ETS are too high – but then he would have to address the long-term economic costs of doing nothing. Simply denying the problem is not a valid political position.

Politicians should not be debating climate science – they have nothing new or valid to add. They should be taking immediate action to address the threat from climate change. We need effective policy and most of all we need leadership.



#1 john james on 10.26.09 at 2:58 pm

Thankyou Saul!
In Canberra just 18 months ago the assembled scientist agreed, not without reluctance,that 2 degrees was inevitable. Now they are leaning towards double that. 4 degrees being inevitable spells food production at half its present level, repeated catastrophic bush fires, minimum 15 meter sea level rise within our life times, a billion refugees and mega wars for food and water that very likely to include atomics.
Tony Abbot, take care!

#2 gerry on 10.28.09 at 8:13 am

why is it that everytime a politican or scientist for that matter questions the science behind “global warming”/ “climate change” they are attacked on a personal level. I don’t know if its man made influence or a natural phenomenen, but we do know the climate is always changing over the millions of years the earth has existed. But solid debate over the science has never taken place and bullying from peolpe like you always prevent this from occuring. I was a believer in the end of the Great Barrier Reef due to the crown of thorns star fish, I thought koalas were going to be extinct from chlamydia and my computer was going to crash at the start of the new millenium, so excuse me if I still want some solid debate over this. For starters why is now called climate change not global warming lets start the debate with that simple question.

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