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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

As 2016 double dissolution election firms, Attorney General Brandis questions climate science

Katharine Murphy for the Guardian reports that Attorney General George Brandis stated in the Senate today that the science of climate change is far from settled.

Like Murphy, I am having trouble following the Brandis logic. If the climate science is not settled as he says, why are the LNP Government allowing CSIRO to savagely slash their climate research capacity in the CSIROcuts.

"It doesn't seem to me that the science is settled at all ..."

Back to Brandis and climate science. Sorry. I had to go back over and listen to the whole exchange. For context, the debate concerns resourcing for the CSIRO and the recent decision by the organisation to exit climate research. Brandis was really trying to make a rhetorical point. He was trying to mount an argument that says, if Labor says climate science is settled, and this is an article of faith for the Labor party, why does the CSIRO need to devote resources to climate research? Why press so much on this point?

A lawyer’s point. And we know this is George Brandis, attorney-general, QC.

But he lunged in further.

George Brandis:

"Now, senator Carr, you are the one who says the science is settled.

I don’t.

I’m aware there are a number of views about the two questions – 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. I’m agnostic, really, on that."

Now technically Brandis isn't a denialist as he professes to agree with human caused climate change and the need to act according to Matthew Bailes from the Conversation article, but he gives support to climate denialism in the Liberal Party. Really his stance is similar to allowing bigots the opportunity to spread their bigotry.

Response from Social media

What the science literature says on climate science consensus

Maybe Brandis needs to do some digital research instead of filling his $15,000 taxpayer funded bookshelves with women's magazines.

See the latest research by John Cook, Naomi Oreskes and others published in 2016 titled: Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming. It is open access so he has no reason not to read this research paper.

Or he can watch this video summary:

So looking at multiple studies found that the consensus om human caused climate change ranged from 90 per cent to 100 percent.

But as John Cook points out, the public perception is that there is much less consensus due to the media giving 'balance' to climate denial.

Public opinion says climate change is human caused and government not doing enough

Essential Polling have been conducting surveys since 2010 on whether people believe climate change is human caused or just natural fluctuation. An increasing number believe climate change is real and happening now.

The Question: Do you believe that there is fairly conclusive evidence that climate change is happening and caused by human activity or do you believe that the evidence is still not in and we may just be witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate which happens from time to time?

Here are the results graphed over the last 6 years. 63 per cent believe humans cause climate change, 27 per cent think it is just natural fluctiations, and 10 per cent don't know.

When you brake down the latest survey by party voting allegiance, 42 per cent of Liberal National Voters do not believe in human caused climate change. However, there are 48 per cent of Liberal voters who do think humans cause climate change.

Question: As far as you know, do you think Australia is doing enough, not enough or too much to address climate change?

When the same essential poll asked a second question on whether the Federal Government was taking enough action on climate change, the results were similar: a majority thought the Government were doing not nearly enough. "57 per cent (up 4 per cent since August) think Australia is not doing enough to address climate change and 21 per cent (down 3 per cent) think Australia is doing enough. Those most likely to think Australia is not dong enough were aged 18-34 (66%) and university educated (64%)."

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