The Guardian: Tony Abbott’s top business adviser has accused the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of “dishonesty and deceit” as it focuses on “exploiting the masses and extracting more money” in a climate crusade.
Maurice Newman, chairman of the prime minister’s new Business Advisory Council, used an interview with the Australian newspaper to launch a strongly worded attack on the global body that provides advice to governments on the body of scientific findings about climate change.
Newman also argued Australia had fallen “hostage to climate change madness” but he believed the “scientific delusion” was crumbling amid suggestions the global temperature could drop to little ice age levels.
The opposition described Newman as an embarrassment to Australia, saying he was not a scientist and therefore not qualified “to make such outrageous claims”.
“The worst part about Mr Newman’s ignorant comments is that he’s only voicing what we know Tony Abbott thinks about climate change,” said Labor’s acting climate change spokesman, Shayne Neumann.
Abbott established the Business Advisory Council to meet three times a year with senior members of the government and “help guide programmes and policies that are sympathetic to the needs of both small and large businesses in Australia”.
Newman, a former chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Australian Securities Exchange, made the comments about climate change while railing against green policies, including the renewable energy target and the carbon tax.
The newspaper quoted Newman as saying the climate change establishment, through the IPCC, remained “intent on exploiting the masses and extracting more money”.
“When necessarily, the IPCC resorts to dishonesty and deceit,” Newman said.
He said Australia had become “hostage to climate change madness”.
“And for all the propaganda about ‘green employment’, Australia seems to be living the European experience, where, for every ‘green’ job created, two to three jobs are lost in the real economy,” he said.
“The scientific delusion, the religion behind the climate crusade, is crumbling. Global temperatures have gone nowhere for 17 years. Now, credible German scientists claim that ‘the global temperature will drop until 2100 to a value corresponding to the little ice age of 1870’.”
That appeared to be a reference to the work of Horst-Joachim Lüdeckeand Carl-Otto Weiss, who say natural processes including solar activity are driving climate change. They are members of an advisory board of the European Institute for Climate and Energy – a group that argues freedom, not the climate, is at risk.
The Australian government’s main scientific advisory body, the CSIRO,says human-induced climate change “represents a raft of new challenges for this generation and those to come, through increases in extreme weather events and other changes, such as sea-level rise and ocean acidification”.
The CSIRO says robust scientific findings include clear evidence for global warming and sea level rise over the past century; most of the global average warming over the past 50 years is very likely due to greenhouse gas increases from human activity; and global greenhouse gas emissions will continue to grow over the next few decades, leading to further climate change.
It says some of the key uncertainties include difficulties analysing and monitoring changes in extreme events; and models differ in their estimates of the strength of different feedbacks in the climate system, particularly cloud feedbacks, oceanic heat uptake and carbon cycle feedbacks. The CSIRO says confidence in projections is higher for some variables, such as temperature, than for others, such as precipitation.
The Labor party’s acting climate change spokesman said the extraordinary comments from one of Abbott’s closest advisers proved the Coalition was not serious about taking action on climate change and did not accept the overwhelming evidence of a changing climate.
“The prime minister must ask Mr Newman to withdraw his comments which damage Australia’s relationships with its trading partners, all of whom accept that climate change is real and are taking steps to reduce carbon pollution,” Neumann said.
“Australia is now a laughing stock for being the first country to unravel effective climate change policy, going backwards while the rest of the world is taking steps forward.”
Despite previously questioning climate science, Abbott has repeatedly said he accepts climate change happens and that humanity makes “a contribution to it”. He insists he will be able to achieve a 5% reduction in emissions under his Direct Action scheme and is pushing to repeal Labor’s carbon price package built upon an emissions trading scheme.
The prime minister has previously described Newman as “one of a range of voices that the government takes very seriously”. In November, Newman used a speech to say Australia’s wage rates were high by international standards and workplace reform was needed. He also questioned the affordability of the national disability insurance scheme and the Gonski school funding reforms, acknowledging the causes may be “worthy” but describing the spending as “reckless”.
At the time, Abbott said people would “expect robust advice from someone who amongst many other things is a former chairman of the ABC” but the government would not break its “fundamental commitments to the Australian people”.
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