Climate change skeptics or climate change ignoramuses?
Which of our Federal Parliamentarians are among the ignoramuses?There is a great need for more skepticism in many things, religion springs quickly to mind, but the time for skepticism regarding climate change and its human cause is past. No open minded person of reasonable intelligence and having some knowledge of the workings of science should have doubts that we are causing the climate to change. (Many Liberals do reject the science.)
There is also the 'precautionary principle' that needs to be considered.
The voters in a democracy have the right to know who among their representatives in Parliament are climate change deniers.
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©
Wind power displaces fossil-fuelled power stations
This wind farm at Clements Gap near my home in South Australia generates sustainable electricity that results in reduced emissions and the slowing of climate change
I have written about climate change itself on a number of other pages on this site (see the box on the right); the subject of this page is confined to climate change skepticism and climate change ignorance, particularly in the Australian Parliament.
"Climates are changing, a number of these changes are potentially catastrophic, and the changes are primarily caused by the activities of mankind."
Below is a list of those federal parliamentarians who
deny climate change and those who
accept the reality of anthropogenic climate
change (anthropogenic – caused by Man).
I had hoped that a few other people would be willing to contact their
parliamentarians and put the question; however no-one did, so most of
the responses are those from
South Australian Senators, to
whom I wrote.
Why do so many deny climate change? George Marshal wrote: "In the case of climate change, then, we can intellectually accept the evidence of climate change, but we find it extremely hard to accept our responsibility for a crime of such enormity." I have written more on this under climate change denial.
Others have financial reasons for arguing that either no out-of-the-ordinary climate change is happening or that it is not being caused by the activities of humanity, remember how long the tobacco industry denied that their products had any adverse health effects. I believe the fossil fuel industries and other high-polluting big-money industries are influencing some Parliamentarians to the point where they are willing to deny climate change so as to support these industries' continued profitability.
Some Parliamentarians may deny climate change out of honest ignorance; there is a lot of convincingly expressed dis-information about.
I can, and have, asked my MP, and all the senators in my state, for their stance on climate change; I have the right to expect a reply. If I ask for the positions of other MPs they will most likely ignore my letter, but you have every right to expect to be told what your MP and the senators of you state believe about climate change.
top of this page. I have listed the Climate change accepters in Parliament that I know of below.
For the purpose of this page I have used the term "Climate change denier" for anyone who believes that the definition given above is essentially false.
Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, said in late November 2009 something like "Climate change is absolute crap", but more recently he has said that he accepts anthropogenic climate change as real. A very serious matter to speak so ambiguously about!
top of this page. I have listed the Climate change deniers in Parliament that I know of above.
For the purpose of this page I have used the term "Climate change accepter" for anyone who believes that the definition given above is essentially true.
Climate change accepters among the Australian Greens in Federal Parliament: all?
Climate change accepters in the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party: This is the biggest unknown; I suspect that very few would admit being skeptics even if they believed that anthropogenic climate change was not happening.
Climate change accepters in the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party (members of the House of Representatives electorates are in square brackets):
Climate change accepters in the Federal Parliamentary National Party: none?
Climate change accepters on the cross benches: all except Steve Fielding?
Feel free to modify the letter, but please carefully consider any modification you make to the definition.
The key to political affiliation abbreviations is below.
|I wrote to all asking whether they accepted climate change as defined in my letter|
|Outspoken. Believes that the climate is changing, but not that the primary cause is man.|
|Advocates minimal action, partly on the precautionary principle.|
|Edwards, Sean||LP||Unknown||I know Senator Edwards personally, he refused to answer|
|Did not answer my question, but his reply implied that he accepted the science.|
|Ferguson, the Hon Alan||LP||Unknown|
|Failed to answer the question. Seems to favour no action|
|Fisher, Mary Jo||LP||Unknown|
|Failed to answer the question|
|Hanson-Young, Sarah||AG||Accepter||Believes "that climate change poses the greatest threat to our world in human history"|
|Contacted early December 2009, reply recieved late February 2010. Did not answer the question.|
|Answered the question unambiguously|
|Minchin, the Hon Nick||LP||Denier||Outspoken, see above. Contacted early December 2009, no reply as of Feb. 21st, 2010|
|Wong, the Hon Penny||ALP||Accepter||Minister for Climate Change. (I did not inquire)|
|Wortley, Dana||ALP||Unknown||Contacted early December 2009, no reply as of Feb 21st, 2010|
|Contacted early December 2009, replied Jan 8th, 2010|
Too small to make a difference?
Senator Alan Ferguson used a variant of this argument when arguing in Parliament against the adoption of the Rudd Government's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme; he said that Australia is "responsible for less than 1½ per cent of the world's emissions" and implied that since our contribution was so small there was no point in risking our economic well-being by reducing our greenhouse gas production.
This argument is quite invalid. The responsibility of any individual, group, society or nation to act on any global issue is logically in proportion to their per-capita contribution to that problem. Yes, Australia only produces about 1½ per cent of the world's emissions, but Australia has only about 0.3 per cent of the world's population, therefore the average Australian is responsible for (1½ divided by 0.3 = 5) five times as much greenhouse gas as the average global citizen.
Any individual could use the same fallacious argument to refuse to reduce his contribution to greenhouse gasses, no matter how wastefully he used the Earth's resources.
An example of the absurdity of the argument: Germany's greenhouse gas emissions are, of course, much smaller than the total emissions of the European Union. Does that mean that if we consider Germany as a part of the European Union it has a greater responsibility to reduce its emissions than if we consider it on its own? Of course not!
Another example: Liechtenstein has 33 000 people, its contribution to global greenhouse must be very small, but as a part of the European Union do all the people of Liechtenstein suddenly have a much greater responsibility to change their behaviour? Of course not!
China and the USA are the biggest greenhouse polluters, they are also among the biggest countries, both in area and population. If each province in China was to declare itself an independent country tomorrow – each producing much less greenhouse gasses than the whole of China – would this mean that all of the new states would have a much reduced responsibility to lessen their greenhouse gas production rates? Again, of course not! It is the per-capita greenhouse gas production rate that matters, and this is where Australia is among the worst in the world.
Per-capita Australia is the greatest greenhouse gas producer among the OECD nations. Of all the countries of the world, Australia, at 26 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person per year ranks ninth; the USA at 23 tonnes ranks 14th; and China at 3.9 tonnes ranks 121st. The only countries that are worse than Australia are a few poor nations that are ravaging their forests and several Middle-Eastern oil nations that have oil to burn.
Australia (and the great majority of individual Australians) has an ethical responsibility to greatly reduce its greenhouse gas production rate.