Australia’s Attorney-General and Liberal Senator George Brandis said earlier this week he’s not “at all” convinced the science of global warming is settled. Speaking to Parliament, the senior Turnbull government minister noted “there were a number of views about the cause of climate change,” which shows the “deep climate skepticism in the coalition [party].” Australia’s Labor party immediately attacked Mr. Brandis’ remarks and said they were “breathtaking.” The Labor party is a democratic socialist party, billing itself as a “party of active government.”
“It doesn’t seem to me that the science is settled at all,” Senator Brandis told Australia’s parliament during a “debate on the tabling of documents relating to the CSIRO.” The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) is Australia’s agency for scientific research and inquiry based in Canberra. It’s a cross between the United States’ NASA, NOAA, and EPA, and works closely with Australia’s other research agencies.
Sen. Brandis made his comments at a recent CSIRO meeting, where about 200 jobs are on the chopping block, specifically those in climate data collection. The move would take resources away from gathering climate data and focus more on research and solutions. The “overall head count” would likely return to today’s levels within the next two years.
Mr. Brandis remarked he wasn’t “embarking on the climate debate himself,” but instead “challenging the Labor party’s illogical position.” Mr. Brandis said “if the science is settled,” a favorite meme of climate alarmists and Australia’s Labor party, then “why would Australia need climate researchers” to prove something that is already resolved.
Eric Worrall, who writes for the science site Watts up with that?, notes that “government climate scientists are caught in a political pincer of their own making,” adding: “If climate science is settled enough to make confident predictions, why do we need so many climate researchers? If climate science is not settled, why do climate scientists keep pretending it is?”
Brandis also said that while “I’m not a scientist, I’m agnostic really on that question.” CSIRO’s head Larry Marshall wrote in an email to staff: “The question of climate change had been proved and it was time to refocus on solutions to it.”
That solution includes a better distribution of resources and staff. CSIRO climate scientists, who see their resources drying up, say that without continuous data collection, “huge gaps could form that could never be recovered.” Collection is also done in coordination with the Bureau of Meteorology.
Labor’s environmental spokesperson Mark Butler and its former Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus were shocked by Mr. Brandis’ comments, saying in a statement: “The commitment of Senator Brandis to addressing the impacts of climate change is so shallow, he hasn’t made up his mind whether it actually exists yet.” But Sen. Brandis’ office points to a 2014 interview where the attorney-general said he sided with those “who believed in anthropogenic (man-made) global warming and who believed something ought to be done about it.”
In 2009, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was drummed out of the Liberal party’s leadership over his dedication to an emissions trading scheme and belief that mankind is largely responsible for any perceived increases in global temperatures over the past 150 years. Since recordkeeping began, the Earth has fluctuated between highs and lows roughly every 30 years with an overall warming of 0.5 degrees Celsius since leaving the Little Ice Age.
Satellite measurements, considered the “gold standard” by NASA for collecting temperature data, show no statistical warming for the past 18 years 10 months. This global warming pause (or hiatus) was interrupted by a strong, naturally occurring El Niño that temporarily elevated temperatures worldwide during the first few months of 2016.
The Liberal Party bills itself as a “right-winged political party in Australia” and is affiliated with the International Democrat Union, a center-right organization.