Feb 22, 2005

141 Nations join ‘totalitarian sect’


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 22 February 2005

Last week Industry Minister, Mr Macfarlane pulled the doona over his head and outed himself as a climate change sceptic saying “global warming comes and goes”.

Now on last night’s Lateline program, an economic advisor to the Russian President, Andrei Illarionov, accused supporters of the Kyoto Protocol of being a part of “a totalitarian sect of Kyotoists”.

Mr Illarionov went on to say that the link between climate change and greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, are “absolutely unfounded claims that do not have any confirmation in the science”, and furthermore those making such claims “are not scientists”.

This bizarre attack by one of the world’s leading climate change sceptics simple highlights the bankruptcy of their view. Sceptics are reduced to claiming the 140 nations, as well as the European Union, which have ratified Kyoto are part of a global conspiracy or sect. Even President Bush stated on 4th September: “Greenhouse gases are causing global warming”.

Labor’s support for action to avoid dangerous climate change has at all times been informed by the research undertaken by the scientific community.

For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – a consortium of several thousand independent scientists established in 1988 – has concluded:

“…there is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.” (Source: www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/004.htm)

Just this month the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science heard details of a study conducted by a team of American scientists that found “compelling” evidence that observed changes in ocean temperatures over the past 40 years has been caused by human activities such as the emittance of carbon dioxide.

According to a member of this research team, Dr Tim Barnett of the San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography:

“This is perhaps the most compelling evidence yet that global warming is happening right now…” (Source: BBC Online, 17/02/05)

People are entirely right to argue that there are still many uncertainties about the climate and the influence human activity may be having on it. The science of climate change is still evolving and its precise impact is likely to vary from region to region.

It is false however to suggest that scientific opinion is equally split. It is not. The evidence is very clear and this is why scientists are the ones demanding action.

Extreme conspiracy theories are no substitute for action based upon science. It is up to the Howard Government’s “sceptics” to distance themselves from these loony views – if they can.