Feb 16, 2005

Government under the doona on climate change


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 16 February 2005

Today, the real reason for the Howard Government’s refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol has finally been exposed – and it’s more dangerous and alarming than anyone could have imagined.

Senior members of the Howard Government simply don’t believe the global scientific consensus that human-induced climate change is occurring.

According to the Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane:

"Whether or not those [carbon dioxide] emissions are causing climate change, I don’t know. If you go back across history, millions of years, carbon dioxide levels go up and down, and global warming comes and goes. I mean, the Earth is a lot warmer than it was when the glaciers formed."

Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, Sydney Morning Herald, 16 February 2005

This is a truly bizarre statement for Minister Macfarlane to make given the comments of the Environment Minister, Ian Campbell, just last month:

"I think we need to engage the climate sceptics, those people who are pulling the doona up over their heads, and get past the debate over whether or not climate change is real. There is a dominance of science which does say that the massive increase in greenhouse gas emissions has contributed to human-induced climate change." Senator Ian Campbell, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 January 2005

Either the Howard Government is fundamentally split on the issue of climate change, or the Environment Minister has been instructed to say the “right things” publicly in order to placate critics of his Government’s decision to turn its back on the Kyoto Protocol and international efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Labor has no doubts: climate change is the most serious environmental challenge confronting the global community.

Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are now higher than at any point during the previous 600,000 years, and glaciers that have not retreated since the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago are now doing so.

It is time for the Howard Government to stop playing its duplicitous games and come clean: does it accept the global scientific consensus that human-induced climate change is occurring?