November 11, 2009

Dear Mr Turnball: A letter Regarding Climate Change Deniers.

Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response. 
The stakes are too high. The consequences too serious. 
Barrack Obama on Climate Change 2009.

Dear Mr. Malcolm Turnball,

For months now the Liberal party has been in total disarray over climate change. Up until recently, I was under the impression that you were opposed to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) because of concerns for the tax impact on industry; particularly agriculture in regional Australia. 
This always seemed confusing to me, as the current proposal is revenue-negative and agriculture is excluded from the scheme - and besides, wasn't it the Liberal government who introduced the GST?  
Over the course of the year, your MP's have become rather skilled at knocking down Labour's proposed scheme, but in the back of my mind I just assumed it was because the Liberal party was busy working on a better, more effective model. 
After all, you did say back in July that "We have designed an emissions trading scheme -much better designed than the one Mr Rudd had come up with." I understand that something as important as the CPRS might take time to perfect and must be weighed against all manner of factors, including the most up to date research, but a few weeks ago, when I tried to read about your alternative policy, I was unable to find one on your website. 
I scoured newspapers and online journals - and still nothing.  
Like most Australians who know that failure to act on global warming will have dire consequences for our country, this issue is one of extreme importance. 
As a mother of two, I have obvious concerns for the future of my children and my children's children, etc. 
I have witnessed the devastating effects of Black Saturday, the NSW/QLD floods and I have read a variety of literature on the potential for worsening devastation lest we sit back and twiddle our thumbs. 
I further understand the need for Australia to present a cohesive, forward thinking ETS at Copenhagen so that we may lead by example and not look like a bunch of backward thinking buffoons. 
(After all, the world knows that as the repercussions of global warming increase, Australia will be worst effected). 
Despite this, I have always maintained that both parties would come together over this issue and act in the best interests of the country they swore to protect and serve. 
But lately Mr. Turnball, I have lost faith in this ideology as I have come to this rather frightening realisation. 
How do you get an important piece of legislation such as the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme through the senate, when the majority of the coalition are climate change deniers? 
(I say deniers because sceptic is the wrong word). 
Last night, Liberal leader in the senate, Nick Minchin told the ABC's Four Corners program, that most coalition MP's do not think human activity is causing global warming.  
Now on one hand the Liberal Party are demanding negotiations and calling for amendments to be made to the CPRS and the next minute they are saying that even if these demands are met, this will not guarantee their vote in the senate. 
The bottom line here is that if your party were at all serious about this issue of climate change, they would take this opportunity to expand and improve upon the current model in order to pass it in the senate. 
The truth is, they are not serious (how could they be when they think global warming is a conspiracy?) and all of these negotiations amount to nothing more than a game of political handball. 
After hearing watching the Four Corners program, I took some time to delve into the profiles of your key ministers. 
It is important to point out that while Corey Bernadi has stated that he will keep an open mind in the senate, he has also started a petition against signing the Copenhagen climate treaty. 
In a disturbing two-part speech, Mr Bernadi referred to climate change as "a new religion" and to Al Gore as a "high priest" and a "video hoaxer". 
In reference to the Gore film An Inconvenient Truth, Mr Bernadi went on to call it "a flawed and alarmist mocumentary". 
Then we have Tony Abbott. He has concerns that the country is "jumping on a bandwagon" and "being taken by a fad" as though he were referring to roller-blading or Twitter and not the future of the planet. 
Mr Abbott, a right-wing Christian who is well known for his anti-abortion, anti-stem cell research and anti-gay rights is also clearly anti-global warming. 
For a man who has his head buried so far up his own bottom, I would go as so far as to call him the anti-christ if it wasn't so damned ironic. 
Then we have Nick Minchin, who urged wavering senators "not to abandon their principles," before referring to climate change as "scientific looney.
And of course we have Joe Hockey who has vowed to stand behind you, but is currently too busy giving speeches on evangelical religion to have an informed opinion on this debate. 
And that leads me to my next rather controversial point. 
Yesterday, Crikey ran an article on the similarities between the defunct One Nation Party and the coalitions climate change deniers, calling it Climate Change: the coalitions new Hansonism
While I do agree with some points made in the article, I couldn't help thinking about the more striking comparisons between climate change denialism and creationism. 
In the same way that creationists simply ignore the plethora of scientific evidence in front of them regarding Darwin's theory of evolution; so to do climate change deniers take the obtuse position of burying their heads in the sand. 
It struck as me as more than a coincidence that the majority of the coalitions climate change deniers are also right-wing conservative christians alongside the likes of Sarah Palin. 
In researching my theory I found this blog entry in the Guardian called Climate change creationists: the following is an excerpt from the article.

'Think about it. They operate in very similar ways. They have a fixed position and ignore evidence that does not fit their case. And they cherry-pick shreds of data that do appear to back them up. 
They play up the "it's just a theory" debate just like the creationists and they paint themselves as valiant scientific mavericks who are supposedly ignored and vilified by the establishment. Worst of all they have been pushing their own version of "teach the controversy". This dishonest and sterile position has paralysed policy-makers for too long. We must leave it behind.' 

If you are serious Mr. Turnball, about about acting on climate change, then might I refer you to the words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence,on the issue of church and state. 
Might I also say with all due respect, that in 2009, there is no good reason why the policies made by government, on behalf of its people should be motivated by any agenda, least of all a faith based ideology that does not have its feet planted firmly in reality. 
The Liberal party is largely made up of male conservative christians who are opposed to the CPRS, not because it is fundamentally flawed, but because the theory of climate change clashes with the theory of creationism.
Don't get me wrong Mr. Turnball, I have nothing against Christians, but the beliefs of certain Liberal MP's should have absolutely nothing to do with the proposed legislation on climate change and therefore, should not weigh into the debate. 
In fact, there is no place in the current political debate for conspiracy theorists, hiding behind an archaic faith based agenda. 

We should be aligning ourselves with the Greens, rather than the religious right if we are to make any real dent on this impasse.  
Global warming is speeding up Mr Turnball -whether your party believes it or not. 
As the leader of the opposition, (and clearly the only sensible member of the party) it is high time you stood up, and exerted some authority over the climate change deniers, before it is too late. 
Denial is no longer an appropriate response. 


aybrus said...

this is excellent. you should be a journalist.

Anonymous said...

May I just say that having been involved in the environmental sector for nearly 20 yrs or there about, the words I read here are some of the best intelegent words I've read on the situation at hand and the fact that people that work 6 months of the year in an airconditioned office and then say we as humans aren't contributing to climate change well maybe they are trying to create there own version of the bible that they so strictly live by, the hotter it gets the more like hell it gets, oh and if these people or devout Christians then why are they in polatics, the biggest bunch of non truth tellers in the world.
Climate change is real and whether someone beleives it or not it's a happening thing and one point that I think all governments and money based people forget is that if we don't have a planet to live comfortable on then they have no money or jobs or anything except a very harsh devistating world
cheers and thanks for the words