Senate debates

Thursday, 27 February 2020


Climate Change; Order for the Production of Documents

4:06 pm

Photo of Concetta Fierravanti-WellsConcetta Fierravanti-Wells (NSW, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I take note of item 9 of page 13 of the Notice Paper, relating to climate change reports. Over the past decade there has been much said and written about man's contribution to the warming of our planet, much of it characterised by emotive and alarmist language by those pushing their respective agendas. When asked whether you believe in climate change the answer is yes, because there has always been climate change on planet earth. Over billions of years, our planet has warmed and cooled, and sea levels have risen and fallen at different times. From the Roman warming to the cooling of the Dark Ages, from the medieval warming to the little ice age and the warming of the late 20th century until now, our climate has changed. But when asked, 'What causes this change?' I would urge Australians not to follow the herd mentality by blaming CO2 and more especially man-made CO2 as the culprit.

CO2 is not a pollutant. It is a clean, odourless and colourless gas. It is vital for the health of our planet and indeed our very existence. CO2 is food for plants and plankton, and without it they cannot survive. It is very troubling that this is no longer being taught in our schools. Young Australians are not receiving the facts about the crucial role that CO2 plays in the life cycle. Indeed, they are strongly labelling CO2 as a pollutant, instead of informing young Australians of its vital role in the process of photosynthesis. Plants and trees absorb CO2 and release oxygen. Also, phytoplankton in our oceans absorb CO2 and produce up to half of earth's oxygen supply. We need oxygen to breathe and exist on earth.

Also important to informed judgement in this area is to have academic freedom, with peer review remaining integral to this freedom. The politicisation of climate science has not only stifled debate; credible scientists have been ridiculed and marginalised for daring to pursue scientific methods and conduct. One only has to look at what happened to Dr Peter Ridd, who was dismissed from James Cook University after he criticised his colleagues regarding their Great Barrier Reef research. This is only one case of how universities are trying to stymie or stop academic debate on climate change that doesn't accord with the herd mentality against CO2.

Of course, how could we forget the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit, which became known as 'climategate'. This showed the lengths that some in the industry were prepared to go to link CO2 to climate change global warming. We saw an orchestrated campaign of vilification against alleged 'sceptic' scientists and deliberate attempts to exclude the publishing of their work, including targeting editors who did publish their work; and the manipulation of data to 'prove' a warming effect coincided with industrialisation, while dismissing or preventing raw data from being peer reviewed.

On 29 September last year a global network of more than 500 experienced scientists and professionals in climate and related fields wrote to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. This group, led by CLINTEL cofounder Professor Berkhout, warned the Secretary-General:

The general-circulation models of climate on which international policy is at present founded are unfit for their purpose.

Therefore, it is cruel as well as imprudent to advocate the squandering of trillions of dollars on the basis of results from such immature models. Current climate policies pointlessly and grievously undermine the economic system, putting lives at risk in countries denied access to affordable, reliable electrical energy.

The letter urges the UN to:

… follow a climate policy based on sound science, realistic economics and genuine concern for those harmed by costly but unnecessary attempts at mitigation.

CLINTEL, the Climate Intelligence foundation, was founded by Professor Berkhout and science journalist Marcel Crok. Its world climate declaration 'There is no climate emergency' document now has over 800 signatories, including 109 scientists and professionals from Australia. It asks the important question:

To believe the outcome of a climate model is to believe what the model makers have put in. This is precisely the problem of today’s climate discussion to which climate models are central. Climate science has degenerated into a discussion based on beliefs, not on sound self-critical science. Should not we free ourselves from the naïve belief in immature climate models?

CLINTEL, rightly, not only calls for a wider range of voices to be heard in the climate debate but also plays the role of watchdog. I seek leave to continue my remarks.

Leave granted.