There are some people who don’t believe in human-induced climate change. The newly elected One Nation senator, Malcolm Roberts, is one such person. In an appearance on ABC’s Q&A show in August, he said that data of global temperatures in recent decades was “manipulated” by NASA. He also confidently stated that no global warming has occurred in the last 20 or so years. But that’s not all. The One Nation Party wants a royal commission into the fraud of climate science and a review of the Bureau of Meteorology for what the party believe are upward adjustments to historical climate records.
Malcolm Roberts and the One Nation Party are not alone in their beliefs. Andrew Bolt – a prominent media personality who writes for the major news outlets, has his own show on channel 10 and writes “Australia’s most-read political blog” – denies the plausibility of climate change every other day. Like-minded examples from abroad are plentiful too, including Marine Le Pen, a promising presidential candidate in France, and the infamous Donald Trump. Trump’s exact words in a tweet from 2012 were: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
The reality is that the Malcolm Roberts-es of the world don’t work as scientists or devote their lives to understanding the issue of climate change. They just choose to believe nonsense spread over the internet.
The reality is also that for these climate change deniers to be right, 97% of all actively-publishing climate scientists must have been wrong. This implies that the 97% and their funders have all been part of an elaborate conspiracy.
It is worth mentioning that there is a history of polluting companies trying to suppress climate science. The Western Fuels Association, for example, spent $510,000 in 1991 on a campaign to “reposition global warming as theory (not fact).” It’s also worth mentioning that Malcolm Roberts was previously a coalminer and a mining engineer for many years prior to his political career.
That Roberts and his friends are able to have a voice in the lawmaking process is therefore worrying to say the least. While the other political parties are fighting amongst themselves, the One Nation Party is going from strength to strength. They had no seats in the previous Senate, but after this year’s election they gained four. The Liberals, in contrast, were left with a one-seat majority in the senate, lost four seats to Labor in the house of reps, and are being criticised heavily for a lack of competency after the knifing of Tony Abbott last year.
Perhaps more worrying, is that, as stated above, the One Nation Party is not alone; moreover, many similar movements across the world in the form of Donald Trump, Brexit and various other outfits in Europe are seeing success. In addition to climate change, many of them seem to oppose the acceptance of refugees. But, funnily enough, climate change is set to make the issue of refugees much bigger than it is now. A significant proportion of the world lives in poor, low-lying coastal areas, meaning there could be a real crisis in coming decades if sea levels rise as projected. There could be literally hundreds of millions of climate refugees in the world, making the current situation look tame in comparison. It has long been time to stop denying climate change and begin working to mitigate it.