Everybody with a modicum of intelligence understands anthropogenic climate change is a fact and it is extremely dangerous. We knew about this 30 years ago1, and the prospect of it in the future is frightening. Currently, the world is on average about 1 degree Celsius hotter than pre-industrial levels, and it is now extremely unlikely that the temperature rise can be kept below 1.5 degrees C, and perhaps even below 2.0 degrees C2. If that happens it may lead to feedback cycles, which can exacerbate the problem, perhaps leading to runaway temperature rise3. This is not simply opinion. Scientists don’t just sit around drinking plonk, coming up with a cute theory to frighten the punters. We tend to leave that sort of rubbish to politicians. Anthropogenic global warming is based on the research of tens of thousands of scientists over many decades, which has resulted in many thousands of peer reviewed research papers. Much of this research has been combined into the several reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change1,2, which have all taken a more conservative approach than some of the research would indicate.
Now, the recognised genius of One Notion, Pauline Hanson, has again come out and said that ‘man-made climate change is not happening’ and that the only thing that has been ‘man made is the fear-mongering about climate change’. She also stated that volcanic eruptions and oceans caused more carbon emissions than man-made pollution, and that volcanic eruptions spew out more carbon [dioxide] than the oceans do4. This is a lie. Volcanic eruptions spew out between 150 and 270 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum, while those from burning fossil fuels, cement production and land use changes pump out 130 time as much at 36,300 million tonnes per annum5. In addition, about 26% of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is actually absorbed by the ocean6. The ocean does exactly the opposite of what Hanson says. In reality, it is not surprising that Hanson believes this drivel. She is the person who was told by someone that the new pump-jet propulsion system being put in modern submarines only permitted them to stay submerged for 20 minutes7. Of course, she believed it. How anyone could vote for someone like Hanson who is so limited and so gullible, is beyond me.
But wait, there’s more! Queensland Liberal National Party (LNP) senate candidate Gerard Rennick has accused the Bureau of Meteorology of tampering with their temperature data in order to “perpetuate global warming hysteria” and of “rewriting weather records to fit in with the global warming agenda”8. It should go without saying that these assertions are lies, but with the plethora of climate change deniers among far-right political parties such as One Notion and the LNP, it needs to be reiterated time and again. Of course, like Hanson, Rennick does not have the slightest understanding of science, and vacuums up any drivel he is told, if it fits in with his peculiar belief system. In this case, his idiocy was sourced from The Spectator, a far-right anti-science magazine edited by the curly-headed buffoon, Rowan Dean, who was the subject of a piece here some months ago9. The fact that this halfwit Rennick could actually get a spot on the LNP senate ticket does not augur well for the LNP, and if he is elected, for the future of Australia, nor for its younger generation. But then he did buy his way onto the ticket, by kicking the tin to the tune of $35,000 in the year leading up to the preselection10.
Normally when I am confronted by a climate change denier, I ask them where they have published their climate research. I often ask if it is in ‘Nature’ or ‘Science’. Almost invariably, when confronted with such a question, they go away. The people who don’t, are those who have no idea what I am talking about, which is scientific research. That is a common problem among climate change deniers: complete ignorance of science. This is also a problem not just for them but for the future of the planet. As we get deeper and deeper into the 21st century, the major problems we face will not be solved by people railing against reality, nor by people unaware of their profound ignorance and gullibility, nor by those who only wave their arms at their god and pray. These problems can only have a chance of being solved by scientists and technologists; by people who actually study the problems; and by people who actually understand them. We either have a STEM* world or we will have no world.
*Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics