Tim Flannery launches new Climate Council

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After the Coalition scrapped the Climate Commission, Tim Flannery and other former commissioners have decided to continue their vital work on a voluntary basis. Torin Peel reports.

Flannery launches the Climate Council today in Sydney. (Click on image to see video on ABC website.)
Flannery launches the Climate Council today in Sydney. (Click on image to see Flannery's speech)

After the new government scrapped the Climate Commission last week, the former chief commissioner, Tim Flannery, has relaunched the organisation as a community-funded body, relying on support from ordinary Australians.

Flannery said that he was overwhelmed with messages asking for him to continue the work of the Climate Commission. He said that people need the information and that, without an informed public, we would be unlikely to make the decisions that will safe-guard us from climate change.

He said, before a formal launch in Sydney this morning:
"We've developed a real reputation for independence and authority in this area, and we just want to continue with that job."

The new Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, shut down the Climate Commission on Thursday and notified the commissioner by phone of the closure. Since its creation two years ago, the commission has produced 27 public reports

"The commission's work was invaluable in taking very complex information and presenting it in ways easily digestible by the community," Flannery said.

Former commissioners from the Climate Commission are said to be volunteering their time for the beginning of the Climate Council. There has also been an appeal for donations on their website. The council reported on Twitter that they had received donations from 250 people, totalling more than $7,000.

The new council is a godsend for our democracy, and will provide independent information Australians need to know the real facts about climate change. Because our new government is not willing to spend money researching, investigating and reporting this valuable information, it is fantastic that this initiative has been implemented to deal with it.

The activities of the former Climate Commission were going to cost the Government a mere $5 million over four years. To carry on its work, the new council will rely on public donations to run, with scientists volunteering their time to continue the work of the Climate Commission.

Information is the lifeblood of our democracy and it is important that people continue to understand what climate change is and what will happen to our planet if we do not take appropriate action.

It is vital that we take action based upon reliable and trustworthy information, and the new Climate Council seeks to help people to understand how important it is we do so.

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