Politics

Australia burning: questions for Tony Abbott

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What will climate change skeptic Tony Abbott have to say about the record heatwave now ravaging Australia, wonders George Monbiot.

AustraliaBurning

I WONDER what Tony Abbott will say about the record heatwave now ravaging his country.

The Australian opposition leader has repeatedly questioned the science and impacts of climate change. He has insisted that "the science is highly contentious, to say the least" and asked – demonstrating what looks like a wilful ignorance:
"If man-made CO2 was quite the villain that many of these people say it is, why hasn't there just been a steady increase starting in 1750, and moving in a linear way up the graph?"

He has argued against Australian participation in serious attempts to cut emissions.



Climate change denial is almost a national pastime in Australia. People such as Andrew Bolt and Ian Plimer have made a career out of it. The Australian – owned by Rupert Murdoch – takes such extreme anti-science positions that it sometimes makes the Sunday Telegraph look like the voice of reason.

Perhaps this is unsurprising. Australia is the world's largest exporter of coal – the most carbon intensive fossil fuel. It's also a profligate consumer. Australians now burn, on average, slightly more carbon per capita than the citizens of the United States, and more than twice as much as the people of the United Kingdom. Taking meaningful action on climate change would require a serious reassessment of the way life is lived there.

Read the rest of this article on The Guardian (UK) website.

 
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