Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to Australian Federal Science Minister Karen Andrews, climate deniers are robbing Australia of the time and energy to deal with climate change by perpetuating an already settled debate.
Climate change deniers robbing Australia of time to respond to impacts, Science Minister Karen Andrews warns
Australia is wasting time debating the merits of climate change and should instead focus its attention on responding to the impacts it is having on the country, a senior Liberal minister has warned.
- Karen Andrews wants people to move on from ideological debates about climate change
- The Science Minister says the focus should be on adaptation and mitigation strategies
- She says the science of climate change is settled and is apparent in Australia
Science Minister Karen Andrews said it was time to move on from ideological battles, which she said had robbed the nation of the time and energy needed to respond to climate change.
“Every second that we spend talking about whether or not the climate is changing is a second that we are not spending on looking at adaptation [and] mitigation strategies,” she said.
“It really is time for everyone to move on and look at what we’re going to do.”
Ms Andrews, a former engineer, said the science on climate change was settled.
Her intervention comes in the wake of the Bureau of Meteorology confirming 2019 was Australia’s hottest and driest year on record.
“Let’s not keep having debates about climate change,” the Cabinet minister said.
“Let’s accept that the climate has changed, the climate is changing and we need to look at what we’re going to do about that.“
Karen’s comments will be unwelcome news for companies worried about Australia’s soaring energy costs. If doing nothing is no longer an option the government will consider, the costs and rising risk of blackouts caused by the transition to unreliable renewables will continue, and will likely get worse.
Obviously we heard a very different message a few weeks ago from the delightful Craig Kelly. But Craig Kelly is a backbencher, while Karen Andrews holds an important ministerial portfolio. So I think it is reasonable to conclude Karen Andrews is more representative of the Morrison government than Craig Kelly.
Australia’s bipartisan climate action agenda has real economic consequences. Late last year Bluescope Steel diverted a billion dollars investment to the USA, a billion dollars worth of investment in jobs and national income, because of concerns about soaring Australian energy prices.
I doubt Bluescope is the only company planning to scale back involvement in Australia’s increasingly uncompetitive economic environment. Karen Andrews comments are a message to energy intensive businesses like Bluescope, companies which might be hanging on in case the situation improves, that whichever political party wins the next election there is no point hoping for a better future.
Update (EW): Prime Minister Scott Morrison has explicitly endorsed Karen Andrews comments on climate policy.