Hat tip to reader Ian.
It would seem the issue of climate change and the floods was debated last night on ABC’s Q&A show:
The new Q&A season kicked off in fine style with a robust discussion featuring some of the biggest and most opinionated personalities on the political scene. It was no surprise that the devastation wrought by recent weather events, particularly in Queensland, was the major topic, especially with the Government’s proposed flood levy dominating the news.
Mitchell Watt raised the spirit of generosity in Australia and asked why 41 per cent of Australians, as measured by Newspoll, opposed the levy.
The issue exposed wide divisions among panellists, with Graham Richardson and David Williamson in favour of the levy and Amanda Vanstone, Gerard Henderson and Catherine Deveny opposed. Catherine suggested the money could be raised instead by removing the tax-exempt status of religion, because the floods were God’s fault.
Hayden Fletcher brought up Tony Abbott’s gaffe in seeking donations for a fund to oppose the levy, an action which was widely condemned although Gerard insisted it was an error made by the Liberal Party, not Tony Abbott.
In between skirmishes between Gerard and Catherine over religion the discussion moved on to climate change, with Luke Robinson saying the coal industry should be taxed more to pay for the damage caused by climate change.
Both David and Catherine suggested the intensity of recent weather events was linked to a changing climate, and that once in 1000-year events were becoming commonplace.
Gerard insisted, as a historian, that more severe floods, fires and cyclones had occurred in previous centuries.
Gerard is using the same, tired old canard all the deniers are trotting out at the moment (see Skeptical Science):
A common skeptic argument is that climate has changed naturally in the past, long before SUVs and coal-fired power plants, so therefore humans cannot be causing global warming now. Interestingly, the peer-reviewed research into past climate change comes to the opposite conclusion. To understand this, first you have to ask why climate has changed in the past. It doesn’t happen by magic. Climate changes when it’s forced to change. When our planet suffers an energy imbalance and gains or loses heat, global temperature changes.
As a historian Gerard, you should understand causation.
The climate is not magic: something forces those changes.
It just so happens the massive amounts of CO2e we are pumping into the atmosphere are forcing changes.
Gerard provides yet another example of Orwellian doublespeak:
“The climate has always changed. The climate is therefore not changing”
Would you take medical advice from Gerard?
Afterall, people got sick in the past.
Should we accept his word on climate science?
You can watch the show here.
The transcript is not up yet, and I need to find time to watch it all.
I thought it would be of interest to many.