Understanding Climate Risk

Science, policy and decision-making

Turnbull speaks up for climate science

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Last night Malcolm Turnbull gave the Inaugural Virginia Chadwick Memorial Lecture and spoke up for climate science. Who is Virginia Chadwick you may ask? She was Chair of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, committed to reef conservation and after her death, her family set up the Virginia Chadwick Memorial Foundation to carry on her work.

What I’ve heard of Turnbull’s speech is excellent. He was very even-handed about the Labor and Liberal policies, concentrating on the science and its impartiality in establishing the risk of climate change. Transcript here and excerpts were televised on ABC’s Lateline program with transcript.

Some quotes:

In the storm of this debate about carbon tax, direct action and what the right approach to climate change should be, do not fall into the trap of abandoning the science.

The opponents of the science of climate change will be criticising that expenditure too as pointless and wasteful with as much vehemence as they are currently denouncing Julia Gillard’s carbon tax.

Some people would say, I trust most would not, that as we have a vested interest in coal being burned, we should oppose action on climate change, and rather like the tobacco companies who sought to discredit the connection between smoking and lung cancer, muddy the waters on climate science in order to prolong the export billions from coal mining.

Malcolm Turnbull is as well informed as any parliamentarian on climate change and goes out of his way to learn the latest science and consider how it may inform policy. There are people like this on all sides of Australian politics and those concerned about climate change are a majority. To see how the current divisive debate it is being whipped up by various parts of the media and industry is disappointing. Muddy waters, indeed.

Kudos Malcolm Turnbull for speaking out in this way.

Update: Great post by Mark Bahnisch. Is the speech a game changer?


Written by Roger Jones

July 22, 2011 at 10:58 am

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