Australia: Abbott dumps climate watchdog, deniers rejoiceBy Rowena Dela Rosa Yoon Sep 20, 2013 4:32PM UTC
New Prime Minister Tony Abbott wasted no time in disbanding the nation’s climate watchdog on Thursday in order to deliver his election promise right after he was sworn into office. Plans to scrap other climate-related bodies are now underway.
Jo Nova, in her website, screamed, “Taxpayers rejoice! The science-propaganda agency is gone for good. One down — scores to go.”
Nova praised Abbott’s Coalition government in its decision “to cut waste and to stop funding an inept unscientific agency which was unbalanced to the point of being government advertising in disguise.” She said the commission wasted billions of dollars on useless and scientific projects, including desal plants, solar panels and wind farms.
Andrew Bolt also welcomed Abbott’s decision although he said the new Environment Minister Greg Hunt made one mistake when he sacked Flannery: thanking him for his work. ”Thank Flannery? Hunt should instead have asked Flannery how much of his $180,000 a year salary he’d refund after getting so many predictions wrong,” he quipped.
The Coalition Government will also dump the Climate Change Authority– set up in 2012 to provide independent advice to the government on the carbon price and emissions reductions targets, along with the legislation to scrap the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). Also set up in 2012, CEFC has been provided with $10 billion in funding over five years to support private investment in renewable energy.
All climate-related bodies will be streamlined under the Department of Environment.
Abbott gained notoriety when he said saying climate change was “crap” and therefore not a priority in his government. The Greens have tagged him as a “climate criminal”.
Observers said climate change was a highly politicised issue between the right and left wing.
The Abbott camp alleged that climate change “is part of a vast left wing conspiracy to deindustrialise the world.”
In an interview with the The Telegraph, Abbott admitted “the carbon tax has been a handbrake on the NSW economy” and scrapping the carbon tax will assure Premier O’Farrell that his top legislative priority will give an “adrenalin shot for local business…”
Alex White of The Guardian posted two reasons why Abbott wanted to scrap the pollution tax. One speculated Abbott was a skeptic, but the other was more politically compelling because climate change denial stemmed from “powerful vested interests in Australia, including the fossil fuel lobby, mining industry and carbon intensive corporations” which “are heavy donors to Mr Abbott’s Liberal Party.”
Major donors to the Liberal Party prior to the 2013 election, according to the Australian Electoral Commission include mining company Santos ($227,880), Clive Palmer’s Minerology ($459,900), nickel miners Minara Resources ($358,000) and Mincor Resources ($120,000), Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group ($50,000), and oil giant Chevron ($28,500).
The Labor leadership contender Anthony Albanese and Greens Senator Christine Milne are both distraught with Abbott’s decision to discard the climate commission.
Albanese said in a speech on Thursday the move to scrap the commission was “shameful”, while Milne said “issuing instructions to close the authority was irresponsible in the face of dangerous climate change.” She added that in the context of global warming, Abbott’s action was a crime against humanity.
UPDATE (September 24)
The Climate Commission has been recycled to become the Climate Council following public uproar after it was abolished last week. Supporters for an independent body that focuses on the science of climate change put up the council and re-instated Flannery.
The professor said he will continue his work to provide a clear, credible and authoritative information on the subject with the support of friends and concerned groups. The council will serve as an independent voice taking into account that “there has never really been a more critical time for that voice than now.”