The news Al Gore should read.
Consensus? What Consensus?
Chill out. Get Informed.
By Miranda Devine, The Sydney Morning Herald
Illustration: Simon Bosch
Taking time out from investigating terrorist cells and stopping drug trafficking, the Australian Federal Police reportedly are to be deputised as "carbon cops", prosecuting new "carbon offences", under the Government's proposed climate change legislation. That will really strike a blow for law and order.
It's just another resource-sapping absurdity brought to you by the Rudd Government's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
One of the few politicians who is actually trying to understand the facts in the debate on man-made climate change, before voting on the Government's scheme in two weeks, is Steve Fielding, the Family First senator from Victoria, who also happens to be an engineer.
Last week Fielding paid his own way to travel to Washington to meet climate policy makers for the Obama administration and to attend a conference of eminent scientists sceptical about the threat of man-made climate change.
"I thought it was important I head over to Washington to hear first-hand how the Obama Administration plans to tackle global warming," he said in an email interview yesterday, "while at the same time also giving me a chance to hear from some of the world's leading scientists about whether global warming is man-made or not.
"The US is the largest economy in the world and will therefore shape where the world heads in reducing carbon emissions. I was provided with a wealth of information from both sides of the argument, which I plan to take to [the Climate Change Minister] Penny Wong and her advisers on Monday to seek clarification on."
At the Heartland Institute conference in Washington, Fielding heard from the likes of atmospheric physicists Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT and emeritus professor Fred Singer of the University of Virginia, both warning against climate "alarmism".
He attended the launch of Singer's book Climate Change Reconsidered, the report of the so-called Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change, an 880-page refutation of the United Nation's Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change reports, with input from 30 "expert scientists from 16 countries".
Fielding says he wanted to "hear from both sides of the debate".
"I would be derelict in my duties and I think I'd be letting down the Australian people if I didn't properly research the issues and relied on one side of the debate," he said last week.
"I'm not a climate change sceptic, I'm not a climate change extremist; what I am is very open-minded." How many other Australian politicians have bothered to similarly furnish their minds on a crucial issue which threatens to destroy thousands of Australian jobs, including, Fielding estimates, 23,000 in the mining industry, and will inflate the price of everything from electricity to food?
Fielding, who has an MBA from Monash University as well as an engineering degree from RMIT, is confident enough in his analytical ability not to be intimidated by overbearing experts into outsourcing policy to them.
Swamped with emails from the public encouraging him in his quest for answers, he says he is motivated by "trying to do what's right by Australian workers and families, [which] is enough inspiration to get this decision right".
Of course, he has been pilloried for being diligent enough to do the job he was elected to do.
He has been derided by people without any training in mathematics or scientific disciplines, who regard science, probably, as they do their computers - as a little black box to be understood only by an elite council of infallible gurus who are incapable of impure motives. Who is the gullible one?
The online newsletter Crikey described Fielding's trip to the US as "a futile mission based on a misguided assumption", a sick "stunt" akin to the Chaser terminal child illness skit. "The world is way beyond debating the science of climate change", it said. Oh, yeah?
Fielding has been smeared as a religious nutter, even though the real religious nutters are the green zealots who are hell-bent on destroying farming and mining for the sake of, at best, a minuscule environmental benefit.
The puerile and often bigoted online publication New Matilda described Fielding thus: "As one of 15 children, he comes from a long line of people with no sense of human decency, and so his affiliation with the Pentecostal movement was a natural progression."
Growing up as one of 16 (not 15) children, Fielding is immune to such bullying, and is also unlikely to buckle to any emotional pressure in his meeting at 4pm on Monday with Wong, who will be pushing for his support for her scheme.
Fielding potentially holds the key Senate vote along with fellow independent senator Nick Xenophon, who already has tipped the legislation is "dead in the water".
Despite the fact that Fielding embodies the classic story of David versus Goliath, in the tradition of Mr Smith Goes To Washington, the media has done little but give him a hard time. Climate change has become a special topic, somehow elevated above the critical questioning of everyday journalism, as media organisations form alliances with green groups and move dangerously close to activism.
All power to Steve Fielding for arming himself with as many first-hand facts as possible. It shows he takes his job seriously.