It’s hard to speak truth to power. Scientists can talk about science, sure, but politicians have little time, training or appetite for hearing the truth. On this day in 2011 Australian Chief Scientific Advisor Penny Sackett, quit her post, having been ignored on climate change (only met Rudd once, wasn’t on the huge delegation to Copenhagen, had just been stood up by Julia Gillard).
See the Sydney Morning Herald’s account.
See a 2008 profile of her when she was new in post…
Also on this day –
The climate issue had burst into life again in late 2006, and already some Liberals were publicly pushing back. Nick Minchin would of course play a key role in the overthrow of Malcolm Turnbull as opposition leader in November 2009, over Turnbull’s willingness to help pass Rudd’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme…
Topsfield, J. 2007 Costello and Minchin split on climate change. The Age, 19 February.
DIVISIONS continue to emerge within the Government over climate change, with Treasurer Peter Costello yesterday disagreeing with Finance Minister Nick Minchin over whether the extent that humans were to blame for global warming was in doubt.
“I think the scientific evidence is now accepted, and that is that climate change is occurring, that human activity is leading to carbon emissions, which is slowly leading to an increase in temperature,” Mr Costello told Channel Ten. “I don’t think that’s in dispute any more.”
So, after years of claiming the Kyoto Protocol would never be ratified by enough countries – what with the US and Australia both refusing- naysayers were proved wrong when the Russians, for reasons of their own, ratified in late 1994, causing the Protocol to become international law (such as it is) and presenting Australia with both presentational and diplomatic issues. Prime Minister John Howard was not, at this stage, perturbed (the perturbations would only begin in late 2006…)
AAP. 2005. Kyoto Protocol ‘next to useless’: PM. Sydney Morning Herald, 16 February.
Prime Minister John Howard has reaffirmed the government’s opposition to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change on the day the pact came into effect.
The opposition used Question Time to put more pressure on the government over its refusal to join the treaty which has been signed by 141 countries.
Labor leader Kim Beazley asked Prime Minister John Howard about conflicting comments on climate change from two government ministers.
He read one media report quoting Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane as saying he did not know whether greenhouse emissions caused climate change.
Another quoted Environment Minister Ian Campbell saying there was a need to engage sceptics who did not believe climate change was real.
“I think they are both splendid ministers and of course I agree with them both,” Mr Howard answered…..
Also on this day –
Nick Minchin, who would later play a crucial role in getting rid of Malcolm Turnbull as opposition leader, over the latter’s support for Kevin Rudd’s CPRS, was resisting the change of mood mentioned above…
Murphy, K. 2007. Lib scorns mass ‘panic’ on climate. The Age, 17 February.
It SHOULD not be seen as a sin to be cautious about the science of global warming, a senior Federal Government minister has warned.
Finance Minister Nick Minchin says “there remains an ongoing debate about the extent of climate change” and the extent of human activity’s role in global warming….