The ‘Logic’ of Climate

Nick Minchin told Sky News on Friday that Garnaut ”knows nothing about the climate and he’s not a climate scientist, and I don’t think he has any authority whatsoever. We have stabilised in terms of world temperatures. There is a very powerful natural cycle at work and if anything, we are more likely to see a tendency down in global temperatures rather than up.”

The above is taken from Lenore Taylor’s excellent article about Climate policy in Australia at the moment. Taylor explores the link between government (in)action on climate, climate skepticism and Tony Abbott’s personal stance on climate change. It is an insightful piece, with the above quote perhaps at the heart of the debate. Some people are currently unsure about nearly everything climate related – an opinion which leads to some hesitation about taxation (and spending). I believe the at the heart of the Liberal strategy, these people are seen to live in marginal seats on the outer of major metropolitan areas.

Getting facts and objective analysis into debate is awfully hard as the Government are finding. It is not helped by high-profile opinion makers, such as Nick Minchin, attempting to invalidate other members of the debate. Ross Garnaut is definitely not a climate scientist – Minchin is correct about that. But to infer that this should disqualify his opinion is baseless. Minchin does not tell his audience that Garnaut, despite not being a climate scientist, is an extremely clever man who has spent an untold amount of time on the issue of climate change. He is a leader of public policy formation in Australia and well-regarded by a cross-section of the political community. The independent review which Garnaut led was wide-ranging and free from Government interference. It was the catalyst for then Prime Minister Rudd’s proposed CPRS.

What is missed from all of this is that fact that Nick Minchin is also not a climate scientist. Far from it. Yet on Alan Jones and PM, he makes broad statements regarding climate. See the above. From the above statement we can conclude that Nick Minchin believes:

A) Ross Garnaut is not a climate scientist

B) Because of this, he is not qualified to make statements about climate change

C) However – despite also not being a climate scientist (or having spent any significant amount of time investigating the effect of climate on the earth) – Minchin himself is well positioned to inform an audience about climate change.

The logic behind the statement at the top simply does not add up. It is a shame therefore that Minchin’s views are powerfully on display everytime Tony Abbott speaks on the issue of climate. Views that are beyond simple reasoning. The Government in my mind correct about at least one thing at the moment – the opposition do not want to debate this issue on it’s merits when a ‘fear campaign’ will be just as adequate.

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