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Abbott Government ignore scientific advice on climate change

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Mark Butler



Date: 28 September 2013

Federal Labor today called on the Abbott Government to cease suppressing scientific and expert advice on climate change in light of the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report last night.

The IPCC report shows unequivocally that the earth has warmed since the start of the century, with the last decade the hottest on record - and that human activity caused most of the warming between 1951 and 2010.

The report also warns of melting ice sheets pushing sea levels up, glaciers in retreat and an increase in extreme weather events.

Meanwhile, the Abbott Government has axed the Climate Commission and two departmental secretaries involved in pricing carbon pollution, demonstrating complete contempt for expert scientific and independent advice on climate change.

Labor’s climate change spokesman Mark Butler said Australians around the country are rightly appalled by the Abbott Government's attempts to silence the scientific community.

“There's a reason Tony Abbott didn't appoint a Minister for Climate Change or a Minister for Science - he's not interested in either,” Mr Butler said.

“Politicians are not scientists, nor should we pretend to be, but as politicians our public duty must be to respect the overwhelming weight of scientific opinion and put in place policies which address real and present dangers for our community.

“What we're seeing is a well-worn path of conservative governments in Australia: silence those who disagree with you and hide evidence that discredits your policy position - just as they have chosen to do with suppressing reports on asylum seekers.

“The IPCC scientists from around the world, just like the ones at NASA, the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO, have demonstrated to us time and time again that the world is warming and high levels of carbon pollution risk environmental and economic damage.”

Since 1880 the global average surface temperature has increased by around 0.85°C. Carbon dioxide concentrations are 40 per cent higher than pre-industrial times.

Arctic sea ice has declined on average 3.8% per decade since 1979 and the global sea level is expected to rise between 26 and 82 cm by 2100.

Earlier this year, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide reached 400 parts per million threshold - a level that has not been experienced in at least 3.2 million years.

“No responsible government would ignore this advice. Sadly our new government has done more than ignore this advice - they've moved to silence it,” Mr Butler said.

“Serious action on climate change has been the Labor Party platform for more than two decades.

“Our policy for an emissions trading scheme allows the market to decide the cheapest and most effective way to operate while at the same time reducing the amount of carbon pollution released into the atmosphere - unlike the Abbott Government’s embarrassing Direct Action scheme, which experts agree is an expensive dud.

“The IPCC report is another wake-up call about the urgent need to reduce carbon pollution or face dire consequences for our planet.”