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Thursday, 13 August 2009
Page: 4832

Senator FIELDING (Leader of the Family First Party) (10:00 AM) —Until recently I, like most Australians, simply accepted without question the notion that climate change was as a result of increased carbon dioxide emissions. I believed the media when they told me repeatedly that human caused carbon dioxide emissions were to blame for the changing temperatures on this planet. In fact, I listened to radical environmentalist groups when they protested about the damage we were causing to this earth and to our future generations.

I remember the enthusiasm surrounding former US Vice President Al Gore’s movie The Inconvenient Truth. In many ways it was the precursor to the obsession now with climate change. Climate change stopped being a topic of conversation only for scientists and radical green groups and suddenly became an issue discussed around the kitchen table. It was as if all of a sudden climate change hit centre stage and carbon dioxide was the main actor. Carbon dioxide was the new villain which needed to be caught and punished.

But all throughout this time one thing was missing, and that was genuine debate—debate on whether the science behind climate change as a result of human activity was even correct. The one question that needed to be properly explored was ignored. The crucial piece in the climate change puzzle was thrown to the side. Instead, scientific ambiguity was treated as if it were a fact. I am not saying that no-one ever questioned whether climate change was caused by something other than carbon dioxide emissions, but there are many experts who have called for a proper debate on the issue because of serious questions in the science which climate change alarmists have relied on. But until now the scientists who believe that carbon dioxide emissions are not the major driver of climate change have been labelled ‘sceptics’ and dismissed out of hand without real debate.

To question the science has meant public ridicule. To even question the science has carried a stigma and had you labelled as a sceptic. This is not a debate. Scientists who question the science behind climate change have been maligned in the media as fearmongerers and backwards. Their views have been treated with contempt. Anyone who dares to so much as even question the issue of human induced climate change is shouted down and discredited. Free and fair debate, the very thing which we as a democracy thrive on, has been stifled on the climate change issue. I will be making a challenge to the media towards the end of my speech in the second reading debate.

When someone told me recently that carbon dioxide emissions have skyrocketed since 1995 but that global temperatures have remained steady I was dumbfounded. I seek leave to have a chart incorporated into Hansard. Each senator already has a copy of this chart. It is the chart that shows carbon dioxide going up and global air temperatures staying relatively the same. Each senator has seen that chart. I have distributed one to each senator over the last couple of weeks.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Marshall)—It is actually difficult to incorporate a chart. It will be subject to the technical capability required for such an incorporation.

Senator FIELDING —I have had some advice saying that it is probably technically possible, but I will leave it to Hansard to work that out. It is a chart that has been circulated to senators.