Australian news, and some related international items

Australian opinion against climate science is fuelled by paid ‘sceptics’

Making heretics of scientists casts a shadow, The Age, Sean Hosking, March 19, 2012 Recent revelations that several prominent global warming sceptics are in the pay of the free-market American think tank the Heartland Institute come as no surprise to many who have witnessed the slow descent of the debate from the lofty ”great moral issue of our time” to the cynical “great big tax on everything”.

The national climate report released by the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology on Wednesday added to the overwhelming body of scientific evidence supporting anthropogenic warming, but a recent CSIRO survey found politics was the primary factor in determining public views on the matter. A large majority of those who agree with the science are
Labor/Green voters, while most of those who disagree are Coalition
The partisan nature of the debate suggests the hegemony of science
that has characterised the two centuries since the Enlightenment is
under serious threat. Scientists, hitherto in the vanguard of modern
civilisation, are viewed by many as irrelevant, incompetent or
untrustworthy. A particularly mild summer has only strengthened the
view that, in Tony Abbott’s words, “climate change is crap”.

How have we reached the point where our previous deference to expert
scientific opinion on everything from space exploration to hair care
has suddenly waned on potentially one of the most significant issues
in human history?….
climate scientists are now being stigmatised and the status quo
defended at all costs by free-market purists who view the whole
concept of climate change as little more than a vehicle for the market
interventions of big government. Amplified through the populist media,
the typical narrative involves a cast of rent-seeking bureaucrats,
closet socialists and elites, now joined by the scientific academies
of the world in their plot to sabotage the wheels of industry.
The ideological rearguard has been bolstered by backyard lobby groups
such as the Orwellian-named ”Galileo Movement”, founded by two
retirees – an industrial hygienist and an engineer – in order to
confront the falsehoods of what it calls “post normal science” and
cater for those who “in their gut sense that climate change is
natural”. The movement boasts Alan Jones as its patron.
The literature of such groups makes clear the objective to restore the
integrity of science is secondary to a desire to reassert order and
control in the face of uncertainty and change…. Today’s Galileos are
the scientists, not those who vilify them.

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March 19, 2012 - Posted by | General News

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