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David Suzuki accuses Tony Abbott of ‘wilful blindness’ to climate change

 
David Suzuki

David Suzuki doesn’t regret also accusing Tony Abbott of ‘criminal negligence’ over his climate policies. Photograph: David Suzuki

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “David Suzuki accuses Tony Abbott of ‘wilful blindness’ to climate change” was written by Oliver Milman, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 24th September 2013 03.08 UTC

Environmentalist David Suzuki has attacked the Coalition’s climate change policies, calling for a legal penalty to be imposed for “wilful blindness” in leaders who commit the “crime” of ignoring climate change.

Suzuki, a Canadian academic visiting Australia, told the ABC’s Q&A on Monday night that the government’s decision to disband The Climate Commission – which has since been resurrected as a privately funded body – was “very dangerous”.

“Human beings have become so powerful that we are altering the physical, chemical and biological properties of the Earth on a global scale,” he said. “In a time when we have become so powerful, how are we best making decisions for the future? I would think the best source of advice would be science.

“If we don’t listen to science, what are we going to turn to – the Bible? the Qur’an? An advertising agency? Australians are at a very critical time. You had a mechanism where science could be provided, with no commitment one way or the other, so that you could make up your own mind. By shutting that down, what does that tell you?

“I think it’s a crazy, dangerous situation if we’re going to marginalise science in favour of political priorities. I think that’s very, very dangerous.”

Suzuki said he didn’t regret comments made to the University of NSW on Saturday which accused the prime minister, Tony Abbott, of “criminal negligence” over his policies, which include the dismantling of the carbon price and scrapping various climate change agencies associated with it.

“I don’t think I went too far – what we are seeing is a crime against future generations,” he said. “There ought to be a legal position on intergenerational crime. If you stand out for a role of leadership and ignore the science on climate change, I think that’s wilful blindness.”

In Suzuki’s UNSW speech he also attacked “outrageously rich” people, such as mining magnate Gina Rinehart, for helping create a “campaign of confusion” over climate change.

“Environmentalism is a way of seeing our place within the biosphere,” he said. “That’s what the battles were fought over. The barbarians – that is, many of the politicians and corporate executives that environmentalists have been fighting all these years – are driven by a totally different set of values – by the drive for profit, for growth and for power.”

He added that Australians should be “at the ramparts” over climate change because of the impact it is already having in terms of drought and damage to the Great Barrier Reef.

“Mother Earth is giving you the signals in Australia, loud and clear,” he said.

 

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