Maybe Maurice Newman was dizzy from the schadenfreude of seeing a climate scientist getting stuck in Antarctic sea ice?
Perhaps the unnatural heat from Australia’s warmest year on record was playing tricks on the brain of Tony Abbott’s top business adviser?
Maybe the documented CWM effect – the high prevalence of climate change denialism among conservative white males – is especially strong in the 75-year-old former stockbroker, banker and chair of the ABC and the ASX?
In a column published in The Australian newspaper he wrote that the “climate change establishment” (whatever that is) is intent only on “exploiting the masses and extracting more money”.
Newman wrote that the United Nations “has applied mass psychology through a compliant media” (he really did write that) to fool the world into thinking the activities of industrialised countries have changed the climate.
“The scientific delusion, the religion behind the climate crusade, is crumbling,” wrote Newman, before citing Dr Roy Spencer, a research scientist at the University of Alabama.
Maybe the juxtaposition of Dr Spencer with Newman’s claim that the climate crusade is a “religion” was accidental, given that Dr Spencer himself believes that the universe, the earth and everything on it was probably created by a god.
Some years ago, Spencer wrote that he had looked at claims in the Christian bible that “the universe and all life within it had been created by some greater intelligent Being, not by mere chance.”
Spencer concluded that the “theory of creation actually had a much better scientific basis than the theory of evolution”. He also claimed that science had “hit a brick wall in its attempt to rid itself of the need for a creator and designer”.
If Newman is worried that the judgement of people who accept climate science is clouded by faith, he might want to find a better source than a climate sceptic who told a US Senate hearing last year that there was no way that a DNA molecule could have developed “by chance” and that there was more evidence supporting the idea that life was “created” than there was for evolution.
Mr Newman could have asked Australia’s science minister about that, if only we had one.
Newman also claims scientists working with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were “implicated” in the non-scandal that became known as Climategate. He fails to note the more than half a dozen inquiries that subsequently dismissed those accusations of misconduct.
As well as routinely dismissing the entire body of climate change science as a conspiracy to earn money, Newman also likes to attack wind farms, which he claims are a “danger to human health” despite numerous reviews dismissing such claims. Newman has previously threatened to sue a landholder near where he lives over plans to build a wind farm.
Giles Parkinson, who has also written about Newman’s attacks on renewable energy, says the adviser’s outbursts on climate and energy should be seen as a proxy for Abbott’s own views, given the two are said to be meeting weekly.
But Newman is just one of a clutch of climate change sceptics which have the ear of the Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Newman says Australia has “become hostage to climate change madness”.
Now, given Australia has just experienced its warmest year on record at a time when the world – with Australia’s help – is pumping CO2 into the atmosphere at a rate not seen in at least 65 million years, I’d say he’s probably right about the “madness” part.
Just, not in the way he meant.
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