Politics: Federal Election – Meet the Climate Change Sceptics

Though not in quite the way they intend, I fear. Meet The Climate Change Sceptics – self-described as ‘The World’s First Political Party Representing Scepticism and Objectivity in Climate Policy’.

Scepticism and objectivity are big words, as anyone working in science will know. Let’s find out how objective they really are…

First, let’s look at their Senate Group Ticket, on which you will be astonished to learn that the Greens are lucky last. In fact, they favour Family First and the DLP, which is not surprising from a group that talks about ‘a Christian perspective on climate change’ (something tells me, however, that most of the Christians I know would not share this perspective). One Nation, the Liberal Democratic Party, and the Christian Democratic Party also do well, and their preferences eventually flow to the Liberals. Very much a libertarian, right-wing Christian ticket, with a side order of complete raving nutbar.

Now, to their policies.

Most of the Climate Sceptics’ detailed policies and opinions can be found in a Powerpoint which you have to download from the site. I don’t have powerpoint on my computer, so have been reading over Andrew’s shoulder – for this reason, I will have to paraphrase a bit, rather than using their own words against them; you can see the full powerpoint here, if you like.

Climate change, apparently, has not been proven. Even if it has been proven, there is no proof that it is man-made (note the shift in the argument here). And even if it is man-made… it’s a good thing, because CO2 makes plants grow better!

While I have not been able to track down a citation for the view attributed to this party that if climate change is indeed man-made, we should be encouraging it, because it will improve crops and feed the world, I would have to say that this view is consistent with what they have said elsewhere. And it’s too priceless not to comment on – but since I can’t prove they actually said it, I’m going to leave it at that (but if you do find the source of the quote, please email me and I’ll put the attribution up here).

Anyway, for this reason they oppose an Emissions Trading Scheme, and want a Royal Commission into Climate Science. I’m not sure what this will achieve, since they apparently don’t trust the science they have. They are also annoyed with government alarmism on climate change. I wish I knew which government they were talking about, because as far as I can see, it isn’t any Australian one.

This lot also appear to be rabid libertarians (interestingly, and without wishing to insult my American readers, this party feels like something that belongs in US politics – it’s big on Christianity, dubious about science, and very, very big on individual rights and keeping the government out of things. None of these are classic parts of the Australian political landscape, in my limited experience). Here’s a sample of their style:

As climate alarmism has already encouraged governments to take unprecedented actions against its own citizens, it is natural that the Climate Sceptics Party seeks to protect the fundamental property rights of all Australians—whether in the name of climate alarmism, or on the basis of other, valid grounds—and to reverse any injustices already perpetrated…

On the other hand, they do recognise that water is a huge problem, and they do want the Federal government to do something about it. Desalination and recycling are both mentioned, but they really want the government to come up with A Plan to do something about this. Really, if they are so committed to being in government, they need a plan of their own.

(a quick pause to note that I am being totally unobjective and wildly biased at this point – I *think* other parties of similar size and newness, such as the Sex Party, went into more detail on the ‘hows’ of their policies, but I can’t be sure, because this lot are annoying me so much)

They also want to reduce the risk of bushfires, but don’t say how, except that:

# Preservation of human life should always be the highest priority of any environmental policy.
# Landholders and communities should have the inalienable right to implement balanced fuel reduction measures

Incidentally, their powerpoint repeatedly talks about how humans are much more important than animals and the environment, and how other political parties (*cough*Greens*cough*) care more about trees and earthworms than about people.

They are also in favour of incentives to reward good landcare outcomes. In fact, they are very much about incentives instead of regulations for quite a number of things, and they are also rather free market. They really hate red tape, which I can understand, given that much of my job involves dealing with it, but on the other hand, I also feel that (for example) food safety regulations, however inconvenient, are rather good things to have if you plan not to poison people.

Interestingly, they do have some non-climate related policies, some of which I don’t actually hate. They are concerned about housing affordability, and want to build more satellite cities near major cities, with fast and affordable public transport. They are actually agreeing with the Greens on this, but we’d better not tell them that, because they wouldn’t like it. Of course, they also think that farming national parks should be based on ‘objective assessments’, but the criteria on which these are based are not mentioned. Oh, and speaking of public transport, they would also like to see fuel taxes going towards transportation infrastructure, which I think may include public transport, given their statements elsewhere.

The CCS want much broader, flexible, and tailored job training for people on the dole, and acknowledge that many unemployed people are learning disabled and would require more individualised training. I quite like this policy, actually. They do not support increasing the retirement age, and they do support increasing the pension – but also providing incentives for self-funded retirees. Which makes economic sense on one level, but also sounds suspiciously like giving more money to the rich, which I’m not so keen on.

They also want small political parties and Independents to get more funding and half an hour of free advertising time per party! Again, I find this very appealing (if a trifle self-serving in this case). And they want more referendae. Good for them.

So, actually, I would say that their non-environmental policies are not too bad – there are some good ones and some dodgy ones, but no worse than Family First (faint praise, I admit, but this still puts them ahead of the Shooters and Fishers, not to mention the DLP). What worries me most, other than their non-existent grasp of science (which was a given, really) is the gaps in their policies and their tendency to preference all the dodgiest right-wing parties they can find. And then talk about a Christian perspective on climate change, which often translates to ‘God told us we should inherit the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every living thing that moveth upon the earth, therefore we have no responsibility for any part of the environment except ourselves’. And they do sort of imply this around the place.

This also makes me wonder if they have cherry-picked their most appealing policies, and left the ones relating to refugees, gay marriage, healthcare, education (ie, the ones I care about, and where they are most likely to show their frightening right-wing colours) out deliberately.

Then again, this is the party that wants me to believe that the greenhouse effect is a good thing. That rather speaks for itself.

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