Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard had some harsh words for global warming activists, saying they were “zealots” whose cause “has become a substitute religion.”
Howard added that the global warming issue should not allow public policy to become subservient to scientists, who are not experts at crafting laws or anticipating unintended consequences.
“Scientists are the experts in science, judges experts in interpreting the law and doctors skilled at keeping us healthy, provided we take their advice,” Howard said in a lecture at the Global Warming Policy Foundation. “But parliaments, composed of elected politicians, are the experts at policymaking and neither expressly or impliedly should they ever surrender that role to others.”
“You can never be absolutely certain that all the science is in,” he added.
Howard’s comments come after the United Nation’s climate bureaucracy released its most recent report on global warming. The report said it was 95 percent that global warming was manmade, but glossed over the fact that the planet has not warmed since 1998.
Reports also indicated that the Obama administration and several European governments actually pressured UN scientists to downplay the lack of warming or to even omit it all together.
“One has to question whether the [UN’s] approach represents in its totality pure, disinterested scientific enquiry. Because after all it was spawned by a political process,” Howard said.
Howard added that the fervor for action on global warming is dying out as contradictory evidence is casting doubt on previously held theories about mankind’s effect on the planet.
“The high tide of public support for over-zealous action on global warming has passed. My suspicion is that most people in countries like ours have settled into a state of sustained agnosticism on the issue,” Howard said.
“Of course the climate is changing. It always has,” he added. “There are mixed views not only about how sustained that warming is, seemingly it has not warmed for the last 15 years, and also the relative contributions of mankind and natural causes.”
Australia’s conservative Liberal-National Party won a landslide victory in the recent elections, in part due to its platform opposing the country’s unpopular tax on carbon dioxide emissions that was imposed in 2012 by the liberal Labor Party.
“Tony Abbott now has the great responsibility and honour of being prime minister of Australia because a little under four years ago he challenged what seemed to be a political consensus on global warming,” Howard said, adding that Abbott’s stance was “courageous.”
However, the former prime minister’s remarks were challenged by Amanda McKenzie, CEO of the Climate Council,
“Howard’s comments are out of step with 97% of climate scientists from around the world who have found through years of diligent research that climate change is a significant risk,” she said. “The earth continues to warm strongly posing serious economic, health and environmental risks for Australia.
Recently, Abbott engaged in a public debate over the causes of massive brush fires that swept New South Wales. Environmentalists, including failed U.S. presidential candidate Al Gore, attributed the fires to manmade global warming.
Abbott countered that there was no evidence that global warming caused the fires.
“Climate change is real and we should take strong action against it,” Abbott said in a radio interview. “But these fires are certainly not a function of climate change, they are just a function of life in Australia.”
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