Abbott told the contrarian Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) that rising carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning could be “beneficial” and compared acceptance of human-caused climate change to religion.
The GWPF, founded by former Thatcher government treasurer Lord Nigel Lawson, consistently pushes positions on climate change that fall well outside the established science.
The foundation, which claims to be bi-partisan but has accepted funding from many conservative figures, had declined requests from several specialist climate change media outlets to hear the Abbott lecture, claiming the speech “was not a media event.”
Dr. Benjamin Henley, a University of Melbourne scientist specializing in ancient climate change and climate models, who read the transcript, said: “It is precarious territory for a politician to enter the scientific boxing ring, with only a bible of conspiracy theories and misconstrued talking points in hand. His speech is full of falsehoods, miscomprehension, and basic untruths.”
Abbott lost the leadership of the conservative Liberal Party and, with it, the Prime Ministership, in September 2015 to the country’s current leader, Malcolm Turnbull.
Abbott’s public position on climate science has flip-flopped over the years. He once described the science as “absolute crap” but during office, claimed to accept the basic facts and said he took the issue seriously.
But he has also denied any link between rising temperatures and Australia’s bushfires, going against decades of research.
Abbott’s ‘Misleading’ Claims
Professor Steven Sherwood of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales refuted Abbott’s claim that climate models were wrong:
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