Backbench Coalition MPs Dennis Jensen, Jackie Kelly, Danna Vale and David Tollner have disputed the reality of anthropogenic climate change.
A consensus report, here, deals with the technology of carbon dioxide geosequestration. The dissenting minority report here accepts the quality of the main report's work on carbon sequestration but disputes its underlying hypothesis that global warming is anthropogenic.
The minority report is a strong statement that goes well beyond raising doubts about the science of warming. It claims that the evidence does not support the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming. It cites views of several global warming skeptics to support its claims and thanks these skeptics for their editorial input into the dissenting minority report.
The views of these skeptics have been discredited many times - a recent account is a recent issue of The Bulletin.
Australians are concerned about the prospects of global warming. It is an important issue of concern in the electorate. The best knowledge we have suggests that the global warming is caused by human activity creating greenhouse gases (i.e. it is anthropogenic) and further evidence suggests this issue can be addressed successfully at modest cost. Hence there is a sensible insurance argument for dealing with the effects of climate change.
The difficulty for the Coalition is that it suggests a split in its ranks that might create at best an insincere response to addressing climate change issues. In my view this is inaccurate – John Howard has repudiated the views of the four dissenters and government policy is to proceed with a carbon trading scheme. But perceptions in politics are important – that 4 out of 6 Coalition MPs on a science committee report would make this public statement is disturbing.
Let us get on with dealing with the climate change problem while continuing to research the determinants of the global climate and our climatic future. We can keep our eyes open and be prepared to entertain new theories. However the evidence so far accumulated suggests strongly that anthropogenic climatic change is occurring. We would be foolish to ignore it.