Who doesn’t believe in climate change these days?
The evidence is irrefutable. Our carbon emissions are heating and harming the planet, and us.
It’s why Bill Gates is spraying chalk in space in a wild bid to deflect radiation and cool the planet.
Why James Murdoch, who quit the News Corp board – accusing his family’s media empire of climate denialism – sits on the board of Tesla.
Why WA mining giant Andrew Forrest is embracing renewables, planning to become a supplier of green energy and hydrogen. And Europe’s major oil and gas companies are streaming past their US rivals in the quest to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
Though 92 per cent of Australians now believe man-induced climate change exists, it’s the remaining eight percent of active deniers that has our best known scientist, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, incensed.
“In January last year, Sydney was the hottest place on earth – 48. 9 degrees Celsius. The Great Barrier Reef, which had zero mass coral bleachings before 1960, has had three massive coral bleachings since 2016!” Dr Karl exclaims.
Who are these disbelievers, who despite all evidence to the contrary, not only ignore all the climatologists, but actively try to discredit them?
Yes, there are still those who insist our terrible bush fires last summer, increased floods, and temperature extremes are just a whim of Mother Nature. (The 1, 600 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide we’ve spewed into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution has nothing to do with the problem, OK?!)
It won’t surprise anyone to know that the vocal minority aren’t scientists.
Rather, they’re generally wealthy, influential folk who profit enormously from the fossil fuel industry, whose voice is too often steering the narrative in our major newspapers, and who have inordinate influence on our lacklustre, wimpy politicians. The kind of politicians who would hug a lump of coal in that racy place known as Parliament.
Dr Karl says a staggering billion dollars a year is spent by the fossil fuel industry “trying to deny and discredit global warming.”
It frustrates him immensely that after three decades, Australian politicians are still doing little to fight climate change. (Of course, here in WA ousted Liberal leader Zak Kirkup wanted to close coal-fired power stations by 2025 and embrace renewables, creating jobs in the process, but instead of being lauded by colleagues and local business leaders, he was shot down in flames.)
According to Dr Karl, only three per cent of the population globally actively denies the science of Climate Change, compared to eight per cent here. “In Australia, many sections of the media give more coverage to lies or half-truths about Climate Change than to the full truth,” he says.
Other countries are well ahead of us in embracing a future that involves less greenhouse emissions. “Europeans are investing far more in renewable energy, battery storage, electric-vehicle charging points, carbon-capture technology and other decarbonization efforts, “says Jonas Rooze, head of sustainability research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
At last, thankfully it appears the days of heeding the climate denier, that bleating layman who always know better than any climatologist, are numbered.
“Despite the firehose of disinformation, clearly the public is not as gullible as some media and politicians would like to believe,” says Dr Karl.
Dr Karl first began talking about climate change back in 1981, ( for Triple J youth radio.) “Back then, the evidence had been building up for more than 20 years. About a decade later, the climate scientists finally agreed that Climate Change was happening – and that we humans were causing it.”
The corporate cover-up began in the 1990s, he tells The Starfish.
Prior to that, some major fossil fuel companies were showing signs of behaving like responsible corporate citizens.
By 1980, Exxon had actually assembled a team of climate exports pooling their research into climate science. “The company even employed a leading climate expert wth NASA, Dr James Hensen, to help them understand what was then still called the Greenhouse Effect.”
But a decade on, Exxon and friends had changed their tune, big time.
“By around 1990, Big Fossil Fuel had changed its goals with regards to climate science,” he says, “ Instead, they formed a political lobby group that worked behind the scenes. Its objective was to deny and discredit global warming.”
He adds, “From stating in 1978, that there was ‘general scientific agreement’ about Climate Change, by 1997, Big Fossil Fuel’s position shifted to the false claim that ‘scientific evidence is inconclusive.’”
Now why would that be, we wonder?
(Whenever somethings stinks, just follow the money, and the answer Is right there…)
Dr Karl has just written a fabulous book summarising what everyone needs to know about climate change.
Dr Karl’s Little Book of Climate Change Science explains the science of climate change, and how we can fix it.
(It includes information about carbon emissions by sector:
About 30 per cent of global Greenhouse Gas emissions come from electricity and heat. Another 16 per cent comes from burning fossil fuels to power transport, including road transport (around 75 per cent of overall transport emissions) air, shipping and rail. Mining and construction accounts for another 12 per cent of Greenhouse Gas emissions and growing and burning crops and rearing farm animals, another 12 per cent. Land clearing and the timber industry cause around six per cent of emissions. )
“The good news is we can stop, and in fact reverse, global warming,” he says. “My book looks at how to fix the way we do things in some of the various sectors, so we can cut emissions fast.”
Meantime, he says, the best way every Australian can make a difference is with our money and our vote.
He urges us to put our superannuation and other investments into renewables and ethical companies – and to vote out our current crop of politicians. “Vote for the independents who are worried about climate change and who genuinely want to do something about it.”
So would he run for parliament?
“I’m thinking about it,” Dr Karl admits. “I did it once before – back in 2007 – but I didn’t get in!”
But he’s considering another tilt at running for the Senate.
After all, back in 2014 a Reader’s Digest poll declared him ninth most trusted person in Australia.
When it all boils down to it, who would you rather believe, a well-heeled and wealthy climate change denier? Or a scientist, one of those hard-working academics who earns way less than those making money out of Big Fossil Fuel? Really, what would motivate them to make up a bunch of lies about climate change?
Outrageously, we taxpayers are even subsidising the fossil fuel industry. “ You and I each pay $2300 to Big Fossil Fuel in Australia. So does every single Australian,” volunteers Dr Karl at the end of our interview. What?
If that isn’t reason enough to vote number one Dr Karl, what is?
Meantime, his book, Dr Karl’s Little Book of Climate Change Science (ABC Books) is out now.
We have three copies of Dr Karl’s Little Book of Climate Change Science to give away to Starfish readers.
To win, just be a Starfish subscriber (if you haven’t yet signed up, now’s the time, it’s free!)
Then email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) telling us in a sentence why you’d like to win the book, and include your postal address in case you win. Good luck!