Tony Abbott and the ‘cult’ of climate science

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Not only is Tony Abbott discrediting himself, he seeks to discredit the International Panel on Climate Change, which consists of worldwide renowned scientists (″⁣ ‘Climate cult’ will be discredited, says Abbott″⁣, (2/11. He discredits the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who urges the world to ″⁣stop the madness″⁣ and to end the age of fossil fuel extraction, warning us about the crisis with global warming. Today this is happening in many parts of the world with extreme weather events. He also discredits the status of being a Rhodes scholar. The Liberal governments, of which he was a member, wasted a decade for not acknowledging the threat of the changing climate for political opportunism. For this they bear a great responsibility.
Judith Morrison, Nunawading

Opinion needs to be backed up with proof
Of course Tony Abbott is entitled to his opinion that some warnings of human-induced climate change are ahistorical and utterly implausible but surely if he is to ignore the overwhelming opinion of climate scientists he should advance his argument by reference to science or whatever source that he has to justify his opinion.
Peter Randles, Pascoe Vale South

The God ‘delusion’ is also in evidence
Tony Abbott says the ″⁣climate cult″⁣ will one day be discredited. How about the cult of religion and the God ″⁣delusion″⁣? Christianity has had many false dawns on the ″⁣end time″⁣ and, unlike climate change, has no evidence whatsoever to support it. Climate change is based on thermodynamics and can be measured by temperature and rainfall changes as well as impact to the natural environment such as species depletion, etc. Andrew Barnes, Ringwood

An offensive label to many
Tony Abbott’s choice of words is interesting, for it suggests that those of us who consider anthropogenic climate to be real are members of some form of cult. This is an offensive label to apply to people who have taken the time to consider the science, and are concerned about the future. Cults have a number of identifiable features and both neo-conservatism and the branch of Christianity that Mr Abbott supports exhibit these features. Yet, if I was to proclaim in a public space that these two belief systems are themselves cults the howls of protest would be loud and widespread. Mr Abbott is a politician from yesterday, rejected by his own party, and the people of his electorate. It would be better for all of us if his pronouncements were treated with the distain they deserve.
Stewart Monckton, Mont Albert

A forlorn argument mown down
Tony Abbott contends that the current climate anomalies can’t be human-induced because the climate has undergone wild fluctuations in the distant past, long before fossil fuels were extracted. Well, the colour of grass has always undergone wild fluctuations too, from vibrant green in wet periods to dull brown during droughts. So the fact that my lawn at present is a particularly unhealthy looking brown can be explained by natural variation. The Roundup I sprayed on it last week has nothing to do with it.
Geoffrey Marnell, Gardenvale

Opinion is driven by ideology
Tony Abbott’s opinion that anthropogenic climate change is “utterly implausible” is driven more by an ideology of wishful thinking and a textbook case of cognitive dissonance than the decades of converging scientific evidence. His use of historical climate change events that predate the mass global burning of fossil fuels as evidence that humans cannot possibly have any impact on the environment reveals an ignorance of causality. His subjective bias rather than objective scientific counter-argument relegates him to being entirely unconvincing.
Paul Miller, Box Hill South


Bring on the matriarchy . . .Like your correspondent (Letters, 2/11) I, too, long for a matriarchal world. One where decisions are based on reason, empathy and science. The testosterone-laden, chestbeating policies of men have caused immeasurable pain, suffering and destruction over the centuries. The men in power who make the decisions to send younger men off to war or enact policies that destroy the environment or pass legislation to entrench wealth are rarely the ones who suffer from those decisions.
Craig Jory, Albury, NSW

Except for you, Margaret
There is a two-word problem with any suggestion that having women in charge would lead to a kinder world – and that is Margaret Thatcher.
Bill Pell, Emerald

Hamas must surrender
Massive protests are calling for Israel to abandon its push into Gaza in it attempt to seek out and destroy Hamas. The tenor of these protests is for Israel to cease immediately so as not to cause the people of Gaza to suffer during the incursion. The inference then is that the only solution is for the Israeli forces to cease all military operations and go home.
I would suggest another solution is for Hamas to stop hiding behind civilians and to immediately surrender to the Israeli military, release all the hostages and let the people of Gaza go back to their lives. We all know this won’t happen.
Geoff Parker, Point Cook

No interest in two states
Your correspondent (Letters, 1/11) correctly notes that the ex-PMs were right to call for a two-state peace. However, the major impediment is not the settlements. The Palestinian leadership has refused three offers of a Palestinian state, in 2000, 2001 and 2008, that met all the criteria of the Oslo Accords. Since 2014, they have refused to talk at all.
Hamas, the initiator of this war, has no interest in two states. It only wants an Islamic state covering the whole of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. It has launched bombing campaigns whenever progress has been made towards peace, going back to the bus bombings of the mid-’90s.
It started the war now mostly because Israel was getting closer to a region-transforming peace with Saudi Arabia which is precisely what Hamas’s Iranian sponsors do not want.
Robbie Gore, Brighton East

Israel fans flames
Bravo to David Leser (Comment, 31/10) whose article resonated with my own feelings about the crisis in the Middle East. I, too, am Jewish, and just as I abhor how in Australia we have treated First Nations people, I am disgusted at the part that Israel has played in fanning the flames of discontent in the Middle East. Indeed what Hamas did in attacking Israel is terrible, however Israel must hold some responsibility for the pent-up anger that has caused the eruption in the Gaza.
Israel’s ongoing expansion onto the West Bank, is nothing less than inciteful, not to mention the terrible living conditions that the Palestinians are forced to endure every day. I feel that I have a duty to criticise Israel, when it is warranted, in the same way I criticise Australia.
Name and address supplied

Destruction Hamas goal
Why do the “Free Palestine” protesters insist on an Israeli ceasefire in Gaza but not on a similar ceasefire from Hamas? Where were these demands for peace when Hamas was murdering men, women, children and babies? Israel has every right to protect itself, including pursuing Hamas until they are no longer a threat. Few of these protesters has condemned Hamas, let alone held them responsible for the deaths in Gaza. Hamas does not want peace or to live harmoniously alongside Israel. Their goal is their destruction and the genocide of all Jews in the Middle East. Why would anyone want a ceasefire with evil?
Jeremy Browne, Ripponlea

History in decline
As a historian I spend much time explaining to those who have not studied history the context of current events – whether it be the referendum on the Voice or the Israel/Hamas war. It’s impossible for people to understand the world they live in if their historical understanding is limited.
Without historical knowledge those looking to understand current events are restricted to the immediate circumstances. Thus the proposal for an Indigenous Voice to parliament could seem to arbitrarily privilege one minority over others and the recent shocking deaths of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians might seem the result only of the Hamas atrocities on October 7, rather than the consequence of the dispossession of Palestinians since 1948. Short-sightedness necessarily flourishes without historical perspective.
It is thus deeply concerning that at a time when the complexity and seriousness of current events urgently demand our understanding, the study of history is in rapid decline. A recent study showed that the number of historians employed in universities has decreased by 31per cent since 1989. What should be a foundational discipline for an educated citizenship has been allowed to fade into obscurity. It is time federal and state governments acted to reverse this calamitous decline.
Marilyn Lake, Honorary Professorial
Fellow in History, University of Melbourne.

Golden days
Our teacher house in 1972 featured under the headline in the newspaper of the day as “Teachers living in slums”. We had an outside toilet, no laundry and no stove. The walls were all different colours depending on which public service paint was left over from other jobs. The windows and doors were unlockable. We endured regular mice entries. A very different lifestyle for a couple of city slickers. Yet, more than 50 years later, we have many happy memories of our time spent in our honeymoon cottage.
John Williams, Golden Square

Denying reality
For better or for worse, the recent referendum exposed rather than created the deep chasms that exist in the nation. Those claiming that we seem more united since the referendum are only denying reality and re-papering over those cracks.
Graeme Gardner, Reservoir

Gittins is the man
When will technocrats, Treasury officials and politicians look beyond the macro-economic statistics and see the impact of high inflation and rising interest rates on the lowest paid and millions of middle-income earners who continue to bear the brunt of the failure of neo-liberalism.
The pain and struggle for these people to support their families and pay rent or increased mortgages is well known but seemingly ignored. Government should not have to pick up the pieces when markets fail while at the same time give tax relief to high-income earners.
Policy makers, read finance columnist Ross Gittins’ articles in this newspaper for a humane view of the role of economics.
Ray Cleary, Camberwell

Driving in drearyville
As I drive around Glen Iris, Malvern and environs, I see the building of ugly, angular replacements of charming brick or weatherboard houses. These new apartments lining the streets are usually depressing colours.
We all know there is a housing shortage, and three- and four-storey apartment buildings are required to provide accommodation. But why can’t builders use award-winning architects to design attractive dwellings that take account of the style of surrounding houses, and choose colours and rooflines that blend in with the streetscape? And gardens, even if they are small, can enhance the appearance of a building with imaginative planting. Pebbles and regimented succulents don’t cut it. Let’s save our suburban environment. We don’t want it transformed into drearyville.
Elizabeth Sprigg, Glen Iris

Cast in stone
I remember Bernie Banton and his fight to get asbestos banned. I’m sure others remember him, too.
In its report, Safe Work Australia “recommends a prohibition on the use of all engineered stone, irrespective of crystalline silica content, to protect the health and safety of workers. The report was informed by stakeholder consultation, independent economic analysis, and an expert review of evidence”. Sounds like a no-brainer to me. We need to learn from the past. The lives (and future taxes) of those workers is worth more than the financial impacts of a ban on engineered stone.
Catherine Healion, Seaford

Hope restored
As an old person reading the news (I’ve given up on TV news) I wonder where our world is going. Wars, greed and climate change to name a few, seem to be leading us down a slippery path. Then something happens to dispel that idea. On a rare visit to the city, I was standing at a parking meter, bank card in hand, looking bewildered when a passerby stopped and offered to help. After pushing a few buttons, he produced and tapped his bank card to give me two hours of parking.
After a “Have good a good day”, he went on his way. Perhaps kindness, respect and generosity will be our salvation.
Kevin Opie, South Yarra

Celtic to its roots
Once visiting Dublin in October I made a crucial error saying Halloween was an American institution. It is as Irish as a glass of Guinness and the Irish are fiercely proprietary, the entire country celebrates with gusto. The roots originate from the Celtic Samhain Festival 2000-plus years ago. I stood corrected.
Susie Holt, South Yarra

A grand idea on litter
Congratulations to the Victorian Government on the introduction of a 10-cent deposit on drink containers and the establishment of refund centres. This scheme will help prevent littering and pollution. It will also engage a community of volunteers who will contribute to cleaning up the litter and reward them for their efforts. As someone, who along with 10,000 other students, campaigned in 1973 for the introduction of container deposit legislation, it is timely to reflect on the 50-year delay in the adoption of this scheme in Victoria.
Bruce McGregor, Brunswick

Recycling crime
Can I predict a new crime trend before it begins? That the new bottle and can recycle scheme will lead to people upending recycle bins and extracting bottles and cans on bin collection night. Hope I am wrong.
David Fry, Moonee Ponds


Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott has declared his hand as the last of the knuckle-dragging climate change deniers.
Reg Murray, Glen Iris

Tony Abbott isn’t worried about global warming because it means he can wear his ″⁣budgie smugglers″⁣ more often.
Robin Jensen, Castlemaine

Tony Abbott states unequivocally that the ″⁣climate cult″⁣ will be defeated. Is this the same fellow who embraced Thatcherism and extolled the virtues of Brexit?
John Bye, Elwood

Tony Abbott is still suffering from “relevance deprivation syndrome”, which was even conspicuous when he was PM.
Kevan Porter, Alphington

Human-induced climate change is “utterly implausible″⁣ to Tony Abbott, just as his religious beliefs are implausible to most people who accept proven scientific evidence.
Bernd Rieve, Brighton

Who could be surprised by Tony Abbott’s climate denial. His other well-known tenet, religion, is singularly about belief without proof.
James Turnbull, Melbourne

Tony Abbott claims that ″⁣the climate cult″⁣ will one day be defeated. If this is to be, I can only assume that it will occur when all progress in science is classified as fake news.
John Keysers, Frankston

Surely our country, which rightly condemned Hamas atrocities, equally must condemn Israel’s bombing of a refugee camp.
Kay Moulton, Surrey Hills

Your correspondent (Letters, 2/11) posited that in a matriarchal world, wars would never happen. Margaret Thatcher’s Falkland campaign would seem to belie that.
Bill Pimm, Mentone

A new study shows that dinosaurs were done in by dust. Today, mankind is likely to be done in by bulldust.
Alan Inchley, Frankston

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