Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Deliberately Deceptive or Just Plain Thick?

I'd just started thinking politicians were finally getting their heads around climate change, when one particular 'pollie' managed to show three types of ignorance in just two comments.

Australia's hottest day on record, fire of climate change denial

1. No grasp of temperature

Australia had just suffered a record-breaking heatwave, including Australia's hottest ever day. His reaction? "We have hot times, we have cold times". He seems not to understand that hot days are happening more often, and the cold days are rarer.

2. No grasp of maths (or the quantity of coal emissions)

For all the trees that were burnt in the bushfire, the emissions from coal in Australia would eclipse the bushfire in about one week. That is, the bushfire emissions are 2% of coal emissions. With no connection to this reality, the same politician decided to guess that the bushfire was greater than "decades" of carbon emissions.

3. No grasp of how trees work

If the previous comment was meant to imply that the bushfire cancels out any action on climate changes, this is bizarre. Eucalypt forest regenerates after a fire, absorbing the same amount of carbon as was burnt.

Sometimes it's difficult to tell whether a politician is deliberately deceptive or just plain thick. Sometimes it might be a combination of both.

[Heatwave exacerbated by climate change]
[Fact check: bushfires and carbon]

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