Senator Challenges Farmers To Accept Climate Change Science

During yesterdays ‘Environment and Communications Legislation Committee (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development) Bill 2012)’, Senator Cameron challenged the head of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) over its support for science related to Coal Seam Gas (CSG) but not climate change.

Labor senator Doug Cameron questioned why the federation supported the establishment of a scientific panel.

“It grates a bit when some of your members don’t accept the science on climate change… So why do we have an acceptance on the science when it comes to this and you’ve got this massive opposition… about human-induced climate change.”

NFF vice-president Duncan Fraser responded with “It shows how democratic we are.”

Senator Cameron said his question wasn’t about democracy, it was about science. “When it comes to climate change, the science is not accepted by many in the farming community. When it comes to the issue of mining then the science is going to be accepted.”


6 Comments to “Senator Challenges Farmers To Accept Climate Change Science”

  1. 99 wrote:

    “Climate change – If I get it, it shouldn’t be impossible for others to get it.”

    —–I don’t think the problem is difficult to grok at the intellectual level. It’s rather straightforward: By extracting the fossil fuels form where they’ve laid under the Earth’s surface for millions of years, combusting them and sending the byproducts into the atmosphere, global climate conditions are being changed as a consequence.

    It’s all been made very “contentious” by the propaganda onslaught of the conservative poltical-media-lobbyist noise machine. When it comes to “contentious” matters, it’s human nature for many (I guess) to want to default to the simplistic nay-saying slogans, as an easy way out of giving serious thought to the implications of a many-faceted problem.

    Perhaps for some, the difficulty also is emotionally accepting it. I mean, everyone nowadays knows what “pollution” is. It’s a reality that’s not contentious. Pollution is commonly perceived to have mostly asthetic disadvantages – it looks bad, it smells bad, etc. The problem with atmospheric emissions pollution is that the consequences go deeper than the asthetic. It’s causing the climate to alter, disastrous weather ‘events’ are becoming more frequent, it’s likely to lead to food insecurity, massive refugee movements etc.

    Then when it’s emphasised that all this is arising as a result of human activity – that means the things WE do and the lifestyle WE lead – well, it all hits a little too close to home. WE’RE causing it, and it’s going to affect US. It must be awfully tempting to just shut down on this one, “stop the merry-go-round and let me off”, and go into denial as a coping measure.

    • John Howard was always banging on about our athletes punching above their weight at Games, and poured millions of our taxdollars into sport. So if we hadve started 10 years ago, even reducing carbon emissions by 1% a year, we could be punching above our weight at saving the planet… unfortunately there are no gold medals or photo ops with fit young athletes for that

      -99 for Turn Left

  2. Methane is a stronger greenhouse gas than CO2 and the frackers poor management of gas leakage is the biggest issue. I’m not averse to CSG per se, but certainly to the poor management practices of the frackers. They can all go and get ‘fracked’ until they can show that they will be responsible extractors.
    PS: I find ‘frack’ and it’s derivatives, such a delightfully useful word!

    • We are trading our food and water futures for a temporary profit. As Tony Windsor said, when told there was enough gas in NSW to last 5000 years, he said, then whats the rush?

      and at that Senate committee yesterday Mary Jo Fisher was like: so if we put the science aside, what do you actually object to about CSG? this is how the LNP think, yeah, apart from the fact that it won’t be her house, and will ruin the water, the farms, the soil, yeah, apart from that

      yes, frack, as both a substitute for other ‘f-words’ and for what fracking actually is

      -99 for Turn Left

  3. Most farmers are by nature conservative and resistant to change. Resistance to change entails being resistant to adopting new ways of thinking about the world around them.

    In the scientific community the problem of human-influenced climate change has been acknowledged and discussed for decades. But it’s only in the last, say, five or six years that the problem has started to be talked about in “the mainstream” / lay community.

    It’s unfortunate, but true, in my view, that it is going to need more than this amount of time for a “new” concept such as this to be accepted by the majority of the population. And out of the population, conservatives, by nature, are likely to be among the last / slowest to accept it.

    The “debate” (if you can call it that) is primarily shaped by the mainstream media, which, as we know, in Australia is among the most conservative of any democracy on Earth. For example, the hate-jocks of talkback radio have an influence beyond their gumption, with their anti-progressive propaganda going out daily to a nationwide audience, unmet with any competition whatsoever from the other side of the “debate”.

    Reactionaries such as Abbott and Barnaby Joyce are obstacles in the path of progress at every turn. They traverse the countryside for their living, scaring the shit out of credulous unsophisticated folk with denial and sensationalist one-liners about Great Big Taxes and Climate Change Hoaxes.

    It is going to be a long, uphill battle to have the issue commonly accepted, making the situation more disturbing for those who so see the urgency to slow down and ultimately halt carbon emissions.

    It’s a dastardly situation, indeed. And the irony is, of all industry sectors, farmers have among the most at stake.

    It’s impossible to tell with certainty what is going to happen in the future. But I’ve a feeling, in time to come, people will look back on this period that we’re living in, and judge harshly the stupidity and short-sightedness that were rife.

    • I am a farmer, I live in a farming and livestock town (am also a vegan, blah can the media learn the word “pastoralists”), I rely on the soil, water, sun, clouds, air. The recent weather has had a huge impact on my income. The result of these unusual weather systems is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Bob Katter says in 3 years we will be a net importer of food, while Dr Craig Emerson says we need to open our farmland up to more investment (which usually means selling to overseas investors, who are often front companies for mining or CSG or for them to export to their own countries). Talking about issues of climate change in 20-50 or 100 years is going to be a moot point if your farm gets fracked and you won’t even own it in twelve months.

      Climate change – If I get it, it shouldn’t be impossible for others to get it.
      Thanks for another brilliant comment

      -99 for Turn Left

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