Climate conspiracy gets hold of Senate as Coalition attacks coal opponents

Australia’s federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg has attacked “latte-sipping” opponents of coal mining in a day at Parliament that also featured vigorous debate questioning climate science in the Senate.

Asked during question time by Greens MP Adam Bandt about a US government report that warned of a 1.5m rise in sea levels by 2050 if greenhouse emissions continued at current levels, Frydenberg responded by claiming Australia had an “ambitious” climate target for 2030 and had been praised “for innovation” at the recent talks in Marrakech

“It it is okay for the member for Melbourne to put his sandals up on the seat, sip his soy latte, sit in the streets of Brunswick and say that it is the end of coal,” but coal would continue to be part of the mix for decades to come, Frydenberg said.

In the Senate, One Nation senator and climate conspiracy theorist Malcolm Roberts managed to have one hour set aside to debate the science of climate change as a “matter of public importance.”

Roberts also attacked renewable energy in South Australia (which, incidentally, has not stopped the state having the highest levels of business confidence in Australia), and invited Australian law makers to “form a conga line” behind Trump’s proposal to open up more federal lands to oil and gas drilling and eliminate environmental regulations.

Fellow One Nation senator and former apprentice boiler-maker Brian Burston joined the chorus, referring to the UN climate conspiracy and claims Trump’s election had “punctured forever” the “fantasy” of global action.

“Even if we were to shut down the whole country, with not so much as a wood fire to warm ourselves in our caves, the difference this would make to the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide would be entirely counteracted by the rest of the world’s action in a matter of months,” said Burston, who lives in a place called Coal Point.

Another cross-bencher, Senator Jacqui Lambie joined in too, accusing the Greens of being “deniers of natural climate change”, which she insisted was caused by “variations in the earth’s orbit around the sun”, which could move the “average world temperature rose about five degrees very quickly to around 19 degrees.”

And she’s not a fan of renewables. “The scientific record shows that no amount of windmills, solar panels, renewable energy targets or Australian pensioners paying over-the-top prices for their electricity will stop the earth’s temperature heating up by another four or five degrees if that is what natural cycles dictate,” Lambie said.

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Giles Parkinson