More than half of federal Liberal MPs ‘don’t trust’ climate science: think tank

More than half of federal Liberal MPs ‘don’t trust’ climate science: think tank, by Aaron Patrick.

The majority of federal Liberal MPs are not convinced the science behind climate change is settled and support reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases for political reasons, according to an prominent conservative think tank.

John Roskam, the executive director of the Melbourne-based Institute of Public Affairs, said he hadn’t conducted a formal count but found most Liberal politicians shared his doubts about what many experts say is the greatest global threat to mankind.

“More than 50 per cent are solid sceptics and more than 50 per cent feel they need to be seen to do something,” he said in an interview. “The science is not settled.” …

Many right-wing politicians, commentators and voters aren’t convinced the scientists are correct, or suspect the consequences of global warming are being exaggerated for ideological or economic reasons. Some Liberals unenthusiastically support climate change policies in the hope scientific opinion will shift in future years, Mr Roskam said. …

One senior Liberal Party official, who is not a climate sceptic, said Mr Roskam’s 50 per cent estimate was probably too high. He put the true figure at 25 per cent, and said the sceptics were mostly Liberals from suburban, regional and country electorates.

Mr Roskam said 90 per cent of Nationals MPs were probably sceptics too. A spokesman for Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce didn’t respond to a request for comment. …

The split within the Liberal Party is illustrated by its own think tank, the Menzies Research Centre. Executive director Nick Cater is a climate sceptic and vociferous critic of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body established to provide an objective assessment of global warming.

“The IPCC is a serial embellisher,” Mr Cater wrote in The Spectator in 2015. “It never passes by a chance to inflate, embroider or lay it on thick.

“In such a climate of uncertainty, scepticism is the only rational response.”