Politics

Barnaby Joyce Says Climate Change Isn’t A Problem Because It’s Better Than Dying In An Ice Age

Barnaby Joyce is not a scientist.

Barnaby Joyce wants schools to be able to ban transgender students

Barnaby Joyce is not a scientist.

I mean, that’s obvious, but it bears repeating, particularly in Australia, where politicians treat empirical science like a simple matter of opinion. So yeah, let’s say it one more time before we get into the main body of this story: Barnaby Joyce is not a scientist. He is an Akubra hat-wearing red-faced boor who is either pretending to be ignorant of climate science so he can continue sidling up to the people who are destroying the planet, or he is so genuinely oblivious that he cannot read the (rapidly warming) room.

Case in point — over the last few days, Joyce obviously cast at least half an eye over an article in The Australian penned by New Zealand-born scientist David Shelley. Titled, ‘The Fact Is That Our Earth Has Ice In Its Veins’, the article takes up an increasingly popular argument from climate deniers: sure, the planet’s getting hotter, but that’s just a natural trend, not the result of action by human beings.

According to Shelley, sea levels will rise regardless of what humans do. More than that, Shelley reckons that we’re not that far out from an ice age that will murder us all in our beds anyway, so there’s no point worrying about fossil fuels.

Interesting coincidence, hey, that such a view allows us to sorta accept the science without halting our destruction of the environment.

Now, like the fact-denying fool that he is, Joyce has taken to his Facebook page to share his support of Shelley’s article.

In a long missive that weirdly supports the idea that climate change is inevitable and that the human race is doomed, the one-time Deputy PM argues that climate action “is one of the greatest policy phantoms”. According to him, nature is going to buck us from its shoulders with an ice age in a thousand years anyway, whether we like it or not.

“The weather is going to brutally win the population problem and the parliament of Australia has no power against it,” Joyce writes. “One may suggest that warmer weather is the better problem of the two.”

So there you have it: Barnaby Joyce reckons that burning to death is better than freezing to death, and that any policy that tries to avoid the former will be applauded by countries like the “totalitarian Chinese regime” who will follow our lead “because of our righteousness”.

No idea what any of that last part means, but hey, nice to see Joyce managed to squeeze in some baffling racism at the end there.

It’s certainly true that global climate has never been fixed in place. But it’s also true that climate change will absolutely kill us faster than the spectre of the “ice age” Joyce and Shelley are trying to conjure.

Ocean acidification, which is happening right now at a rate faster than most scientists have predicted, will make the air unbreathable long before temperatures begin to drop. And ocean acidification is under our control — it is a direct response to the amount of carbon dioxide we are pumping into the atmosphere.

That’s the writing on the wall: the opinion of many thousands of scientists, not just the ones that Joyce has cherry-picked. That he’s pretending the opposite is true while the planet is burning and many hundreds of thousands of Australians are set to lose their jobs, security and food is not ideal.