Quantcast

Australia’s Natural Disaster Minister Denies Climate Science One Day, Believes in It the Next

Climate
Natural Disaster Minister David Littleproud at Parliament House on Sept. 11 in Canberra, Australia. Tracey Nearmy / Getty Images

While more than 130 wildfires are raging across two states in eastern Australia — Queensland and New South Wales — at an unusually early part of the spring, taxing the water supplies of the drought-stricken country, the country's federal appointee for handling disasters expressed doubts that humans are causing the climate crisis. Then, the next day he made a head scratching about face and said he believes in climate science and always has, according to the Guardian.


David Littleproud, the Australian minister for water resources, drought, rural finance, natural disaster and emergency management, told the Guardian Australia on Tuesday, "I don't know if climate-change is man made."

His skepticism of the link between human activity and the climate crisis was supported by fellow members of the National Party, including the Environment Minister, Sussan Ley.

She was asked by Australia Broadcasting Company radio about Littleproud's comments.

"We have always lived on a continent which has been ravaged by fires, I am not going to become an expert on what is causing the fires," she said, as the Guardian reported."I am sure it is related to climate change, to what degree and under what circumstances, and what actions we could be taking, there is a whole range of other conversations around that."

When asked whether human-induced climate change is making bushfires more intense, Littleproud replied: "We're adapting to it as the climate continues to change and we'll continue to equip our service workers … Whether it's manmade or not is irrelevant."

And when Sky News broached the subject later in the day, Littleproud doubled down on his stance when asked if climate-change is man made, he replied, "I have no idea, but does it really matter? I am not a scientist. I haven't made an opinion one way or the other, but I don't think it really matters."

His skepticism of the link between human activity and the climate crisis was supported by fellow members of the National Party, including the Environment Minister, Sussan Ley.

She was asked by the Australia Broadcasting Company about Littleproud's comments.

"We have always lived on a continent which has been ravaged by fires, I am not going to become an expert on what is causing the fires," she said, as the Guardian reported. "I am sure it is related to climate change, to what degree and under what circumstances, and what actions we could be taking, there is a whole range of other conversations around that."

Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Resources Joel Fitzgibbon said that Littleproud's position distorted reality.

"The climate is changing and human activity is making a contribution so it's pretty hard to expect any meaningful action from a government when the person in charge of drought strategy is a climate change denier," he said, as SBS News reported.

Then, on Wednesday, in a dizzying reversal, Littleproud touted his humble roots and little education.

"I accept the science on manmade impact on climate change. Always have," said Littleproud in Parliament, as the Guardian reported. "I accept the science. I'm just a poor humble bloke with a year 12 education but I'm prepared to accept, prepared to accept what our scientists are telling us – it's as simple as that."

The opposition Green Party seized on Littleproud's comments, accusing him of ignoring the concerns of emergency services leaders who have warned that climate change is a major contributor to the spike in the frequency and the severity of contribution to fires.

Littleproud, for his part, has maintained that the response to the emergencies is what matters.

"Obviously the climate is changing we can't run away from that," he said to Sky News, as SBS News reported. "[W]e've got to continue to adapt our emergency services and our communities to adapt with it to keep them safe. What we should be proud of is that not one person has lost their life in this."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Fresno, California, seen above, is receiving $66 million for walking trails, sidewalks, bike lanes, and more. DenisTangneyJr / iStock / Getty Images

Grecia Elenes grew up in Fresno, California. She says some parts of the city have been neglected for decades. When she moved back after college she realized nothing has changed.

Read More
People are seen embracing at Numeralla Rural Fire Brigade near the scene of a water tanker plane crash on Jan. 23 in Cooma, Australia. Three American firefighters have have died after their C-130 water tanker plane crashed while battling a bushfire near Cooma in southern NSW this afternoon. Jenny Evans / Getty Images

Three U.S. firefighters gave their lives battling Australia's historic wildfires Thursday when their airborne water tanker crashed.

Read More
Sponsored
The Doomsday Clock is now at 100 seconds to midnight. EVA HAMBACH / AFP via Getty Images
The Doomsday Clock is now 100 seconds to midnight, partly because of the climate crisis.
Read More
A new report spotlights a U.N. estimate that at least 275 million people rely on healthy coral reefs. A sea turtle near the Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef is seen above. THE OCEAN AGENCY / XL CATLIN SEAVIEW SURVEY

By Jessica Corbett

In a new report about how the world's coral reefs face "the combined threats of climate change, pollution, and overfishing" — endangering the future of marine biodiversity — a London-based nonprofit calls for greater global efforts to end the climate crisis and ensure the survival of these vital underwater ecosystems.

Read More
Half of the extracted resources used were sand, clay, gravel and cement, seen above, for building, along with the other minerals that produce fertilizer. Cavan Images / Cavan / Getty Images

The world is using up more and more resources and global recycling is falling. That's the grim takeaway from a new report by the Circle Economy think tank, which found that the world used up more than 110 billion tons, or 100.6 billion metric tons, of natural resources, as Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

Read More