Saturday 10th October, 2015 Australia/Sydney

Australian Conservative

Better to adapt to climate change than impoverish the world, Nick Minchin says

Nick Minchin
(Photo: Australian Conservative.)

There is a real risk that we’ll waste billions of dollars and potentially increase poverty around the world through “vain efforts” to try to stop or reduce carbon dioxide emissions, former South Australian Liberal senator Nick Minchin told ABC TV’s News Breakfast today.

“I’ve always believed that adaptation to climate change is what human society should be focusing on.

“I’m one who does agree with someone like Bjorn Lomborg that we need to put a lot of effort into really good research and development into alternative energy so that one day there will be a transition from fossil fuels to other sources of energy, but let’s make sure we do that in an effective, a cost-effective way that is not going to impoverish people all over the world.

“And I also think frankly that – and I hope the green movement might come to this point – that we ought to be putting in place the regulatory regimes and safety regimes to enable the transition in countries like ours to nuclear power which is, of course, emissions free,” he said.

“One of the worries I have is that carbon dioxide has been demonised throughout this whole debate. Carbon dioxide is after all a clear, odourless gas vital to life on earth which makes up 0.038 per cent of the atmosphere. It is plant food. It is vital to life on earth. It is not a pollutant. So I would hope there would be a reassessing and a more realistic assessment of carbon dioxide, remembering that 97 per cent of the emissions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are actually natural. Only 3 per cent are human. So I just think we need to get this debate back to reality, back to the facts, and assess it more soberly.”

Nick Minchin made the comments ahead of tonight’s 8.30 pm screening of the documentary I can change your mind about .. climate on ABC1. The program will be followed by a special edition of ABC TV’s QandA.

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