OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has gone one step further from being a climate change sceptic and has questioned if the world is warming. The comments were seized upon by Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, who will arrive in Copenhagen today for climate change talks that aim to set the foundations for cuts to global greenhouse gas emissions. It comes as the US Environmental Protection Agency plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions because they "threaten the public health and welfare of the American people".
When Mr Abbott seized the Liberal leadership from Malcolm Turnbull last week he rejected criticisms that he was a climate change denier, but said he was sceptical about what level mankind had contributed to the problem. His position yesterday raised further questions about his intentions to address climate change. "Notwithstanding the dramatic increases in man-made CO2 emissions over the last decade, the world's warming has stopped," he told Macquarie Radio.
Senator Wong, who has been accused of not giving enough funds to helping the Torres Strait cope with climate change, hit out at Mr Abbott. "He is out there publicly talking about the world cooling when we have so many world leaders ... going to Copenhagen because they are concerned about climate change," she said. ["World leaders" matter more than the facts? She is a pure apparatchik] "We see Mr Abbott talking about the globe cooling as the rest of the world is trying to work its way to tackling climate change."
A gobsmacked Greens Leader Bob Brown said Mr Abbott's comments would alienate conservatives. "In a world where both big and small business understand the science of climate change and the need for appropriate action," Senator Brown said.
It comes as Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt has said tackling climate change would come at a cost. Mr Abbott has guaranteed there will not be any taxes, either "by stealth" or otherwise to mitigate the problem. "There are no cost-free options, but there are dramatically lower cost options," Mr Hunt said. "The Government picked the highest cost of all the major mechanisms (through its carbon pollution reduction scheme)."
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