Thus far the question-time debate around the government’s proposed carbon tax hasn’t touched on the actual science of climate change. Going by the current political dialogue in the US, that may not be such a bad thing.

Dr Andrew Glikson wrote on our environment blog Rooted last week:

The US House of Representatives voted to eliminate US funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Republican majority, on a mostly party-line vote of 244-179, went on record as essentially saying that it no longer wishes to have the IPCC prepare its comprehensive international climate science assessments.

Glikson lists some of the “internet science” that informed the decision, including:

  • Representative Luetkemeyer (Missouri) said: “Scientists manipulated climate data, suppressed legitimate arguments in peer-reviewed journals, and researchers were asked to destroy emails, so that a small number of climate alarmists could continue to advance their environmental agenda.”
  • US Congress Representative John Shimkus (Illinois) said: “Today we have about 388 parts per million [of carbon dioxide] in the atmosphere … I think in the age of the dinosaurs, when we had most flora and fauna, we were probably at 4000 parts per million. There is a theological debate that this is a carbon-starved planet, not too much carbon.” He went on: “The earth will end only when God declares its time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood.”
  • Representative Joe Barton (Texas), who is competing for the position of chairman of the Congress Energy and Commerce Committee stated: “Wind is God’s way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it’s hotter to areas where it’s cooler. That’s what wind is. Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? …”

It’s tempting to dismiss the focus on Julia Gillard’s “framing” of the carbon tax — and climate change — conversation as frivolous. But look what happens when this complex subject isn’t communicated properly.

The loonies win.