National MP and former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce has claimed that “most will die from starvation” when the “next ice age” arrives, in a bizarre Facebook rant that demonstrates climate change denial is well and truly alive amongst the Coalition ranks.
The former deputy prime minister has been relegated to the government backbenches following a litany of scandals, with included an affair with a staffer and his disqualification from parliament due to New Zealand citizenship.
Joyce has used his relegation as an opportunity to unload further his opinions about a range of matters, including his belief that the world is destined to experience another ‘ice-age' in the near future.
“One of the few graces of being on the backbench is you can be honest with what your views really are,”Joyce said on his Facebook page
“I believe this is one of the greatest policy phantoms, the misguided and quite ludicrous proposition that Australia can have any affect [sic] on the climate. If we could we should be the first to make it rain and, more importantly, stop the recurrence of an ice age anytime in the coming millennium.”
Joyce's rant appears to be motivated by an opinion piece that appeared in The Australian newspaper by New Zealand geologist David Shelley, further highlighting
the merry-go-round of ideas between the Murdoch media and the Coalition parties.
Shelley is a former geologist from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, but whose research appears to have little involvement with climate change research.
In the piece, Shelley refers to the prospect of a catastrophic correction within the environment, seeing human activity balanced out by some form of “dynamic equilibrium.”
“To assert that today's temperatures are record highs is mischief-making of the highest order. Earth has been much hotter (up to 10C hotter) for the vast majority of geological time. Jurassic Park [sic] was very hot, and when the dinosaurs suddenly died out 65 million years ago, the succeeding age of mammals was similarly very hot,” Shelley said in the Australian.
“All this is not to say that there is nothing to be alarmed about. Humans have changed and often overwhelmed the environment (most living things try to do exactly the same, but are restrained by some form of dynamic equilibrium). If we want our civilisation to survive, it is imperative that we manage finite resources (including fossil fuels) more carefully.”
Joyce seemed to relish the apparent doomed fact of human civilisation, stating that the Government is powerless to stop the devastation from climate events.
“When the ice age does arrive temperatures will drop around ten degrees. A warmer planet will be a disconsolate chronicle and many, maybe most, will die from starvation as is the usual experience of man or beast in previous ice ages.” Joyce said.
“The weather is going to brutally win the population problem and the parliament of Australia has no power against it.”
It's not the first time that Joyce has aired his opinions about climate change policy, in 2017, while still the deputy prime minister, Joyce issued a call to arms against a “green peril”
during an interview with ABC's Insiders program.
Joyce again echoed these opinions in his latest Facebook rant.
“Maybe it is over cynical but I believe the promotion of the primacy of the state over the individual is very well served by the apparent necessity of climate policy.”
Private property rights are removed, by the implementation of vegetation laws, because of 'climate action'. The state will limit your access to electricity because of 'climate action'. You will drive an electric car because of 'climate action'. You will divest the nation of its largest export because of 'climate action'.”
It might be suggested that people will drive electric cars because they are genuinely fun to drive, as former Formula One driver Mark Webber testified at the Goodwood Festival of Speed earlier in the week.
Joyce's rant at least came with a touch of self-awareness.
“No doubt I will be accused of not knowing what I am talking about, and when it comes to predicting the weather more than a fortnight or so out, that is true,” Joyce concluded.
Ultimately, it shows that these views are still well and truly a present influence in the Coalition party room.
Despite former prime minister Tony Abbott losing his seat at the election in May, who has been one of the primary agitators against action on climate change within the government, the likes of Joyce and Craig Kelly are still within the party room. And Kelly is making such posts on nearly an hourly basis on his Facebook page.
The ranks of the climate change deniers may even have been bolstered within the coalition, with Queensland sending LNP senator, and open climate change denier Gerard Rennick to parliament for a six-year term
Michael Mazengarb is a journalist with RenewEconomy, based in Sydney. Before joining RenewEconomy, Michael worked in the renewable energy sector for more than a decade.