Day today railed against the Paris climate summit, which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has attended and to which Premier Jay Weatherill jetted off last night, calling the conference “an absolute total waste of time and money”.
InDaily revealed yesterday Weatherill would take with him a strategy to encourage $10 billion worth of investment in low-carbon energy generation, but Day was unimpressed.
“You know, to call carbon dioxide pollution is just absolutely ridiculous and unscientific and if South Australia’s not bankrupt by the time it wants to introduce these kinds of renewable energy targets, it certainly will be if it introduces that sort of policy,” he told ABC891.
He insisted “there hasn’t been any global warming for 18 years” and “before that it was global cooling”.
“There is no evidence whatsoever that carbon dioxide is influencing the climate … none at all,” he said, prompting fellow radio guest Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young to exclaim: “Wow.”
But Day continued undeterred, saying: “You know, for 35 years as carbon dioxide was increasing in the 1940s and ‘50s and ‘60s and ‘70s there was global cooling.”
“What causes climate change – and the Earth’s climate changes all the time – it’s caused by the sun’s activity, not man’s activity,” he said.
“There hasn’t been any global warming as we know for 18 years.”
Day pressed his credentials, having “got to study science at school and after school”, and insisted “the majority of scientists do not agree” with the theory that the earth was getting hotter.
But scientist Ben Heard, director of Think Climate Consulting, begged to differ, telling InDaily Day’s claim was “beyond incorrect, it is absurd”.
“The year 2015 is not only on track to be the hottest year on record, it is likely to break that record by a large margin,” he said.
“And the previous hottest year was 2014.”
On Day’s suggestion that the sun, rather than man, caused climate change, Heard said: “The warming characteristic of carbon-dioxide is centuries-old science.”
“One of the principal tasks of climate change science has been to discern the drivers of temperature change over different time-scales, and to test the evidence for signals of human influence,” he said.
“It is unequivocally the case that the recent, very pronounced global warming bears a strong human signature, and that the biggest force is our emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases … there is no other plausible explanation for the temperature data.
“There is no debate on that issue and to hinge an argument on this is bordering on delusional.”
However, Heard – a passionate nuclear advocate – had a broadside for Hanson-Young’s party as well, saying: “As long as Senator Hanson-Young and her party colleagues are interested in science, they would do well to take direction from the International Panel on Climate Change and (other) climate science gurus (who) make it clear that renewables alone are insufficient.”
“This challenge demands rapid expansion of all zero-carbon energy sources, including nuclear energy,” said Heard.
“To talk of leaving coal in the ground while arguing against nuclear is as delusional on energy as Senator Day is on climate science.”
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