Here are the Coalition members still denying a need for action on climate change

Matt Canavan and Barnaby Joyce are some of the most outspoken climate change sceptics in the Coalition.

Matt Canavan and Barnaby Joyce are some of the most outspoken climate change sceptics in the Coalition. Photos: AAP/Getty

The Coalition is home to a handful of powerful opponents to action on climate change, who are helping to hold Australia back from meaningful action.

Now, in Australian politics, there are not many issues as divisive as climate change.

As science again confirms the world is warming faster than anticipated, bringing with it catastrophic effects that will ripple across the planet, there is growing pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to act.

In the aftermath of a damning climate report, on Tuesday the Prime Minister launched into defensive mode and deflected blame to China – despite the fact Australia performs far worse than China when CO2 emissions per person are considered.

Previously Mr Morrison has insisted there is “no dispute in this country about the issue of climate change, globally, and its effect on global weather patterns”.

Some of the world’s best scientists, including the Climate Council’s Lesley Hughes, have said the world can avoid catastrophic climate change if our politics allow it. 

“It’s one thing to be geophysically possible, it’s another thing to be politically possible,” Professor Hughes said on Monday.

One key driver of the Coalition’s stance on climate change is the fact some members are still sceptical of the science, using their political might to put a stop to action and progress.

Here is a guide to who they are and what they have said.

Climate change deniers in the Coalition

Barnaby Joyce rules out climate change action

Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce made his thoughts on climate action pretty clear. Photo: Getty

Barnaby Joyce

Perhaps the most powerful opponent of action on climate change  in the Australian Parliament is Deputy PM and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce.

He has said there is “zero” chance of the Nationals backing a net-zero commitment before the Glasgow climate summit in November without seeing “a menu”.

A video he posted in Facebook in 2019 really sums up his attitude.

“I believe this is one of the greatest policy phantoms, the misguided and quite ludicrous proposition that Australia can have any effect on the climate,” he said.

“If we could, we should be the first to make it rain and, more importantly, stop the recurrence of an ice age any time in the coming millennium.”

Matt Canavan denies the science. Photo: AAP

Matt Canavan

Senator Matt Canavan is a notorious opponent of climate action and has said he would cross the floor to vote against a policy of net-zero emissions.

He is a huge advocate for the coal industry – one of the major drivers of climate change.

In June he tweeted a headline to an article about cold snap with the words “climate change”.

But as the recent IPPC report confirms, the reality is record-breaking cold weather is becoming less common.

That doesn’t mean Australians won’t still experience a winter storm.

Dawson MP George Christensen will embark on a fourth term in Canberra. Photo: AAP

Dawson MP George Christensen denies the science. Photo: AAP

George Christensen

George Christensen was a vocal critic of the link between the 2019-20 bushfire season and climate change.

He repeatedly pointed to debunked theories that arson was to blame.

Mr Christensen said in a Facebook post at the time that the cause of the fires was “certainly” man made, but “it’s just not man-made climate change. It’s man-made arson that, to me, almost borders on terrorism”.

Gerard Rennick denies the science. Photo: AAP

Gerard Rennick

Queensland Senator Gerard Rennick made headlines during the 2019 election for accusing the Bureau of Meteorology of rewriting records to suit a “global warming agenda”.

“Rewriting weather records to fit in with the global warming agenda! Our public servants are out of control,” he posted on Facebook along with a link to an article from The Spectator magazine.

“The Bureau of Meteorology should not be fudging records to perpetuate global warming hysteria,” he wrote in another.

craig kelly

MP Craig Kelly denies the science. Photo: AAP

Special mention: Craig Kelly

In February the Liberals lost their then-loudest climate change denying voice when Craig Kelly quit the party and moved to the crossbench, after he continued to spread misinformation about COVID-19 via social media.

He also likes to air his thoughts on the environment on social media – or at least he did, before he was banned.

In a Facebook post made in December, Mr Kelly declared it to be “the year of cooling”, saying incorrectly the average global temperature had fallen 0.5 per cent in 2020.

On February 1 he posted: “Mindless Climate Alarmism is causing untold damage to children’s mental health. Children need the truth; that their generation is the safest ever in all human history from climate disasters – THANKS to fossil fuels.”

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