Australia

Liberal MP Jim Molan heckled on Q&A over climate change comments

Senator Jim Molan on ABC's QandA show. Source: ABC

The Liberal senator was responding to audience questions from community members of the fire-affected NSW city of Queanbeyan.

New South Wales Liberal senator Jim Molan has been heckled by members of the ABC's Q&A audience when questioned about the basis for his doubts about human-induced climate change. 

Asked whether he believed the scientific consensus of climate change, Senator Molan said he is keeping an "open mind" but does have doubts.

"I respect very much respect scientific opinion but every day across my desk comes enough information for me to say that there are other opinions,"  Senator Molan said.

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Asked to clarify exactly what information he is relying upon, he admitted: "I'm not relying on evidence". 

He said his view did not change the need for the government to respond and adapt. 

"This is why my mind is open. I would love to be convinced one way or the other.

"But to be prudent what the government is doing is it's got a climate, an emissions reduction policy. And it is a good policy. And it will mitigate risk to the maximum that it can and where risk cannot be mitigated, it will adapt. And that's what we've got to work on."

The interaction occurred after renowned US climate scientist Michael Mann confirmed the scientific consensus on human-induced climate change.

"Every scientific institution in the world that's weighed in on this matter, climate change is real," he said moments before Senator Molan said he was not entirely persuaded that the "science is settled" on the matter.

"It's human-caused. It's already leading to disastrous impacts here in Australia and around the rest of the world. And it will get much worse if we don't act," Professor Mann said.

Senator Molan's response was slammed by social media users, who were quick to attack the government's climate change policy.

Others used the interaction to warn Labor to think about its climate change policies.

Nobel laureate and immunologist Peter Doherty suggested Professor Molan speak personally with climate scientists at the Australian National University.

This bushfire season has burnt nearly 12 million hectares of land across the country. Thirty-three people have died and more than 2,700 homes lost. An estimated 1 billion animals have been killed.

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