Could this one sided “climate change commission” be set up to fail ?

Former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery has been chosen to head a new climate change commission which has been set up to build community support for a carbon price.

Flannery to head climate change commission
10 Feb 2011
Former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery has been chosen to head a new climate change commission which has been set up to build community support for a carbon price.

The Federal Government-appointed Commission is made up of climate experts and has held its first meeting today.

The Government agreed to set up the commission, made up of climate experts, after dumping its election promise of a citizens’ assembly.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet says it will work independently of the Government.

“It is very important that people in the community can get access to information about climate change, about climate science, [about] what is going on internationally and also to get access to informed independent information about the measures being taken to tackle climate change – including what a carbon price is and how it may work,” he said.

“Central to that is that people in the community will have access to the people with the relevant qualifications,” he said.

“I’m delighted to take up this challenge. I think it’s a very timely one,” Mr Flannery said following the announcement.

“I will be trying to lead discussion on what climate science has to offer us … and also to lead a discussion in terms of the options.”

The other members of the panel are ANU Climate Change Institute executive director Professor Will Steffen, Australian Science Media Centre CEO Dr Susannah Eliott, former Department of Environment head Roger Beale, and Macquarie University professor Lesley Hughes.

Mr Flannery has refused to comment on the Government’s emissions reduction targets and its decision to make cuts to climate abatement programs to pay for the flood recovery.

“I don’t think it’s our role to comment on policy, but we’ll certainly be leading a discussion on how this issue may be addressed,” he said.

“That may range from adaptation issues through to a price on carbon, but there’s a big job there to just get a broader understanding in the community of the options that are before us.”

9 thoughts on “Could this one sided “climate change commission” be set up to fail ?”

  1. The centre-piece of Prof Flannery’s book, the Weather Makers was the MBH98 Hockey Stick, even though it had been disgraced before the book came out.

    Tim Flannery was also saying that the recent drought would be eternal (my words) and there was no need for flood mitigation. It will be interesting to see if the over 100% level of the (flood-mitigation) Wyvenhoe dam and the disaster calls of the Flannerys of this world come out in the Queensland enquiry.

  2. “It is very important that people in the community can get access to information about climate change, about climate science, [about] what is going on internationally..”

    With the government being totally ignorant about some very important information about climate change and what is going on internationally, what hope is there for people in our community?

    I certainly don’t go to the government to find out what is going on; they’re way too one-sided.

  3. I don’t notice any realist scientists in that line up? Are there any? If not; why have a a commission?

  4. “….a new climate change commission which has been set up to build community support for a carbon price”.

    In other words they’re worried about the growing sceptical population is my reading of Flannery’s role and the commission. What’s the bet they do a ‘roadshow’ designed to ‘re-educate’ the population who are getting bored and cynical over man made climate change. Flannery is going to be rolled out as the poster-boy (Australian of the year) for all those more simple folk who will be taken in by that, don’t understand the science, or that Flannery is not a climate expert, but will believe whatever he says.

  5. Could this one sided “climate change commission” be set up to fail?

    I don’t think so. This Climate Commission is all about promoting spin rather than substance. If Flannery were an honorable man, he would have declined the appointment as chairman of the Commissions on the grounds that he is neither a meteorologist or an astrophysicist, and he is simply not a climate expert. Unfortunately, this opportunist and modern day preacher of catastrophic man-made global warming seems to accept any appointment whether he is qualified or not to speak on the issues.

    Such people are not professionals… rather, they come over as charlatans and modern day “snake-oil salesmen”!

  6. I have just come across this list of all members and “Science Advisory Panel”

    Mr Combet said the commission’s purpose was to “inform Australia’s approach to addressing climate change and help build the consensus required to move to a competitive, low pollution Australian economy.”

    Its tasks will be to:

    * Explain the science of climate change and the impacts on Australia.
    * Report on the progress of international action dealing with climate change.
    * Explain the purpose and operation of a carbon price and how it may interact with the Australian economy and communities.

    The commission’s duties will include to hold a series of public outreach events to explain:

    * the science of climate change and issues raised by climate scientists
    * the magnitude of the challenge to address climate change
    * the role of a carbon price in effectively tackling climate change
    * what contribution other policy mechanisms are making
    * how a carbon price works and its interaction with the economy and the community
    * the opportunities for Australian firms and communities in moving to a low carbon future

    Mr Combet said the Climate Commission had been established by the Gillard Government to provide an authoritative, independent source of information for all Australians.

    “It will provide expert advice on climate change science and impacts, and international action. It will help build the consensus required to move to a clean energy future,” Mr Combet said.

    It would have a “public outreach role, to help build greater understanding and consensus about reducing Australia’s carbon pollution”.

    Other members of the Climate Commission are Professor Will Steffen, Professor Lesley Hughes, Dr Susannah Eliott, Gerry Hueston and Roger Beale. Their backgrounds are from climate change science, science communications, business, public policy and economics.

    The commission would be supported by a science advisory panel, with leading scientists offering further expert advice on the science of climate change and its impacts.

    Mr Combet said the commission was an election commitment announced in July 2010 and has been funded with a budget of $5.6 million over four years.

    It is understood that the decision on members of the committee was made by the Minister, not the Committee. Following are details of the committee and the Science Advisory Panel.

    Biographies – Climate Commission
    Professor Tim Flannery, Chief Commissioner
    Professor Tim Flannery is one of Australia’s leading writers on climate change. An internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer and conservationist, Professor Flannery was named Australian of the Year in 2007.
    Professor Flannery has held various academic positions including Professor at the University of Adelaide, director of the South Australian Museum in Adelaide, Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Museum and Visiting Chair in Australian Studies at Harvard University in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.
    A well known presenter on ABC Radio, NPR and the BBC for more than a decade, he has also written and presented several series on the Documentary Channel including The Future Eaters (1998), Wild Australasia (2003), Islands in the Sky (1992) and Bushfire (1997). His books include Here on Earth (2010) and The Weather Makers (2005).

    Professor Will Steffen
    Professor Will Steffen is a climate science expert and researcher, and the Executive Director of the ANU Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University, Canberra. He is on the panel of experts supporting the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee and has also served as the Science Adviser to the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.
    From 1998 to 2004, Professor Steffen served as Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, an international network of scientists studying global environmental change based in Stockholm, Sweden. His research interests span a broad range within the fields of climate change and Earth System science, with an emphasis on sustainability, climate change and the Earth System. He is the author of numerous publications on climate science.

    Dr Susannah Eliott
    Dr Susannah Eliott is a science communication expert and the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Science Media Centre, an independent not-for-profit organisation that works with the news media to inject evidence-based science into public discourse. She is also the current Chair of the Expert Working Group on Science and the Media, an initiative of the Inspiring Australia program.
    Dr Eliott’s previous roles include the Director of Communications for the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme in Stockholm and managing the Centre for Science Communication at the University of Technology (UTS).

    Mr Gerry Hueston
    Mr Gerry Hueston is a prominent businessman who recently retired as President of BP Australasia, after a career with BP spanning 34 years in a variety of management and senior executive roles in New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the United Kingdom.
    Mr Hueston’s other previous roles include Chairman of the Business Council Sustainable Growth Taskforce, Chairman and Board Member of the Australian Institute of Petroleum, Board Member of the Business Council of Australia, and Member of the Chairman’s Panel of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

    Mr Roger Beale
    Mr Roger Beale is an economist and public policy expert, and currently the Executive Director of Economics and Policy at Pricewaterhouse Coopers. He is a former Secretary of the Department of Environment and Heritage, and was a lead author for the UN’s Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report.
    Mr Beale was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1995 in recognition of his contribution to economic reform and was awarded the Centenary Medal for leadership of the environment portfolio in 2001. In 2006 he was promoted to Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of his contribution to the development of national environment policy.

    Professor Lesley Hughes
    Professor Lesley Hughes is the Head of the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University and an expert on the impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems. She is the Australian Representative on the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Biodiversity and Climate Change, and Co-convenor of the Terrestrial Biodiversity Adaptation Research Network.
    Professor Hughes was also a lead author for the UN’s IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, and a member of the Expert Advisory Group on Climate Change and Biodiversity for the Australian Greenhouse Office and the Department of Climate Change. Her research has been published extensively in peer-reviewed journals.

    Science Advisory Panel

    * Professor Matt England, University of New South Wales, expertise in global-scale ocean circulation and its influence on regional climate.
    * Professor David Karoly, University of Melbourne, expertise in climate variability and climate change, including interannual climate variations due to El Niño-Southern Oscillation and weather extremes.
    * Professor Andy Pitman, University of New South Wales, climate modeller with a major focus on land surface processes.
    * Professor Neville Smith, Bureau of Meteorology, expertise in ocean and climate prediction.
    * Professor Tony McMichael, Australian National University, expertise in impacts of climate change on environmental conditions and human health.
    * Dr Helen Cleugh, CSIRO, expertise in the dynamics of carbon, water and energy cycles in Australian ecosystems and the effects on climate variability and change – especially the vulnerability of land-based carbon sinks.
    * Dr Lisa Alexander, University of New South Wales, expertise in changes in the frequency and/or severity of extreme climate events.
    * Professor Brendan Mackey, Australian National University, expertise in forests and climate.

  7. TonyfromOz has a very timely post at
    (quoting the opening paras)
    Here in Australia, the Labor Government under Prime Minister Julia Gillard is seeking to impose a ‘Price on Carbon’.

    Some of you may think that this is exclusively an Australian problem, but the same applies everywhere something of this nature is going through the processes of implementation.

    There are many misconceptions about placing a price on Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions, and what I hope to do here is to explain some of those things, because the bland term ‘A Price On Carbon’ is easy to understand, while what it actually means is almost impossible to try and explain.

    The single most difficult thing to even attempt to explain is just how much money something like this will raise for Governments who introduce it, and that is what is most definitely not being explained to people, because if it was, then people would see it for exactly what it is, nothing more than a new revenue raising tax, and a whopping great huge tax at that.
    (end of quote)
    check out the post; it’s all about the money

  8. haha yeah they not doing too well..89% opoose it on that poll and only 14% support Flannery as head of their Climaate action group…

    I dont support it at all, i think its a very dangeorus area to get into have some kind of blanket tax on an essential element of all life on earth.

    There plenty of current taxes on every aspect of carbon in current FF production..from the high fuel excise to GST to the mining supertax..and many more

    the only way a carbon could possibly be feasible is if all the other taxes related to carbon production were scrapped..

    plenty of cleaner energy projects can be funded under general purpose upgrade and maintainance budgets for power stations and enegry productiion, theres plenty of greene rprojects already happening…i think theres plenty of people being alarmist and generating anxiety over this..add hoc solutions to non existent problems may generate plenty of $$ but help no one in the long term..

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