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CBS Touts Australian Climate Alarmists Attacking 'Criminal' 'Deniers'

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Sunday's 60 Minutes on CBS, the show devoted a segment to highlighting the views of Australian environmental alarmists and their attacks on "right-wing climate deniers" over the issue of whether global warming is to blame for the recent wildfires. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull -- who was ousted by his own conservative political party over his alarmist views -- was given a forum to trash his own party.

Much of the report used Australian National University climatologist Joelle Gergis as a source to blame the recent wildfires on human-caused global warming. At one point, she suggested wildfires have worsened at a much faster rate than predicted:

GERGIS: This is the type of summer you might not would have expected until the middle of the century based on past projections, so I think this is really redefining what it means to actually be living through a period of rapid climate change.

WILLIAMS: So you're saying you would have expected this kind of scenario that we saw this summer to happen in 2050.

GERGIS: Yeah, potentially, middle of the century.

WILLIAMS: Are you shocked?

GERGIS: Of course I'm shocked.

After a clip of Gergis declaring that the wildfires are "a wakeup call to the world," the segment then focused on former Prime Minster Turnbull's alarmism.

MALCOLM TURNBULL, FORMER AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: We have been mugged by the reality of climate change in this summer.

WILLIAMS: Malcolm Turnbull is a political conservative who served as Australia's prime minister up until August of 2018.

TURNBULL: This is climate change in the raw. This is what we've been told to expect for years.

He then accused "deniers" of irresponsibly ignoring warnings about climate change:

WILLIAMS: When you were prime minister, were you warned that the fires were getting worse?

TURNBULL: Well, of course. Everyone has known this. We've been warned by the climate scientists. Everyone has been aware of this except for those who -- well, climate change deniers are aware of it, but they choose to deny reality.

He then took aim at what he called "right-wing climate deniers" in his party -- ironically known as the Liberal Party in Australia, but with a center-right ideology:

WILLIAMS: Turnbull was bounced out of office by the right wing of his own party, largely over his support for cutting carbon emissions.

TURNBULL: The right-wing climate deniers treat an issue of science and physics and fact as though it's a question of ideology, and their conduct is not just idiotic, it is downright dangerous -- dangerous for us here in Australia and right around the world.

WILLIAMS: You're talking about people in your own party.

TURNBULL: Of course I am, absolutely.

WILLIAMS: Dangerous and idiotic?

TURNBULL: Well, of course it's dangerous and idiotic not to be taking the strongest action to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.

After Williams went back to Gergis, the environmental alarmist at one point decried climate skeptics as being "really reckless and potentially criminal because we actually know enough about the science now. I think the science is crystal clear."

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Sunday, February 16, 60 Minutes on CBS:

HOLLY WILLIAMS: And it's the changing climate that's at the heart of the problem, according to scientists.

PROF. JOELLE GERGIS, AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY: 2019 was the hottest and the driest year in Australia's history, so we actually saw temperature records being broken all over the country.

WILLIAMS: Joelle Gergis is a climate scientist at the Australian National University, and is a lead author of an upcoming United Nations report on climate change.

GERGIS: This is the type of summer you might not would have expected until the middle of the century based on past projections, so I think this is really redefining what it means to actually be living through a period of rapid climate change.

WILLIAMS: So you're saying you would have expected this kind of scenario that we saw this summer to happen in 2050.

GERGIS: Yeah, potentially, middle of the century.

WILLIAMS: Are you shocked?

GERGIS: Of course I'm shocked.

WILLIAMS: Gergis says Australia is more vulnerable to climate change than any other developed nation, in part because it's the driest inhabited continent.

When it comes to climate change, is Australia a bellwether for the rest of the world?

GERGIS: I think this summer has been a real wakeup call for most Australians, myself as a climate scientist seeing the extreme level of heat and the bush fires and the drought conditions playing out so catastrophically has been, I think, a wakeup call to the world.

MALCOLM TURNBULL, FORMER AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: We have been mugged by the reality of climate change in this summer.

WILLIAMS: Malcolm Turnbull is a political conservative who served as Australia's prime minister up until August of 2018.

TURNBULL: This is climate change in the raw. This is what we've been told to expect for years.

WILLIAMS: When you were prime minister, were you warned that the fires were getting worse?

TURNBULL: Well, of course. Everyone has known this. We've been warned by the climate scientists. Everyone has been aware of this except for those who -- well, climate change deniers are aware of it, but they choose to deny reality.

WILLIAMS: Turnbull was bounced out of office by the right wing of his own party, largely over his support for cutting carbon emissions.

TURNBULL: The right-wing climate deniers treat an issue of science and physics and fact as though it's a question of ideology, and their conduct is not just idiotic, it is downright dangerous -- dangerous for us here in Australia and right around the world.

WILLIAMS: You're talking about people in your own party.

TURNBULL: Of course I am, absolutely.

WILLIAMS: Dangerous and idiotic?

TURNBULL: Well, of course it's dangerous and idiotic not to be taking the strongest action to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.

(...)

WILLIAMS: We wanted to interview the prime minister about the devastating fires and their connection with climate change, but he declined our requests as did other members of his government. Scott Morrison has admitted that he made mistakes in the handling of this crisis, but what he has not done is make any change to reduce this country's carbon emissions.

Climate scientist Joelle Gergis says the future of Australia hangs in the balance. Are the Australian people being betrayed by their politicians?

GERGIS: At this moment, I think it is really reckless and potentially criminal because we actually know enough about the science now. I think the science is crystal clear.

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