Its been a bad election for climate change sceptics, but there are a number of them still left in the Parliament. And one of them could yet lead the Liberal Party.

In August 2007 a House of Representatives Inquiry report into Geosequestration (burying carbon dioxide underground- the ‘sweep it under the carpet’ solution) was released. Four out of Seven Coalition MP’s on the Committee (dubbed the ‘Flat-earth four’) released a dissenting report which denied human-induced climate change: “We do not believe the evidence unequivocally supports the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming” they stated.

Saturday night saw two of the Flat-earth four leave the Parliament and lose their seats: Jackie Kelly and Dave Tollner. Of course John Howard, a long-time climate sceptic, who later became a begrudging accepter, if not believer, is also gone.

Two of the Flat-earth four, Dennis Jensen and Danna Vale, remain, despite strong swings against them. They also have some high profile companions- former Minister Ian MacFarlane is on the record as recently as August last year saying “I’m a sceptic of the connection between emissions and climate change”. Russell Broadbent the climate sceptic who’s been waging war on wind turbines held his seat. Of greatest concern however is the possibility that the Liberals could be lead by vocal climate sceptic- Andrew Robb, who has described climate change as “a cause celebre that lefties siezed on after the fall of communism”. Climate change, along with ‘industrial relations’ and the ‘It’s time’ factor was clearly one of the shapers of the election outcome. If the Liberals are to learn anything surely they will eschew a climate change sceptic and attempt to re-make the party a la the UK Conservative Party’s David Cameron who is promising ambitious cuts to the UK’s greenhouse pollution.

Of course the Liberal party is not the only party to be affected by climate deniers or to be influenced by the Greenhouse mafia and their delaying tactics. For instance what was Labor’s Martin Ferguson thinking in March this year when he launched Ray Evans book denying climate change? And we know that State Labor governments have sceptics in high places, including NSW Treasurer Michael Costa .

Surely though, aspiring politicians can see the writing on the wall now, and it says that Australians want real action on climate change. And the ultimate test of real action is whether our emissions go up or down: a key test that Prime Minister Rudd will now have to measure up to over the next three years.

Mark Wakeham
Greenpeace Energy Campaigner