Former prime minister Tony Abbott has joined the board of a climate think tank that he argues is not held back by “groupthink”.
The contrarian London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation, founded in 2009 by former UK chancellor Nigel Lawson, says it aims to “promote a culture of debate, respect and a hunger for knowledge”.
“People are naturally concerned about the environment, and want to see policies that enhance human wellbeing and protect the environment; policies that don’t hurt, but help,” the GWPF’s mission statement reads.
Australia’s Climate Council organisation labelled the GWPF a “climate denying group” when Mr Abbott, then an MP, gave its annual lecture in 2017.
GWPF chair Jerome Booth said Mr Abbott would bring a global perspective and policy insight to the board of trustees.
“He will further assist our objectives and help our efforts to foster a culture of debate, respect and scrutiny in policy areas that are currently dominated by intolerance, high emotions, moral reasoning and confusion,” Dr Booth said.
“I’m pleased to be joining GWPF because it’s consistently injected a note of realism into the climate debate,” Mr Abbott said.
“All of us want to save the only planet we have but this should not be by means which impoverish poorer people in richer countries and hold poorer countries back,” he said.
“Right now, in countries like Australia, the impact of climate policy is to make electricity less affordable and less reliable rather than perceptibly to cool the planet. We need more genuine science and less groupthink in this debate – that’s where the GWPF has been a commendably consistent if lonely voice.”
Fellow Australians who advise the GWPF include retired meteorologist William Kininmonth and Garth Paltridge, emeritus professor at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania.
Mr Abbott led the coalition to a landslide election victory over Labor in 2013, before being ousted by Malcolm Turnbull in a leadership spill in 2015.
Independent Zali Steggall took the federal seat of Warringah – spanning Sydney’s northern beaches – from Mr Abbott in 2019, campaigning widely on action against climate action.
(Australian Associated Press)