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Labor downgrades “Climate Dept”. Greens slam it as “symbolic retreat”

Posted By Joanne Nova On March 25, 2013 @ 11:56 pm In Politics | Comments Disabled

Dr Craig Emerson, Minister for Science, Weather, Inventions, Factories and Universities.

After the leadership farce last week and the resignations of the more-sensible Labor ministers, Gillard has reshuffled again and the DCC (Department of Climate Change) is disappearing into a “super ministry”. It is a sign of the times.

The P.M. has bundled the Department of Climate Change into a nightmare acronynm:

The Prime Minister used her sixth ministerial reshuffle to merge the Department of Climate Change with the Department of Industry, creating a new Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.

Is that DIICCSRTE?

Gillard has made Craig Emerson minister of nearly everything.

Gillard also appointed the former Woodside director, Gary Gray, to cabinet as mines and energy minister. The Climate Spectator is worried. Gray said something skeptical once in 1993: that the evidence linking human activity to climate change was ‘‘pop science”. Years later he apparently said he regretted the comments, but this was not enough to convince the religious that he has discovered the faith.  He made the mistake of saying there needed to be “intellectual challenge and debate”. These plain and sane words marked him as a confirmed skeptic. Only skeptics want debates. A true believer prefers not to mention them, except to say they are over. The correct litany is “there is a consensus”.

It’s funny how even a weak expression of doubt 20 years ago is not forgotten. If it were just a question of science and evidence, 20 years is a long time, and anyone could have changed their mind. But if it’s a question of religion, or a tribal allegiance, then 20 years is an insight into his character.

UPDATE: It’s not even day #2 in a new ministership, and suddenly Gary Gray feels he has to join the chorus to declare he is not a skeptic, and his former words on Climate Change “embarrass him”. Presumably he had to toe the line, but it’s clumsy — he’s goes too far. The ALP never misses a chance to alienate half the population. How many skeptical voters will feel more represented or respected by the Labor Party now?

(Commenter Matt J notes that Andrew Bolt said on 2GB that he knows Gary Gray and he is a skeptic. )

The Greens are not happy (so we know it must be good):

UPDATE: “Greens slam merger as symbolic retreat on climate change” The Australian

“Greens leader Christine Milne blasted the move, saying it showed Ms Gillard was in “retreat on addressing global warming”. Senator Milne used the occasion to launch a broader assault on the government’s green credentials, citing Labor’s abandonment of its former Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in 2010. She claimed Labor had to be “dragged back” to tackling climate change by the Greens.”

“The Australian Conservation Foundation said the merger could lead to a loss of focus on co-ordination of climate change action, but warned against cuts to climate schemes in the May budget.”

“The worry with today is that the Gillard government has moved closer to Tony Abbott by abolishing a stand-alone climate department, merging it with another department and putting a fossil fuel advocate into the energy department,” Senator Milne told reporters in Hobart.

There are two new Science Ministers?

Is this a case of twice as important or really that no one is in charge?

UPDATE: Apparently, Emerson is in charge. Farrell the assistant.

  • The Hon. Dr Craig Emerson MP is the new Portfolio Minister of  Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research.
  • The Senator Don Farrell is the new Minister for Science and Research.

One or both of these men will be the one at the top of the Australian Research Council money tree (that’s the group that dishes out the dosh in the world of Australian science). Some ARC funded research projects paint people who disagree with Labor policy as mentally inadequate. If you wonder why these projects should get funding from the Australian taxpayer, these are the men now responsible for answering that question. We look forward to their answers, and their explanation of how all Australian taxpayers benefit from research that labels rational criticisms as “conspiratorial” and “ideated”.

That kind of commentary used to be known as “correcting the record”.

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