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PM Citizens assembly is just plain silly
letter published in The Australian, 26 July 2010

The climate change policy speech by Julia Gillard promises that, in addition to establishing a citizens assembly to “examine the evidence on climate change”, her government would establish “an independent, properly credentialed source of information and advice -a climate change commission –to explain the science of climate change and to report progress in international action”.

While the citizens assembly idea has rightly been widely criticised, potentially there is  much merit in the proposal for an inquiry to explain the science of climate change – provided its members include representatives from the many experts who take a sceptical view of the dangerous warming thesis.

However, amongst  the many puzzles in Gillard’s speech is her statement of belief that climate change is “caused to a significant extent by human activity” and her claim that “each decade since the 1940s has been warmer than the last”. These invalid assertions show that she and fellow Ministers have hitherto been advised only by scientists (such as those at the CSIRO) who have refused to acknowledge the many analyses showing that there is no basis for concluding that the increase in human activity over the past century could have been a major factor causing the very modest temperature increases.

Gillard should acknowledge that her decision to establish an independent expert inquiry is also an acknowledgement that previous expert advice to the government requires a careful and complete re-assessment.

Des Moore, South Yarra, Vic

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