Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews yesterday confused onlookers by calling a roundtable of leading scientists to address the bushfire crisis but then blocking a national conversation about climate change.
Instead, she urged the nation to “move on” and “adapt and mitigate the impact of those changes” rather than “keep having debates about climate change”.
“Every second that we spend discussing whether or not climate change is real is a second that we don’t spend talking about and putting place the strategies to mitigate the effects,” Andrews told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Andrews’ acceptance that “the climate has changed, the climate is changing and we need to look at what we’re going to do about that” puts her at odds with some Coalition peers, such as vocal climate change deniers Craig Kelly and George Christensen.
However, Andrews is being criticised by the public for prioritising actionable solutions for the bushfires while suppressing climate change discussions, which many are considering a band-aid solution that ignores the source of the issue.
It is offensive and ludicrous to frame the basic deal of admitting science is real as some sort of achievement. You don't get credit for letting go of your demented pseudoscience.
— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) January 15, 2020
What preventative measures? All very well to have a response once they've started, what is being done regarding the fact Climate Change is making hazard reduction burns harder to do?
— Michelle Scragg (@HeritageScrapbo) January 15, 2020
Like treating cancer with a band aid and a cotton bud.
— ????Captain Thin (@Firemonkey991) January 15, 2020
Others pointed out the opportunity Andrews has to make real, meaningful change.
Members from the CSIRO, Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, and the Bushfire and Natural Hazard Cooperative Research Centre yesterday attended the roundtable in Canberra.
Hey Karen, appreciate you saying there is no denial that the climate is changing.
When will you and the LNP accept it’s cause, as has no doubt been expressed to you by scientists with facts?#auspol
— Dr Z (@marcozeil) January 15, 2020
Would like to see the list of attendees and the minutes made public please. This is a serious national issue and after what has just happened, we have a right to be informed on the progress of this committee
— Religion is nuts (@NutsReligion) January 15, 2020
What a charade. A science minister @karenandrewsmp who does not listen to the scientists on real emission reduction strategies.
What about getting to the root cause of the catastrophe? It’s climate change made worse by human activity.
— Paul Bongiorno (@PaulBongiorno) January 15, 2020
Others on Twitter were surprised Australia has had a science minister for the last two years (especially given the position was previously done away with under the Abbott government).
Karen Andrews appointments as Minister for Industry, Science & Technology on 28 August 2018. We may not have heard from her, but she’s been there.
— RollerDerbyMum (@RollerDerbyMum) January 15, 2020
Wait, Australia has a Science Minister? Where has Karen Andrews been?
— Michael Bell (@Xtrackka) January 15, 2020
Am I the only one who hadn’t heard of Karen Andrews before today? Or that we even had a science minister. I thought the LNP axed that role. #auspol2020
— ????Karen Walker (@karenlwalker) January 15, 2020
I would be safe to say at least 90% of the voting population has no idea we have a science minister after abbott abolished the position.
And a similar number would never have heard of karen andrews.
— Le voyageur (@LeVoyageurOz) January 15, 2020