Professor Tim Flannery
The new in-coming government has sacked Professor Tim Flannery, head of Labor's Climate Commission and will dismantle it. Julia Gillard set it up in 2011 as an apolitical body "to provide reliable and authoritative information" on climate change. The new Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, phoned him yesterday morning to tell him that bad news was on its way in a letter which read "I am writing to advise you that the Climate Commission has been dissolved with effect from the date of this letter."
Tim Flannery was a respected global warming scientist who scared the life out of every Australian living close to water. In 2008 he said the Arctic could be ice-free by 2013 and we believed him because he was the scientist who knew what he was talking about.
In 1996 he warned that global warming would drown a beachfront house eight stories high. "Anyone with a coastal view from their bedroom window or kitchen window, or wherever, is likely to lose their house as a result of that change, so anywhere, any coastal cities, coastal areas are in grave danger" he said.
But in 1997 he bought a house just metres from the edge of tidal waters around the Hawkesbury estuary and five years later, he bought the property next door.
The new government also plans to abolish the Climate Change Authority, set up in 2012 to provide advice on carbon pricing and emissions reduction targets and will scrap the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), an important body which supports private investments into renewable energy.
But Treasurer Joe Hockey has been told the CEFC is "obliged to follow its legislated mandate and cannot be frustrated in that regard by attempted ministerial interference"...... and that the board would be "obliged to ignore" any direction to cease operation. So we'll have to wait and see who wins that one.
So who is this man, our new Environment Minister, Greg Hunt? He was born in Melbourne, graduated from Melbourne Law School with a Bachelor of Law (First Class Honours) and Yale University where he was a Fulbright Scholar receiving a Master of Arts in International Relations. He was Associate to the Chief Justice of the Australian Federal Court in 1992.
It was a sad day for Professor Flannery, a man who was once Australian of the Year but he has no regrets. "Blood oath it was worth it.....making sure that my children, your children and even the sceptics' children have a decent quality of life in the future."
And he made a parting comment that will ring true for many and ignored by others. He said Australia had endured the hottest 12 months on record, with last summer breaking more than 120 heat records across the country.