10th October 2017: Abbott's speech last night confirms he's even more out of touch than we thought with the reality of climate change and its worsening impacts on Australians.
The speech to the climate denying group, The Global Warming Policy Foundation included a range of ludicrous statements, denying that record-breaking temperature rises are taking place.
"Tony Abbott's comments are out of step with the reality that Australians are experiencing, with extreme hot days having doubled in the past 50 years." said Amanda McKenzie, Climate Council CEO.
"Abbott's statement that climate change 'might even be beneficial' because 'far more people die in cold snaps' is like saying there are benefits to having cancer - you might lose some weight!"
"Denying reality because it doesn't suit your worldview means no one can take you seriously," McKenzie added.
"It's vital now that our leaders block out the white noise from dinosaurs such as Abbott, and put the interests of Australians first - by introducing long-term climate and energy policies that cut pollution and encourage renewable energy and storage technologies, in line with science," added McKenzie.
Busting the Myths of the Abbot Speech:
Abbott: "Australian temperatures have not changed since the 1800s."
Facts: All of the world's 10 warmest years have occurred since 1998.
No one aged under 40 has lived in a year with global average temperatures at or below the global 20th century average.
Abbott: "The bushfires are not worse."
Facts: Climate change is affecting bushfire conditions by increasing the probability of dangerous bushfire weather. Many parts of Australia, including southern New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and parts of South Australia and southwest Western Australia have all experienced an increase in extreme fire weather since the 1970s (CSIRO and BoM 2016).
Abbott: "Far more people die in cold snaps."
Facts: Heatwaves are the biggest silent killer in Australia and major heatwaves have caused more deaths since 1890 than bushfires, cyclones, earthquakes, floods and severe storms combined. Australian mortality data over the past 40 years shows a steady increase in summer deaths, compared to winter deaths.
The speech comes as the Coalition is set to make a final decision on the Clean Energy Target. A recent poll released by the Climate Council shows that the majority of Australians favour the shift to renewable energy - three quarters of Australians (77%) recognise the importance of a Clean Energy Target (CET) to incentivise new types of energy, at lower cost. Public support for a CET is present across the political spectrum, with 61% of Liberal voters saying it's important.