Ideology clouding climate debate: Flannery

The federal government’s former chief climate adviser says political ideology is obscuring the reality of climate change and renewable energy.


Professor Tim Flannery has told a Brisbane conference Australia risks falling behind other countries in the green energy market if it does not accept “facts on the ground” regarding climate change.

Prof Flannery was sacked as head of the federal Climate Commission when Prime Minister Tony Abbott shut it down in September.

Speaking at an event run by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia on Wednesday, he declined to comment directly on the federal government’s climate strategy.

But he said: “There are ideological positions which tend to obscure the reality of what is happening.

“That is something we cannot afford, particularly in this area, just because the changes are so great and so fast.

“We need to focus objectively on the best outcomes rather than what would be ideologically acceptable.”

Siemens Energy’s chief technology officer, Professor Dr Michael Weinhold, also spoke at the event about renewable energy systems in countries including Germany, which he said generated about 10 times as much electricity from solar power than Australia.

Prof Flannery said there was a “fundamental revolution” going on around the world.

“Many of the problems and issues Germany is facing, we will be facing in years to come,” he said.

“And many of the opportunities Germany is grasping now, we will have the potential to grasp in future.”

The 2007 Australian of the Year, Prof Flannery is now the chief climate councillor at the donation-funded Australian Climate Council.

It was launched after the government axed the taxpayer-funded commission set up in 2010 by the former Labor government to increase public awareness of climate-change science.

The commission was shut down on the second day of the coalition government.

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