Whilst the Queensland floods have seen the media filled with stories of death, attempted heroism, homelessness and the callous mindless destruction that can be wrought by nature, most have been expressing sympathy and compassion for the victims.
Politicians across the spectrum in Australia are unified in their expression of the natural human emotions of compassion, and benevolence. Genuine concern for the victims and willingness to do as they can to help. The Australian Green Party has been no exception, supporting the Queensland Government flood appeal.
Not the Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand. No, it's a chance to blog on climate change.
First, Russel Norman says climate change evidence is compelling and that events like the floods are more frequent because of it. Even though the scientist quoted says "It certainly fits the climate change models but I have to add the proviso that it’s very difficult – even with extreme conditions like this – to always attribute it to climate change". "He says the extremes being encountered in Australia this week fit climate change models, but it is too early to prove a direct link to changing weather patterns." However, if you have the faith, believe in it brothers. There could be a link, but that's about it. Given the last flood on this scale was in 1974, unless such floods occur again in the next 5-10 years it would seem to be a weak link at best.
Second, Russel points out one of the key industries of Queensland is coal mining so says "It is also noteworthy that Queensland is one of the biggest coal exporters in the world and so is making a significant contribution to climate change."
Putting those two statements together is effectively saying "floods caused by climate change, Queensland exports climate change, Queensland brought it on itself".
Finally, after blaming the floods on climate change, blaming Queensland for contributing to climate change, the school prefect in the Greens come out to patronise Queenslanders:
"I hope that, once the cleanup is underway and people have a chance to recover from the impact, the 2011 flood leads to a debate in Queensland about whether they want to continue to be such a big contributor to climate change given that climate change makes such extreme weather events more likely."
Yes, the fools, they should do better next time. Not that I was elected to represent them, but I want to make a political point anyway.
Presumably if Queensland shut down coal mining tomorrow all that would happen is the price of coal would go up, tens of thousands would be out of work, millions would be poorer off and there would be still no protection from floods - funny that.
He ends it with a weak expression of support "Love to all my family and friends over there. – ‘74 didn’t take out Brissie and neither will ‘11!" I'm surprised he didn't throw in a "you should have known better that this would have happened".
Most politicians responding to natural disasters respond with expressions that show they give a damn about the human beings who are suffering and rebuilding their lives. Russel Norman has done it to make a political point, to effectively blame the victims and hector them into debating how much of it was their own fault.
This is from the same people that go on about how they, unlike others, put people first. No, it would appear they put politics first. However, it is not the first example this week of people on the political left using a tragedy to score points.
UPDATE: Russel Norman's response is, as before, to misconstrue and ignore my point, then engage in an ad-hominem attack saying "I really do love the way “Liberty”Scott tries to shut down debate. Keep on writing LS I think you demonstrate nicely the kind of freedom that the far right believes in, and it ain’t freedom of speech!". All I suggested was that blaming the victims for a disaster on the day people were being killed wasn't good taste, but as someone who plays the man not the ball, he doesn't appear to understand the concept of standing aside from politics in the midst of tragedy. Then he calls me "far right" because it is all so easy to paint someone libertarian as fascist.
This being the same man who thinks non-ionising electromagnetic radiation from cellphone towers is an issue because it is about adding to "background radiation", but similar radiation from far more powerful TV and radio transmitters can be ignored. So it is safe to say he has scientific credentials that wouldn't get him passing NCEA Level 1 science, which tells your something about the extent to which he can be taken seriously on anything to do with real science.