Further to the shameless and idiotic noisemaking of the trollumnists on which we commented yesterday, it now seems that the unpopular Liberal leader Tony Abbott is now outright misrepresenting Flannery’s remarks in Parliament:

But yesterday, as the role of the carbon tax in Labor’s massive loss in the NSW election dominated federal political exchanges, Mr Abbott quoted Professor Flannery as he ridiculed the tax as “the ultimate millenium bug”.

“It will not make a difference for 1000 years,” the Opposition Leader told parliament. “So this is a government which is proposing to put at risk our manufacturing industry, to penalise struggling families, to make a tough situation worse for millions of households right around Australia. And for what? To make not a scrap of difference to the environment any time in the next 1000 years.”

What Flannery actually said:

If the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow the average temperature of the planet is not going to drop in several hundred years, perhaps as much as a thousand years.

“Not going to drop” is clearly not the same as “make not a scrap of difference”. Nor is “several hundred years, perhaps as much as a thousand years” the same as “not… any time in the next 1000 years”.

We’re talking about a system in which the temperature is increasing. The best we can hope for in the shorter term is to slow that increase down, maybe if we’re lucky stop it completely. The more countries that act, the better our chances, and the quicker we’ll reduce the damage. That Flannery thinks there’s a prospect of actually reducing the levels back to the levels of today, or pre-industrial levels, is very reassuring – but the time-scale he talks about is nothing to do with when there’d first be a difference between acting and not acting.

Even if it’ll take a long time to return the system to the earlier levels (and I’m glad to hear that that’s even possible), the immediate challenge is to reduce the increase. That’s what the proposed action is supposed to achieve, and that’s what we’re debating.

So Abbott’s misrepresentation of Flannery’s remark is not only dishonest, it also indicates that he hasn’t the faintest idea what his opponents are actually talking about.

Labor and climate scientists and the Greens and anyone with an interest in rational public debate all need to be out there right now squashing this stupid meme before it takes any more hold on the gullible. Because once this one sinks in, they’ll find something even more outrageously stupid and build up the ignorance even further. It has to be tackled now, and exposed for the moronic fraud it is.

Let’s see who in the media actually call Abbott on his shameless misrepresentation of Flannery, and the ignorance about the actual proposal that his remarks reveal. Anyone?

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