‘Cult’: Former PM’s wild climate rant

Former Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott Visits Taiwan Amid China's Tensions
Tony Abbot is no fan of climate activists. Picture: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Ex-Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has claimed man-made global warming was “ahistorical and utterly implausible”, labelling climate activists and scientists as “cult”-like.

During a speech at the UK launch of an Institute of Public Affairs report into energy policies in Australia, Mr Abbott took his most direct hits at scientific consensus of anthropogenic global warming to date.

He declared the Albanese government’s goal to achieve 82 per cent renewables by 2030 was “irrational” and said that if he had the choice he would prioritise cost of living over cutting carbon emissions.

“The anthropogenic global warming thesis, at least in its more extreme forms, is both ahistorical and utterly implausible,” Mr Abbott told an audience, which included Australian senator Matt Canavan.

Tony Abbott was Australia’s prime minister from 2013-15. Picture: Martin Ollman/NCA NewsWire.

“The climate cult will eventually be discredited; I just hope we don’t have to endure energy catas­trophe before that happens.”

Mr Abbott joined the board of UK-based conservative think tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation in February. According to its founder, the group aims to challenge governments’ “extremely damaging and harmful policies“ around climate change.

The former Liberal leader, who has been a member of the UK government’s Board of Trade since 2020, has long been sceptical of scientific evidence of climate change. His most controversial comments came in 2009 when he said that warnings of a climate crisis were “absolute crap”.

He told a London audience overnight that when asked to choose between reducing emissions and protecting their cost of living, Australian voters would put their cost of living first.”

“I’m pleased to be chosen for this task tonight because I suppose I’m one of the very few national leaders who has been elected to office promising to end the emissions obsession which has dominated energy policy for the last two decades,” Mr Abbott said.

Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers will today acknowledge that Australia will fall short of its energy targets without significant investment from private industry. Picture: Martin Ollman/NCA NewsWire.

Mr Abbott’s comments come after 12 international scientists published an updated state of the climate report this week that warned that 2023 had likely had the hottest temperatures for 100,000 years.

On Thursday, Australia’s federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers will release a report acknowledging that Australia has a far way to go to reach its ambitious net-zero emissions targets.

Dr Chalmers told ABC’s RN that increased collaboration between government and private industry would be essential for the country to hit net zero by 2050.

“I am flagging that we need to do more work together. This will be a focus of the budget next May, and what we need to do as we go about this important task, is we need to recognise that Australia has big geological, geographical, maybe a logical geopolitical advantages here that we need to bring to bear to the task,” he said.