Straddling the line between scepticism and stupidity
For years people from both ends of the political spectrum have defended Tony Abbott’s intelligence, some because they agree with him and others because the idea that a former democratically elected Prime Minister could be as dimwitted as he appears says more about us than it does of him.
Through every clanger, grammatical slip up and nationally broadcasted faux pas, his credentials have been his saving grace.
University educated, a Rhodes Scholar, an experienced politician – could anyone get where he has without any inkling of intellectual prowess?
Apparently, yes they can.
Earlier in the week the former PM tiptoed over to London to regurgitate his position as a non-scientist climate change denier before the Global Warming Policy foundation.
After looking at photographs of Manly beach, Mr Abbott concluded that he could still see no evidence of rising see levels and, by extension, no evidence of climate change.
Whilst ABC correspondent James Glenday suggested these views could be headlined “Abbott still sceptical, except this time in London” the speech did reveal an original opinion of the self-taught scientist.
“In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heat waves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it’s accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change, might even be beneficial.”
So in an effort to synthesise this recently updated view on the (non) opinion divider, here we go:
Climate change isn’t real, but it is and it’s good.
In a popular 2012 study, James Powell examined nearly 14, 000 peer reviewed scientific articles that held an opinion on climate change.
From that number, 24 rejected the claim or endorsed a cause other than CO2 emissions for observed warming.
With this in mind, does Abbott make his claims in the name of bravery, as he himself suggests, or stupidity?
“Tony Abbott’s left the realm of the merely destructive and entered the realm of the loopy. This is actually just weird stuff from the former prime minister,” Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek told Sky News.
Of course, there is a slightly more reasoned theory than the ‘Abbott is loopy’ one.
Perhaps he’s not dumb at all and is really just a narcissistic megalomaniac intent on sacrificing his integrity for the sake of relevance and public attention.
Personally, I think that’s giving him more credit than he deserves.