Once upon a time, in 2013, this great country elected a leader - a Prime Minister, to represent us on a global scale. That man was Tony Abbott, who went on to make some of the most memorable decisions in Australian political history: calling asbestos victims "impure of heart", telling a war widow that "shit happens", and of course chowing down on a raw onion in front of national news crews for reasons we may never know.
As if we didn't need another blunder to add to our list, Tony Abbott - who is still giving public speeches - just told an audience at the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London "It's climate change policy that's doing harm. Climate change itself is probably doing good; or at least, more good than harm."
According to The Guardian, other pearls of wisdom include comparing the criticism of climate change deniers as in "the spirit of the Inquisition, the thought-police down the ages".
Oh, and of course he reiterated his belief that the "so-called settled science of climate change" is "absolute crap" and that settles it then I suppose? Time to pack up, CSIRO. Thanks for your work so far, hanging out pretending to do groundbreaking science that can save our planet from self-destruction.
Abbott also called the efforts taken to combat climate change are just like "primitive people once killing goats to appease the volcano gods" because that's entirely comparable, too.
But wait, it gets better. Not only does he think climate change doesn't exist, he thinks it's doing good, while not existing: I can't keep up.
"There's the evidence that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide – which is a plant food after all – are actually greening the planet and helping to lift agricultural yields," he spoke, with his human mouth.
"In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heatwaves, 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."
What do experts have to say about Tony Abbott's claims on climate change?
Heatwaves in Australia are getting hotter, longer, more frequent - and have led to increased ambulance calls, emergency visits, illnesses, and deaths.
It might only be Spring, but experts are speaking out. Researchers from Doctors for the Environment Australia are saying doctors need to educate at-risk patients, hospitals must be better prepared, and that Australia needs to develop a national heatwave plan.
Australia is no stranger to heatwaves. Each summer, large areas of the continent fry under intense heat for days on end, causing power outages, public transport delays, and severe impacts to human health. The estimated impact on our workforce alone is US$6.2 billon per year. Heatwaves are also Australia’s deadliest natural hazard, accounting for well over half of all natural disaster-related deaths.
Well, a few of us, anyway.
If we don't address climate change, deaths caused by air pollution are expected to increase by about 60,000 globally by 2030, and 260,000 by 2100, according to a new study combining global climate models — including data from Australia.