Impeach Craig Kelly

That’s my advice to Australians, after reading his guest post at WUWT. Deprive him of the right to serve as a member of parliament.

Australia has just suffered a devastating heat wave accompanied by devastating wildfires. According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Special Climate Statement 43

… the current heatwave event extends a four month spell of record hot conditions affecting Australia. These hot conditions have been exacerbated by very dry conditions affecting much of Australia since mid 2012 and a delayed start to a weak Australian monsoon.

One of the most moving stories is of grandparents who protected their five grandchildren when “tornadoes of fire” surrounded them. First they took refuge on the jetty, but when that caught fire they took the grandkids into the sea. Fortunately, all of them survived the conflagration. The drama, like the heat, was palpable.


The danger and destruction to Australia is undeniable. The contribution of global warming is clear. The truly frightening fact, that as global warming gets worse the danger and destruction will also, calls for leadership with the honesty and courage to make difficult choices in difficult circumstance, to place tomorrow’s safety above today’s convenience.

The Bureau of Meteorology summarized the situation by giving the record high temperature, and the temperature for each day of the heat wave (so far), for Australia as a whole and for each of its territories. There’s only one instance of a day breaking the all-time high, on Jan. 7th. It’s not for Sydney, not for New South Wales, not for any limited region or specific location. It’s the average for the entire country:


How did Craig Kelly respond? By harping on the fact that the Jan. 7th temperature in Sydney wasn’t as hot as it was in 1790 — according to what can only be regarded as questionable data, subject to no quality control.

Kelly should have looked at the data from the Bureau of Meteorology. We already knew that Jan. 7th wasn’t the hottest day on record in Sydney.

This is how deniers deny. When the whole country sets a new high temperature record, talk about one single location. Craig Kelly might be content to bury his head in the sand. I’m not. Australians shouldn’t be either.

77 responses to “Impeach Craig Kelly

  1. Again, it can be said: “It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.” E. Kolbert, “Field Notes…”

  2. Can you really impeach someone for being an idiot in Australia?

    Of course, he’s going to shreik about being “threatened” because he disagreed with “alarmists”.

    • Fine: Let’em shriek. Denialists like this, who are in direct control of the reins of government who can do–and have been doing–serious damage to calls for action, should be removed from office.

  3. What that kind of denial is asking for is a novel kind of weather. Not simply rain or drought or heat or cold. Something new. Like actual dogs and cats.

  4. If it actually did rain cats and dogs, the fake skeptics would cite the numerous historical examples of people saying “it’s raining cats and dogs” as evidence that raining cats and dogs is normal and nothing to worry about…

  5. There is no such thing as impeachment in Australia, although criminal acts will lose you your position. The only solution is to vote them out an election. However, given that Hughes is a pretty safe Liberal seat at the moment, that is unlikely to occur.

  6. Hmmm! Kelly, Kelly… Any relation to Ned perchance?

    And Jeffrey, raining fire would be good…or is that too Biblical?

  7. Great picture. It should be awarded a prize and become a poster picture for climate change.

  8. Yeah. Guess he doesn’t believe in the Little Ice Age as global phenomenon–thought that was de rigeur for these types.

    Some commenters I saw simply changed the subject: “Look! It’s really cold in China right now!”

    Kind of ironic, really, since a number of ‘warmist’ commentators had said, back in September, “Hmm, we’ll have to see if this big negative SIE anomaly leads to some more Northern Hemisphere cold snaps due to increased ‘waviness’ of the polar jet stream, as suggested by Francis & Vavrus.”

  9. Horatio Algeranon

    “Ships Ape”
    — by Horatio Algeranon

    What a trip
    To let the apes
    Run the ship
    Aground on capes

    But when they sink ‘er
    Out at sea
    We’ll all go down
    In history.

  10. There is a whole post at Jo Nova dedicated to the idea that its not that hot in Australia this summer. Sigh.

    But there is no rule against politicians being idiots in Australia.

    • There’s a whole raft of anti-science denialist ideologues in the State and Federal Coalition parties, including Corey Bernardi, Warren Truss (who commented that the bushfires would have released amounts of CO2 that would render human emissions irrelevant), Barnaby Joyce, Andrew Powell, Bruce McIver, Richard Pearson, Sophie Mirrabella, and of course Tony Abbott.

      And they’re just the ones who come immediately to mind.

      If any Australian reader here knows of a site that has a comprehensive list of denialist Australian politicians I’d be most interested. If such a site documents their statements on the subject that would be even better.

      If there’s no such resource we need one in the next month or two, so that we can organise resources/references before the next federal election campaign later this year.

      • Chris O'Neill

        If any Australian reader here knows of a site that has a comprehensive list of denialist Australian politicians I’d be most interested.

        That would include the just over half the Liberal Party members who voted for their current leader. AFAIK, that was a secret ballot.

        No doubt there is a majority of Republican Party Representatives in the USA who are denialists. I could ask Tamino, how could you go about impeaching them?

  11. As an Australian that makes me pretty annoyed.

    I had never heard of Craig Kelly until now ( I thought I had an idea of who the main climate skeptics are in parliament). It is quite an absurd statement to make but there would be no chance for impeachment I am afraid.

    The best that can be done I think is to highlight to people in his seat that that specific political party has a strong denial membership. I hope that SkS does a piece on it also.

    • Alex the Seal

      The climate sceptics in the Liberal Party have gone deep underground in the name of party cohesion – this is a wedge issue for them. They have all been very tight lipped since installing Abbott as leader.

    • Anger is probably a good motivational reaction but it’s not just Australians that suffer from politicians in denial. Here in Dorset UK my assessment is that our county’s parliamentary representation is but one step from being entirely composed of denialist Tory MPs with the local councils all dominated by co-partisans of a similar stripe.
      That makes me also pretty angry.

  12. Why would the residents of one of Australia’s main coal-producing regions impeach the guy for trying to keep their industry alive?

    The reason the Liberals won this seat is that Labor ditched the mining unions in favor of greenhouse gas emissions. Of course he’ll be a denialist- his electorate’s economy depends on it.

  13. Also, Watts apparently does not know the difference between a heat “sink” and a heat “source”

  14. In certain circles AGW is a taboo subject in Australia as the deniers have been fanatically active for many years using newspapers such as the Australian. The liberals (read republicans) have been captured by deniers to the extent that a previous leader was forced out on the issue of dealing with AGW. They then mounted a ferocious campaign against the government’s carbon tax that is only now abating because the wildly stupid statements by their leader were just too ridiculous for sensible people to take any notice of (“Whyala will cease to exist”) and even our notoriously dozy main stream journalists started asking real questions.

    I almost think there is a concerted effort to ignore it and it will go away.

    I’m not sure how much of an effect the bushfires will have on people’s thinking as us Australians really don’t like change and thats the nub of responding to AGW. Despite that there are some brave and great Australians standing up to the fanatics.

  15. When Australian’s get called out for rubbish like that they complain of being denied ‘free speech’. Which is nonsense of course. What they mean is that they don’t want anyone to contradict them.

    I’d never heard of Craig Kelly but our government and opposition parties have more than their share of weirdos – but they are a minority thankfully. We had at least one MP who was a young earther. The shadow minister for science, Sophie Mirabella, is my local MP, I hate to admit, and she’s pretty much anti-science through and through and has no saving graces.

    • Sou: that seems to be typical of what I call the radical, fringe “free-speech loonies”: to speak up, in response to their rubbish, is an infringement of their free speech. It seems that they think “free speech” means “freedom to speak unopposed“. And, of course, it is a freedom they only bestow upon themselves.

  16. Very Good poster from Australian activist group GetUp – the cranks do not speak for us all.

  17. Sou, I think the word ‘graceless’ was coined specifically for your local member. She’s awful – far from saving graces, she seems to lack even minimal social graces. I, of course, can hold my head high with such world class luminaries as Cory Bernardi “representing” my state. If only. Loony is a probably better word than luminary.

    Craig Kelly (I had to look him up and *now* I remember him) is one of those toe-the-line repeat-the-accepted-mantras who knows nothing except ….. the names of everyone who matters in his district and on the state council.

    • Horatio Algeranon

      “The Looninary”
      — by Horatio Algeranon

      The man, he is a looninary
      A veritable “guiding Luna”
      His call and dive are legendary
      On par with Charlie Tuna

  18. My first question, and I am Australian, is who the heck is Craig Kelly? However, I am not surprised to hear of such stupidity given the burgeoning numbers of Australian deniers spurred on by a few cool La Nina years. Flummoxed by the heat and throwing punches in the wind, who better to lead them on than The Australian’s environment editor Graham Lloyd. I could link but it is all too stupid. Anyway, Graham Readfearn does a neat dissection on Lloyd in ‘Murdering a scientific paper on sea-level rise – the Graham Lloyd way’.

  19. Horatio Algeranon

    “Burning down the house”
    — Horatio Algeranon’s parody of the “Talking Heads”

    Watts up?, you might get what you’re after
    Cool babies, denyin’ but not a denier
    I’m a Kloor-dinary guy
    Burning down the house
    Hold tight, wait ’till the century’s over
    Hold tight, we’re in for nasty weather
    There has got to be a way
    Burning down the house
    Here’s your trick, a pack of lies, time for bloggin’ overboard
    Obfuscation is here
    Close enough but not too far, maybe you know where you are
    Fightin’ fire with liar
    All wet, hey you might need a braincoat
    Shakedown, schemes walking in broad daylight
    We’re lookin’ at three to five de-grees
    Burning down the house

    It was always a crazy place, I only listen to myself
    Gonna come in first place
    Scientists on their way to work said, “Baby what did you expect?”
    Gonna burst into flame, go ahead

    Burning down the house
    My blog’s re-al-i-ty contrary
    That’s right, don’t want to alert nobody
    Some posts sure can sweep me off my feet
    Burning down the house
    No visible means of support and you have not seen nothin’ yet
    Everything’s stuck together
    I don’t know what you expect staring into the internet
    Fighting fire with liar

    Burning down the house
    Burning down the house
    Burning down the house

  20. I read the Honourable Craig Kelly’s article. It is a strange one equating Sydney with Australia and denying something which was not claimed, but it has got him some publicity; I had never heard of him before. He says some very strange things in it, but mostly just repeats the usual statements like the claimed lack of warming for the last 16 years.
    As other Australians have said, he can’t be impeached under Australian law. Anyway, I suspect there are current sitting politicians in the US who are just as bad.
    I hope that one of the more realistic Liberal members of parliament becomes the leader of the opposition before the next election. Mr. Abbott is a fine man, but I prefer not to have him as our next Prime Minister.
    Fortunately I think there is little chance of Mr. Kelly becoming leader.

  21. Watching the Deniers

    There can be no question the Liberal National Party is the party of denial: there is a reason we often jokingly refer to them as the Tea-Party lite.

    The WUWT article in question is a woeful example of cherry picking a single data point, and as Tamino pointed out.

    We shouldn’t be impeaching Kelly: we should be working dam hard to ensure the LNP under Tony Abbott – he of the “climate change is crap” school of belief – does not gain government.

    While there are many issues concerning Obama’s lack of response, the US (and by extension the planet) dodged an even worse bullet had the Romney-Ryan ticket won. What slim change of any coordinated action on climate change at a global level would have been inconceivable.

    The same applies to Australia: the LNP offers the same “free market’ solutions, trickle down economics, anti-science agenda and will work to undermine mitigation efforts, open up the country to mining and strip away environmental protections.

    This has been the exact same pattern all LNP state governments have followed in the last few years.

    I comment Tamino’s comments, and share his sentiment.

    But there is something more than rotten in the state of Australia: an entire political party willing to not only ignore the science, but put its constituents and their children at risk.

  22. “Anyway, I suspect there are current sitting politicians in the US who are just as bad.”

    Nothing surer.

  23. Regarding Watts, someone posted an amusing quip about him a few days ago (I forgot where — didn’t make a mental bookmark):

    “He wouldn’t know a baseline from a clothesline”.

  24. Anyway, I suspect there are current sitting politicians in the US who are just as bad.

    Even worse, I’m afraid — watch the new Science Committee Vice Chairman (US House of Representatives) in action:

  25. Climate science denial is thoroughly entrenched within conservative politics and it’s a rare member of the Liberal/Nationals coalition that dares to say it actually exists, or if it does that doing anything about it could possibly be better than doing nothing. Their current leader has assured Australia that his support for the coal industry is absolute. The unstated corollary is that the climate consequences are irrelevant to the activities of the world’s largest coal exporter. And his co-leader Warren Truss, the leader of the Nationals, for example claimed the bushfires produced more emissions than coal burning, which besides being false (at that point emissions from annual coal burning was 50 times that released from bushfires) passes over the obvious that emissions from fires is followed by absorption from regrowth. Mainstream media has made little or no effort to fact check and question Warren Truss in light of those facts.

    This kind of misinformation and ignorance about the most important environmental issue ever is worn by these people as a badge of honour. It’s a declaration of loyalty to the commercial interests that are their backers, interests that decide what to believe and promote, not by the strength of knowledge and science, but by how it impacts their short term costs, competitiveness and profitability. Through the support of senior mainstream political leaders and an amoral and irresponsible media climate science denial is given a legitimacy and respectability that makes it surprisingly resilient in the face of climate data that consistently supports the scientific consensus.

    • “passes over the obvious that emissions from fires is followed by absorption from regrowth”

      Not only that, but emissions from fires are emissions of carbon that was relatively recently absorbed from the atmosphere. The problem with burning fossil fuels is not the fact that it releases carbon, it’s the fact that it releases carbon that has been sequestered for millions of years and is therefore adding very rapidly to the total amount in the system.

      • Bushfires can release carbon that has been stored for fifty years or more.

        not good

      • I did say “relatively”. Besides, it’s almost certainly carbon that would have been released at some point anyway in the not-too-distant future. The point is that comparing it with fossil carbon is disingenuous, much like comparing fossil fuel emissions with the total carbon flux each year.

  26. Impeach?
    Still believe there is a place for these legal niceties while the planet burn? The Laws of Physics won’t reward those who try to comply with The Laws of Humans while bandits uses said laws to burn the planet for their own selfish profit.

    Deciding to be a climate denialist must bring unpleasant consequences. This is how behavior and thinking change when reason and honesty fails to do so.

  27. email reply from Craig Kelly.

    Hi John,

    Thanks for the link.

    It amazing how a few historical facts have upset a small handful of people.

    Perhaps we are best to round up all Watkin Tench’s record’s and burn them, so they are never repeated again.


    Craig Kelly
    Federal Member for Hughes

    explained his confusion again between syndey temp and an average temp for the whole continent and replied , may not hear again

    So he did not even get it when he read tamino’s post, this person is in denial

  28. Hi Bernard j, have been following up on Queensland’s climate change minister and denier Andrew Powell, he may be ( not yet positive) a member of a religious cult ” Brisbane christian fwellowship” sunshine coast branch as exposed some years ago by 4 corners, he has said a few times that he is a christian in a local fellolwship church, he lives at palmwoods, only a few kms from the church at forest glen,
    if this is the church then as Fielding was controlled by The AOG, this powell
    is controlled by the BCF

  29. The guy is just expressing a point of view. He may be wrong, but that is no reason for impeaching him. If every elected official who is wrong about something were to be impeached, we would have very small legislative bodies in the West. You guys need to lighten up. His point of view is certainly a minority, but so what? Is that so terrible?

    • Yes. The reason is that he appears to be willfully ignorant on a crucial matter of public policy–and as an elected representative, he has undertaken to act in the public interest. IMO, he is displaying unfitness for his office.

  30. Wow, Watts has just published one of the most disgraceful things I have ever seen (even by his standards). He’s tried to diminish (via some clown) the extent of the current Australian heatwave by claiming a reduction in tick infestation is good for the country. How many lives need to be wrecked? Hopefully there will be a backlash to this garbage.

  31. Theo van den Berg

    Today, the Bureau of Meteorology in AUS has made a clear statement about the current heatwave. Maybe Mr Kelly should consult our own government scientists before making silly claims.

    “Australia has started 2013 with a record-breaking heat wave that has lasted more than two weeks across many parts of the country. Temperatures have regularly gone above 48°C, with the highest recorded maximum of 49.6°C at Moomba in South Australia. The extreme conditions have been associated with a delayed onset of the Australian monsoon, and slow moving weather systems over the continent.”

    Full article/statement is on “The Conversation” website at
    and clearly points the bone at global warming. 49.6°C is the highest of their official sites, but the mercury has already been above 52°C on my property in NSW. No need to impeach Mr Kelly, cause he will probably get a hiding from his own party.

  32. There has been some discussion relevant to the Australian situation here ( and here (

    The quantity of garbage vs reasonable reactions is astounding. Still, you have a pattern of denial that continues.

    I’d love to see your commentary on the BOM’s statement. Even if it’s a ‘yep, we’re toast’ comment, the list of records broken seems darn impressive to me as well as the statement in ‘theconversation’ where “The records set last week sit between two and three standard deviations above the long-term January mean of 35°C.”

  33. Well that wasn’t long…

    Today Sydney had its hottest day on record, with temperatures of above 45.C (114F) recorded across the city.

    [Response: I wonder how far above. The BoM reports the temperature reached 45.4 C back in 1939, on Jan. 14.]

  34. Observatory hill in sydney just hit 45.7 degrees centigrade, which is a record (previous record was 45.3 in 1939)

    [Response: That answers that question.]

  35. Alex the Seal

    Just to put 42.3º into a bit of perspective: The mercury hit 45.3 degrees Celsius at Observatory Hill at 2.27pm, equal to Sydney’s hottest day in 1939.

    Sydney Airport recorded 46.4C at 2.32pm.

  36. The record tumbled today. So I guess by his own logic, Kelly has confirmed global warming is real…

  37. Well Sydney has just hit 45.8°C breaking the 1939 record for highest temperature as well as the much lower (but aparently highly regarded) 1790 figure as well. Guess it must be all the heat sinks (which seem to be extending their influence across most of NSW today).

  38. And now to top it off, Sydney today broke it’s all time record temperature – recording 45.8°C (114.4°F) at Observation Hill (a knoll overlooking the harbour).

  39. It reached 45.8°C in Sydney today.

  40. I can confirm that it is extremely bloody hot here in Sydney today.

    All we are waiting for now is a story in The Australian to explain that it was once hotter on the sunny side of Mercury, that there’s an urban heat island effect that affects the entire, sparsely populated continent of Australia, and that all the temperature measurements ever taken by anyone in the entire history of the Earth, except those done by Watkins Tench after his lunchtime tot of rum on December 7, 1990, are all hopelessly wrong, so there’s no need for alarm unless you’re a Stalinist enviro-Nazi.

    Any moment now…

  41. Craig Kelly has emailed me and wants to learn, we will take it slowly and hopefully get there

    none of the correspondence with him will be posted anywhere

    john byatt

  42. Lars Karlsson

    Record in Sydney? Time for Kelly to write another guest post at WUWT: “It was warmer in Melbourne [or wherever] in 1264 [or whenever].”

    And at least the ticks don’t fare well in the heat.

    And on the same theme, some weapons-grade stupidity from James D.

  43. John,
    Please pass on my regards to Mr. Kelly. He has taken some abuse here, but his willingness to learn is commendable. If he can enter this endeavor with an open mind and an open heart, he will have achieved something rare in a politician and will have my respect.

    • will do, I see it as a huge responsibility,If we do not get there I will see that as my failure not his. one on one with another layman, with a guy that does cherish his children and their future is a good start

  44. Best wishes to Australians from the Arctic, wish you some normal weather.
    A respite from clouds.

    Would it be possible for someone from there to comment on how unusual the sluggish or stagnant weather patterns is? It resonates quite well with what is going on in the Northern Hemisphere, say from 2003 Paris Heat wave to 2010 Russian heat wave and the 2012 US massive and ongoing drought. There seems to be a slow down in circulation in the Southern hemisphere as well. But we read very little about it.

    By the way John Cleese is in Australia I am sure he is having fun with the local contrarians and the WUWT very lacking in Climate skills gang, totally unable to realize that they don’t have a clue about what they are talking about, but always looking like they are serious professional and well informed, as I always said they are hilarious, very good comedy material, I expect them to continue providing good laughs for years to come. Another Monckton tour in Australia will surely follow Cleese to cash in the true contrarian crowd.

    • Australia has started 2013 with a record-breaking heat wave that has lasted more than two weeks across many parts of the country. Temperatures have regularly gone above 48°C, with the highest recorded maximum of 49.6°C at Moomba in South Australia. The extreme conditions have been associated with a delayed onset of the Australian monsoon, and slow moving weather systems over the continent.

      • Hi MIke

        Well read, it was informative, but not what I am use to, I am looking for a study or essay with respect to circulatory rossby wave patterns pertinent to this heat wave.. Geography makes the Southern Hemisphere very different than the Northern, and it would be good to see the main pattern changes causing this event. I am trying to understand the larger picture.

  45. Apparently, temperature shot up today in Sydney to 45.7C, rendering Kelly’s argument moot, maybe even leaving him with egg all over his pretty little face.

  46. Yep, the record temperatures from earlier this month were just beaten again.
    Yesterday was yet another day of scorching winds and fires everywhere.
    Smoke-filled skies have been a feature of this summer, and the awesome work by State and Federal governments to identify, coordinate and respond to these fires has been very impressive. As of last night, there was only one fire in NSW that was out-of-control and threatening habited land.

  47. I recommend Watkin Tench’s ‘1788’ to any Australian reading this blog as one of the most outstanding journals in Australia’s history, and a fascinating insight into the early days of the colony. He was a remarkable man.

    It is a great read. There are some shocks in it, too – Governor Phillip’s punitive expeditions, anyone?

    Using it to ‘prove’ there’s been no AGW in Australia, on the other hand, is just bizarre. It’s hard to imagine a clearer sign of desperation…

  48. The plot thickens

    Chief Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery — who edited and introduced a reissue of Tench’s writings (1788) —  told Crikey the report did not cite Sydney’s temperature at all.
    “The record heat was recorded elsewhere. The national average temperature was also record breaking,” Flannery said. “Sadly the planet continues to warm. Myself and all the climate scientists I know wish it were otherwise

  49. Wayne, about the sluggish weather patterns in Australia. Adelaide’s record heatwave 5 years ago seems to fit the ‘sluggish’ pattern. We’re no strangers to high temperatures, but that two weeks was really something. Of course, what that report doesn’t tell you was that there were a couple of 40+ days in there just to keep us interested. We had to rent refrigerated vans to supplement the morgue facilities. But driving around the city was the real impact – it was during our Arts Festival.

    Adelaide is usually a city of footpath cafes, even more so when big events like this are on. You could drive or walk just about anywhere without seeing another person on foot, nor sitting around “enjoying” the outside ambience. Of course, all the usual construction workers were out of the picture as well – the conditions were so far outside the OHS restrictions that even the not-very-compliant contractors were inside keeping cool. It was so, so quiet.

    How many standard deviations off the average is one in 3000 years for this kind of event? I’ve never found a BOM reference for this.

    [Response: For the normal distribution, a 1-in-3000 event is 3.4 standard deviations from the mean.]

  50. I can confirm at Sydney airport the temp on Friday maxed out just above 46 deg C.

    The Bureau of Met confirmed that the temperature record wasn’t just pipped. It was smashed to smithereens. Temp records are rare, and are set (according to the Bureau) in increments of around 0.1 deg C, but this one was smashed by around 0.5 deg C.

    None of this of course changes the average denialist mentality here down under, that this summer is “nothing unusual” because “summer is always hot”.