Address by Dr Richard Denniss to the National Press Club

I’ll start with a confession. I would like to confirm that like my esteemed colleague I am not, and have never been, a climate scientist. I am an economist who has watched the way we develop policy for many years. And I am also a citizen, an employer, and a father who on a regular basis has to make hard decisions. I’ll start with an analogy. Imagine you went to your doctor and they diagnosed skin cancer and recommended an immediate and unpleasant course of chemo and radio therapy. No doubt you would have questions and you might even seek a second opinion. But what if the second and third opinion confirmed the diagnosis and treatment? Now imagine after weeks of appointments you found a doctor who didn’t think that you had skin cancer at all, and even if you did that the best treatment was an herbal remedy. What would you do? What if one of your friends suggested that you go back and test if the first doctor really knew what they were talking about by asking them: “If I get sunburned, today where on my body will my next skin cancer appear, and on what date will it arrive?” I reckon most people would go with the science, even if the treatment is unpleasant. I bet our friends and families would encourage us to go with the evidence-based treatment. Call me old fashioned, but it just seems like common sense to me. Because anyone can ask tricky questions, but sometimes we need to make hard decisions in an environment of uncertainty. To read the rest of the speech, please download it.

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