Furor in Australia over Obama's closing remarks at G20 meeting

Although ignored by the U.S. media, Barack Obama has been severely rebuked by media and politicians in Australia, host country for the recent G20 meetings, for his remarks at the closing session.  The national newspaper The Australian (behind a pay wall, but excerpted here) reports:

Federal Coalition members are ... angry at the US President’s public intervention in the Australian climate change debate at the G20 last Saturday, when most of his remarks in the summit’s closed session on energy, where the issue was discussed, were devoted to US gas supplies and production that have been boosted by coal-seam gas and shale oil…

Senior Queensland government MPs are so angry at Mr Obama’s remarks about the Great Barrier Reef and his attack on coal production in a resources state that they are considering a formal complaint.

However, it is unlikely this will happen as informal messages were sent to the US delegation, ­declaring the President’s speech was not in keeping with that of a guest and ally…

Mr Obama said on Saturday that climate change “here in ­Australia” means “longer droughts, more wildfires” and “the incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened”.

“I have not had a chance to go to the Great Barrier Reef and I want to come back, and I want my daughters to be able to come back, and I want them to be able to bring their daughters or sons to visit,” the President said…

On Sunday, Premier Campbell Newman said he was not about to “criticise our guest” but added that Mr Obama had relied on misinformation and he would tell US officials about what was “actually going on with the reef”.

Queensland, which hosted the G20 meeting, is a major coal-producing and exporting area, shipping large quantities to Japan and China, and also boasts a huge tourism industry centered on the Gold Coast, where the beaches, surfing, and, yes, the Great Barrier Reef attract millions of tourists from Asia and elsewhere.  Queenslanders are justifiably proud of both industries, and well aware of the scare-mongering that has taken place over global warming.

Andrew Bolt, Australia’s most widely read political columnist, and a global warming skeptic, writes:

Is the Great Barrier Reef as damaged and threatened as scientists claim? The need for a formal quality assurance process.

Date/Time: Thursday 20th November

5.30pm Refreshments Served

6.00pm Presentation Commences

Location: George Kneipp Auditorium Building 26,

James Cook University Campus, Townsville

Professor Peter Ridd

College of Science Engineering and Technology

James Cook University

Considerable scientific and media attention has been focused on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), with claims often made that it has sustained considerable damage, and that its future is bleak. However the speaker and co-workers have demonstrated over the last few years that many important science papers that claim that the GBR has been damaged are either highly suspect or just plain wrong. Some of these questionable papers (with over 4000 citations between them and often quoted in the international media) will be discussed as well as other important papers for which there is a strong prime-facie case that the findings are questionable. Doubt will be cast on whether dredging, agricultural runoff, and climate change are having any significant effect on the GBR…

Hat tip: John McMahon