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A Great Leap Backwards

By Ian Lowe

Queensland’s new government has reduced support for solar energy and resolved to ban the teaching of climate science in schools.

Ian Lowe is Emeritus Professor of science, technology and society at Griffith University.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Queensland, where I live most of the time, elected a Liberal–National Party government a few months ago. It seems to be doing a Great Leap Backwards.

The most bizarre sign was a resolution at the governing party’s recent state conference to ban the teaching of climate science in schools, reminding me of an equally ridiculous directive in the 1980s to teach “creation science”. At that time, most teachers ignored the government’s approval of pseudoscience – although it didn’t have the sort of support some elements of the Murdoch press are now giving to fringe groups still trying to discredit climate science. With some industry groups funding the distribution of glossy, misleading material to schools, there is a real risk of superstition prevailing over rigorous science.

The new Premier has cut government funding for large solar energy projects and closed down the agencies providing information about renewable energy and efficiency gains. The government also terminated the funding of the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), which provides legal aid to community groups fighting inappropriate developments, ironically in the same week that it announced it would spend much more than the EDO’s total budget supporting the High Court challenge to the Minerals Resource Rent Tax. The MRRT applies to iron ore and coal miners only and doesn’t cut in until annual profits...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.