Australia

Professor Brian Cox clashes with Australian climate sceptic

  • 16 August 2016
  • From the section Australia
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Media captionProf Cox produced a graph to back up his argument

Professor Brian Cox has verbally sparred with a newly elected Australian politician who believes climate change is a global conspiracy.

The British physicist behind BBC's Wonders of the Universe was a guest on the adversarial panel show Q&A.

Also on the Australian TV show was senator-elect Malcolm Roberts from the anti-immigration One Nation party.

The celebrity scientist was dumbfounded by Mr Roberts' claim that climate change data was manipulated by Nasa.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. panel show puts politicians, commentators and experts from different fields in front of a live studio audience to face questions about the issues of the week.

Mr Roberts has previously claimed that the United Nations is using climate change to lay the foundations for an unelected global government.

Six graphics that explain climate change

Image copyright ABC TV's Q&A
Image caption The panel show brings different guests together to talk about the issues of the week

'Blue in the face'

A member of the audience asked Prof Cox to address Mr Roberts' request for proof of a human element in climate change.

"I could sit here and read out figures until I'm blue in the face," Prof Cox said.

"The absolute, absolute consensus is that human action is leading to an increase in average temperature. Absolute consensus. I know you may try to argue with that," he said to Mr Roberts, "but you can't."

Mr Roberts worked in coal mining and has an honours degree in engineering and a master's degree in business administration.

Throughout the show, the senator repeatedly called for "empirical data" proving that climate change was real.

At one point, Prof Cox produced a graph showing global surface temperatures of the past century.

Nasa 'manipulating data'

However, Mr Roberts said the climate data had been "corrupted".

"What do you mean corrupted?" Prof Cox asked.

Mr Roberts responded: "Manipulated".

"By who?" Prof Cox asked.

"Nasa," Mr Roberts said.

Image copyright ABC TV's Q&A
Image caption One Nation senator-elect Malcolm Roberts has argued that climate change does not exist

When asked earlier this month if he still believed the UN was trying to impose a worldwide government through climate change policy, Mr Roberts answered: "Definitely".

He also wrote a report in 2013 that detailed his rejection of man-made global warming.

Science Minister Greg Hunt was also on the show and was asked to clarify the government's position on climate change.

"All of these different organisations, I don't think they're subject to a collective folly, nor do I think that they're subject to some sort of conspiratorial collusion," he said.

"I respect the right of people to have different views, but we don't make our policy on that. Our policy is it's real and it's important and it's significant."

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