A new day in Oz

“The Australian government’s plan to take a lead at the Copenhagen summit have been thrown into doubt after the opposition Liberal party elected a self-confessed climate change sceptic, Tony Abbott, as leader.

The maverick, known for his conservative Catholic views and nicknamed the “Mad Monk”, seized the reins of the Liberal Party in an emergency party ballot on Tuesday, ousting Malcolm Turnbull in a narrow 42-41 vote.

His victory threatens to doom climate legislation championed by the Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd.

Mr Abbott, a former senior minister in the former Howard government, has been a fierce critic of the government’s cap-and-trade scheme to cut emissions which he labels a tax on Australians. …

“We will oppose the legislation in the Senate – that is the right thing to do,” he said, adding that he was “not frightened of an election on this issue”. …

Mr Abbot has ridiculed those advocating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as acting like “the Salem witch hunts” – crushing anyone who questioned the science of climate change.

He once called Mr Rudd “a toxic bore” because of his environmentalist zeal.

“I don’t say there aren’t problems, but I refuse to be terrified of the future,” Mr Abbot said recently.

“If you look at Roman times, grapes grew up against Hadrian’s Wall. In the 1700s they had ice fairs on the Thames.

“So the world has been significantly hotter, significantly colder than it is now. We’ve coped.” …

“I do feel humbled and daunted by what’s ahead,” Mr Abbot said.

“I also feel proud and exhilarated at the prospect of leading this great party into the next election.”” “‘Mad Monk’ Tony Abbott dooms Kevin Rudd’s Australian climate change bill

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