Family First Senator Stephen Fielding has just returned from a study tour in America and is now undecided about the effect of carbon emissions on global warming.
While the solar flares debate, which Senator Fielding has recently cottoned on to, has been around for many years, no evidence exists to link them to the current warming, according to Graeme Pearman, former chief of atmospheric research at the CSIRO. Pearman goes one to say that solar flares are not likely to be a major factor for the next 90 years or so.
Senator Fielding states he's open-minded about the situation and will be asking Climate Change Minister Penny Wong to "explain why what they've put forward isn't credible". His main concern is, "what happens if what they're saying is true?".
This author's scientific accomplishments are somewhat restricted to computer science, but few will agree with the view that reducing carbon emissions will make matters worse.
The crux of the matter is alluded to by Phil Chapman, an Australian-born geophysicist and former NASA astronaut scientist, who warns against policies to reduce carbon emissions as "the climate has simply not been warming since 2002.". Chapman adds "until we do know [whether warming will continue] it is really foolish to start spending money."
The 157-year view paints a rather different picture though.
The picture is very clear when you look at who Senator Fielding gets his information from. The Heartland Institute is an organisation that publishes articles explaining that air pollution levels far higher than any we experience in the United States are perfectly safe and proposing that cigarette taxes be reduced to zero, dismissing second-hand smoke as a non-issue.
The Heartland Institute's Wikipedia entry identifies them as a member organization of the Cooler Heads Coalition, "an informal and ad-hoc group focused on dispelling the myths of global warming.
Further, this non-profit organisation is funded by individuals and corporations, including at least US$190,000 from Philip Morris USA and US$676,500 from ExxonMobil, according to SourceWatch.
So here we have it, a Senator espousing the 'truths' of a debatably independent research organisation that is a member of an organisation that openly dismisses climate change issues and takes money from those organisations who seem to benefit greatly from their publications.
Other sources: ABC News.