Jensen skips climate forum, but takes questions from our reporter at tea

climate forum croppedGuinevere Hall

August 8, 2013

On Monday night I attended a Climate Round Table forum to be chaired by Professor Fiona Stanley with three panellists, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, Labor candidate for Perth Alannah MacTiernan, and Liberal Dennis Jensen, my local member in the seat of Tangney.

Dr Jensen is a well-known climate sceptic and I was keen to report more on his views. I was impressed that he had agreed to appear at the forum, which was well attended and mainly by people who seemed to be supporters of the Greens. I expected fireworks.

Unfortunately, amid calls of “shame, shame”, it was announced that Dr Jensen had withdrawn and no other Liberal had put up their hand to take his place.

On Wednesday I went to a morning tea hosted by Dr Jensen and decided to ask him why he had not attended and whether he was happy to answer the four questions put to the panellists. He said he’d pulled out because of a prior engagement that he could not break, but was happy to answer the questions:

Q. Do the panellists favour strengthening Australia’s greenhouse gas reduction targets beyond  per cent by 2020, and does your party have a realistic plan for how rapid post 2020 decarbonisation of the Australian economy will be achieved?

Jensen:  No, I do not favour strengthening greenhouse gas targets beyond 2020, and our plan goes to 2020, not beyond, which I believe is the same situation as with Labor.

Q. What will your party do to ensure just and equitable policies are implemented for all Australians including the poorer and more marginalised. Will your party commit to helping vulnerable people in developing economies adapt to potentially devastating climate impacts?

Jensen: I am not sure of the first part; I assume you are referring to this in terms of the climate change debate. In that case, the best thing to be done is removal of the carbon tax, and then making the workplace more flexible and productive.

We have committed to increasing aid to 0.5% of GNI. That aid must be effectively used, and the needs should be prioritised. If “devastating climate impacts” were to eventuate, either naturally or anthropogenically or naturally, then the need to address the consequences of that impact would push the need up the list of priorities.

Q. Do you agree to the recent report from the Climate Commission that 80 per cent of known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground if we are to keep global warming to below the internationally agreed safe level of two degrees?

Jensen: No, I don’t agree with this at all. As with most things Climate Commission, it is political dogma rather than science. There is no basis for the statement that they have made. The Climate Commission has serious credibility issues, and I would treat anything they said with a bucketful of salt.

Q. Climate change has been recognised as the biggest threat to our health this century. Will your party urgently transition to a coal-free economy on health grounds- or if not, do you accept that you are making a trade-off between short -term economic gains with the health of current and future Australians?

Jensen: I do not support forcing the phase-out of coal. I support energy research, and putting applying standards as far as particulates, and other damaging chemicals are concerned, for new-build plants, and get the older plants to comply as much as is reasonably possible given the technology that they employ.

The forum panellists also took one question from the floor: “Does your party support the 20 per cent renewable energy target?”

Jensen: The party position is to support the 20 per cent RET.



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  1. Firstly, I find Dr Jensen’s excuse unconvincing. At the least he could have provided a proxy. Is he afraid to front up to an audience where he may be unable to justify his stance?

    There are not credibility issues with the evidence of climate change now – there are just those who willfully refuse to acknowledge the facts.

    If Dr Jensen won’t accept information from our Climate Commission, he can consult overseas such as NOAA or NASA. NOAA is one of THE most credible sources on climate. Its indicators include greenhouse gas concentrations, temperature of the lower and upper atmosphere, cloud cover, sea surface temperature, sea-level rise, ocean salinity, sea ice extent and snow cover. Each indicator includes thousands of measurements from multiple independent datasets.from satellite data, ocean depth readings, extreme events an so on.

    Dr Jensen need only look here: satellite

    As for the: ‘If “devastating climate impacts” were to eventuate’…I suggest he start listening to the news.

  2. joy cooper says

    How can someone agree to attend an organised forum then, at the last minute, claim they have a “prior engagement”? Were they double booked? Sounds suss to me.

    Dr Jensen is not averse to nor shy about saying certain argumentative & controversial things to some people in Twitter so why did he really pull out of this forum? Not a good look.

    Keep up the good work Guinevere.although can you challenge Dr Jensen a wee bit harder re his beliefs?

  3. Why am I not surprised at Dr Jensen’s asinine responses…? Thanks Guinevere, for exposing such ignorance.

  4. what is he a doctor of?

    • John Englart says

      I think he specialised in working with Materials physics research – textiles. He has a science background, but it is certainly not based in climate science.

  5. Ha! Ha! The Liberals can’t even manage a diary, and they think they’re capable of managing the country!

  6. Saaq Madiq says

    Jensen is a tosser and just like Leader Abbott a liar and a coward. This mob of misfits should never govern this country, ever.

  7. Nice work, very good reporting. Thank you! :)