Good Morning Britain‘s weather girl Laura Tobin has outlined her extensive credentials and expressed her fury at Australia’s position on climate change following an online war of words with a Liberal MP.
Ms Tobin branded government backbencher Craig Kelly a “climate denier” when he was interviewed about the bushfire crisis on the UK show.
Mr Kelly was grilled by Good Morning Britain hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid over the coalition government’s stance on the Australian bushfire crisis.
The member for the New South Wales electorate of Hughes later took to Facebook to call Ms Tobin an “ignorant Pommy weather girl” who “doesn’t know what she’s talking about” in a since-deleted post.
Ms Tobin quickly responded on Twitter with the hashtag #notaweathergirl, outlining her impressive credentials (she holds degrees in physics and meteorology, and was a former aviation forecaster for the Royal Air Force) and followed up on Tuesday night with an interview on The Project.
Ms Tobin told The Project she was already infuriated by Australia’s position on climate change which was exacerbated by Mr Kelly’s comments on the show.
She said it was important for politicians such as Mr Kelly to be informed because Australia’s policies were impacting the world.
“I think everybody just needs to be informed and when I watched him having his interview with Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid I just felt really infuriated and suddenly had this outburst at the side of the studio,” she said.
“Because if he’s not informed and he’s setting all these policies – or lack of policies – then that has a massive effect not just in Australia but the whole world.”
After a heated exchange on UK TV, MP Craig Kelly tweeted “oh no some ignorant Pommie weather girl calls me a climate denier’. A post he later deleted. We caught up the "Weather Girl" @Lauratobin1 and it turns out, she's #NotAWeatherGirl pic.twitter.com/iz3tGnL8ca
— The Project (@theprojecttv) January 7, 2020
Ms Tobin blamed Australia for refusing to join international efforts at the Madrid Climate Summit in December to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees as glaciers melted and coral reefs died.
“The nation who stopped the signing of that was Australia,” she said.
“If you guys don’t sign this article, nobody can move forward and you’re not even going to commit to this new 1.5 degrees. Then saying that you just want to limit yourself to..two degrees.
“And actually you won’t even be able to meet that; you’re going to try and get carbon credits from other schemes and try and find a legal loophole.
“So I already was kind of a bit infuriated with the stance Australia have because I think a lot of people don’t know that yes, (you’re) a small nation…but per person you’re worse than America and China, just second in the world behind Saudi Arabia.
“Maybe he didn’t know that and maybe he didn’t like to hear that. But that’s the stark reality.
“I just felt enraged because he just doesn’t seem to understand the reality and the influence Australia does have in the world.”
Yes I’m a Meteorologist
-A degree in Physics & Meteorology
-4 yrs as an aviation forecaster at the RAF
-12 yrs as a broadcast meteorologist
-Attended a @WMO Climate course last year & upto date with all the science #NotAWeatherGirl #IKnowWhatImTalkingAbout#DoYou?#ClimateChange https://t.co/fvwTpzftTI
— Laura Tobin (@Lauratobin1) January 6, 2020
Mr Kelly was invited on Good Morning Britain to defend Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s trip to Hawaii and his own comments about climate change, oil and coal.
Mr Kelly’s appearance came after he told the BBC on Saturday that Australia’s bushfires were a result of a “drying” of the environment, but that Australian scientists had disproved any link between climate change and drought.
While Mr Morrison has stressed in recent days there is “no dispute” about the impact of global warming, Mr Kelly repeated his dissenting stance on Good Morning Britain, saying the bushfire crisis was due to a lack of hazard reduction burning.
The backbencher was called a “disgrace” by Morgan and told to “wake up”.
“To try to make out as some politicians have to hijack this debate, exploit this tragedy and push their ideological barrow, that somehow or another the Australian government could have done something by reducing its carbon emissions that would have reduced these bushfires is just complete nonsense,” Mr Kelly hit back.
“At the moment we want everyone to commit in the world to be one-and-a-half degrees to lower our global temperature rise. You can’t even commit to two degrees,” she said.
“You have the second-highest carbon emission per person on Earth and you are burying your head in the sand … this is a climate emergency.”
Morgan described Mr Morrison’s disaster response and decision to vacation in Hawaii as a “dereliction of his duty as leader of Australia”.
“The truth is, he was absent when the fires were burning. Scott Morrison thought the right response to these fires erupting in Australia was to go lie on the beach in Hawaii,” he said.
Watch the full interview below:
Mr Kelly repeated his assessment of the bushfire crisis and his on-air altercation on Tuesday morning during an interview with ABC Radio’s Tom Tilly.
“The weather girl had no idea what she was talking about,” Mr Kelly said in response to Tilley’s suggestion he had been “schooled” by Tobin.
When asked if he was embarrassed by his performance on Good Morning Britain, Mr Kelly said he was merely doing his duty as a government MP.
“We have had these disasters in the past. Everybody’s got behind the leader. Unfortunately, during this disaster, we’ve seen people trying to exploit it for political advantage,” he said.
Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud described Mr Kelly’s comments as a “sideshow”.
“He doesn’t represent the views of the government,” Mr Littleproud told reporters on Tuesday.
“I couldn’t give a rats what he said, it’s irrelevant; let’s just focus on those people that are out there that need our help.”
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also put Mr Kelly at arm’s length from the government.
“Our view of climate change is that it’s real. We accept the science,” Mr Frydenberg said.
While Mr Frydenberg said fuel loads had been a factor in the bushfires, he noted climate change was causing hotter, drier summers.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said he despaired of Mr Kelly’s comments.
“The tragedy is that he’s imposed those views along with a few others to ensure that Australia isn’t taking action,” Mr Albanese said.