Dinosaur extinction proof humans aren't behind climate change - Pauline Hanson

Dinosaur extinction and Pauline Hanson
Pauline Hanson says humans weren't around to kill off the dinosaurs. Photo credit: Getty/AAP

Pauline Hanson says humans had no part in the extinction of the dinosaurs, and that's proof manmade climate change isn't real.

The far-right Australian politician made the bizarre claim in an interview with Nine Network's morning news show Today on Tuesday.

The One Nation leader was explaining why she backed a proposed coal mine in central Queensland, at a time when scientists are saying we should be reducing the use of fossil fuels.

Hanson began by falsely claiming there was no peer-reviewed scientific research that suggests human activity is behind climate change.

"This has been a fact of life right from the time that Earth was here in place," she told host Deborah Knight.

"There was once an ice age. There was once a flood throughout Australia here - water, it was all through central Australia. People weren't around at that time. We didn't have the industrialists here in this country at that time…

"What happened to the dinosaurs, how did they die off? Humans didn't create it."

Pauline Hanson.
Pauline Hanson. Photo credit: AAP

Hanson is right in that humans did not create the asteroid generally believed to have ended the dinosaurs' reign about 66 million years ago. Climate may have played a part too, with a series of huge volcanic eruptions from India's Deccan Traps coinciding with the mass extinction, perhaps triggered or made worse by the sheer force of the asteroid's impact.

But those were extreme and rare events. The scientific consensus is that since the Industrial Revolution, more and more carbon has been emitted into the atmosphere with the burning of fossil fuels, directly coinciding with a gradual increase in temperatures worldwide.

The increase in temperature puts more energy in the climate, leading to stronger and more frequent storms. Thermic expansion and the melting of the world's polar caps are also making sea levels rise, putting coastal communities at risk.

Hanson - without evidence - accused scientists of hiding the truth.

"They haven't released the true facts and figures as far as temperature changes over the years. They've fiddled with facts and figures. This has been manmade, this fearmongering about climate change."

The latest figures show there are now more than 410 parts per million (ppm) of carbon in the atmosphere, the highest it's been in the past 800,000 years according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Though it's fluctuated regularly over that time, the previous peak was only 300ppm.

Carbon in the atmosphere over the past 800,000 years.
Carbon in the atmosphere over the past 800,000 years. Photo credit: NOAA

Volcano-linked climate change has been linked to a mass extinction even more devastating than that which killed off the dinosaurs - the Great Dying of 252 million years ago.


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