Climate change and CHOICE

Why does CHOICE think it has the right to make some kind of stance regarding climate change. Choice is supposed to be an organization that defends consumer rights. What gives OUR organization, which surely represents the whole broader community, the right to make a a decision to get involved with this controversial and divisive subject. It is akin to football governing bodies getting involved in the SSM debate…wrong, wrong, wrong. And all the political banter about the pollies and their citizenship…what has that got to do with consumer protection.



Hi @bottville,

Thanks for the feedback and for highlighting this issue. I’ve responded to your concerns about political opinions being shared in this thread.

Regarding climate change, while the issue has certainly been politicised, it’s still a scientific issue. We’re an organisation that values science, which is why we have worked hard to become carbon neutral. It’s worthwhile considering that this is a cost saving measure, especially as the price of electricity continues to rise. This means that we can use more resources on consumer issues.

I hope this addresses your concerns but if not feel free to let me know.


Thanks for your response, Brendan. I can appreciate that Choice has decided to reduce its footprint which, as you say, is partly a cost savings measure… Science or not, it is still a political issue. You could have just said what you were doing without making a statement about climate change. You do not represent the whole of the Choice community. This is expressing the an opinion of the Choice hierarchy and whilst it may reflect the views of some of the Choice(general) community, it does not allow you,as an organization, to adopt a certain position on behalf of all your community. That is abusing your position in using Choice to push a certain agenda which might not be agreed to by all. I am not denying the rights of individuals to hold a certain belief, but I strongly object to Choice making a statement purporting to be supported by all. I say again…KEEP POLITICS OUT OF CHOICE


Consumer Advocacy is about politics and Law, and Law is written, debated, and passed by politicians. Choice has no choice but to employ political measures to achieve some of it’s goals. This may entail supporting and creating petitions, appearing before committees and various other political means. Climate Science has been politicized by various groups but the science still stands or falls on the peer reviewed studies conducted throughout the World. To date at least 97% of the studies undertaken have shown positively that Climate Change is occurring and is AGW (Anthropogenic, or human-caused, Global Warming). The less than 3% which deny the science are not only politically driven and paid for but have had their results soundly shown to be incorrect. [Went back to the papers to get the accurate %s]

I would also argue that Choice does have a right to express viewpoints that a majority of it’s members do support and those who do or do not agree can voice their approval or disapproval, say nothing, and/or choose to be a member or not. Do a majority of members support action on Climate Change? I do not know, but I am sure Choice has a good deal of feedback from it’s member base that allows it to voice an opinion.

In response to your comment below that every peer reviewed report for, there is a report against, that is incorrect. The figures are as I posted above, that is for every report that supports Global Warming there are less than 0.03 that disagree and that very small number continues to fall.

Finally, I may not support all of what you say and write but I do support your right to say & write it.


Hi grahroll,
You give the impression that you have done a lot of research on the subject, but methinks you have been duped in to reading only the studies that support it. For every one in support, you will find another with equally compelling arguments. Whether you believe it or not, (and I am not saying one way or the other, because that would be hypocritical to do so on the Choice platform), my point is that if you want to champion the climate change agenda, join the Greens and leave Choice do what it used to do exclusively…fight for consumer rights.


That is a fallacy. You would do well to peruse this.

While not being a climate scientist I worked among the climate research community for about 20 years and may be biased. Everyone I worked with was concerned with the quality and scientific rigour of their work, and they always questioned if they got it right and what they were and were not confident of, and why that was the case, which brought trust. Furthermore they freely admit what they do not know as well as what they do know, what they think they know, and qualify each accordingly.

As for computer models, on a global scale they have been frighteningly accurate in their predictions, although not very good in any particular place. (Do not confuse climate and weather.)

Divisive? Controversial? Perhaps for those in your circle, but not in mine. As the link above reviews, there is a lot of mis-information being peddled, not helped by the media who report it wrong, use it as click bait as often as not, and the result is people who accept rubbish as alternative fact or get hysterical.

If climate change and related climate sciences are controversial in your mind I doubt anyone will change your opinion, but I would ask what your opinion is and on what basis you formed it, and how much time you have spent with any credible researcher or studied the voluminous respected scientific reports that come to similar conclusions.

NOAA, NCAR, ECMWF, BOM-CSIRO, DKRZ, JAMESTEC, UKMO, EC, and a huge number of other alphabet organisations do real science and draw similar if not exactly the same conclusions. Then there is fringe science that is skeptical, but rather than being skeptical with real science that one could introduce to question the mainstream, they cherry pick data out of context. That makes people who are ignorant of how any of it fits together, and importantly how many unknowns there really are, run with it as gospel truth and are offended when called out on it.

Real scientists know what they do not know and freely admit it. Skeptics are completely sure of themselves, which given the evidence at hand is curious.


Hi @bottville, climate change can be political especially the policy response taken and the magnitude of such response.

However, like many other similar issues (like healthcare, education), there is also a scientific or research basis behind the politics, which is not political.

Like most science, particularly that relating to models and forecasting, there will always conjecture about the results and ultimate discussion. This is the principal of science. It is about testing a hypothesis until such time there is consensus about the matter.

Take atoms for example, the whole of chemistry is based on the consensus of what an atom looks like and behaves, even though humans have yet to see an atom.

Likewise with climate change, there will be debate to whether human induced climate change exists and the magnitude of the impact if it does. Climate change is not a new ‘idea’ as the world has been subject to significant climate changes in the past. Locally these have occurred through tectonic movement or general cooling leading to ice ages.

The argument at the moment is whether humans can influence climate through its activities. In some respects we already have impacted local climates through changes in land use/vegetation clearing which can affect local things like temperarures, rainfall, humidity, frost incidence etc.

Generally, being a scientist myself, there is consensus that human induced climate change exists from increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but there is still much conjecture about the real long term impacts. These long term impacts are based on models which forecast future climates. Climate is highly complex and many of these models, even though most show increased temperature to some scale, are unlikely to fully predict what a 1,2, 3°C etc increase in temperature does to local, national or world climates.

There have been some ‘scientists’ who have taken the worst case scenario models and used their media presence to portray ‘doomsday’ type situations, such as dams never filling again or most coastal areas flooding. Unfortunately these ‘doomsday’ portrayers do nothing to the real cause and create hysteria and ability of those still questioning climate change to use as examples of why it doesn’t exist.

Now, science is science and politics is politics…politivs is not science and science is not politics. It is best to keep them separate.


Irrespevtive of whether human induced climate change is real, it is good business practice to reduce ones environmental footprint or carbon footprint. Carbon footprint traditionally means reliance on fossil fuel based energy sources. Such energy sources are finite and are being depleted at an astonishing rate.

The question shouldn’t be whether one believes human induced climate change is real, but whether we should be depleting these fossil fuel resources. When we use fossil fuels we remove/reduce the opportunity of future generations to have such materials.

I believe that as a race, we should leave the world in a similar or better condition to when we started our own lives. It has been shown that since the industrial revolution, each generation is leaving the world a poorer place for future generations.

When a business or individual decides to try to reducd their carbon footprint, they become consumers of goods and services which do such. The consumption of these goods and services fall into the areas that Choice covers. Choice, while also being a consumer of these goods and services, can continue its historical role to protect the consumer from dubious products making one claim, but delivering something else.

I support Choice in this role and it is good that that have tried to reduce the carbon footprint of their head office, as they will have lessons with the experience that they can communicate to others.


Hi @bottville,

I understand your angst with regard to the topic of climate change, and I understand that my username will likely predispose your absorption of what I have to say. (I am considering changing it as many think I’m “just another greeny”. Hint: I’m not, I only choose to base my views on evidence, not on preconceived notions and biased reporting that can be written by the ‘left’ or ‘right’.)

Climate change isn’t actually political. It is a tangible, observable, and scientifically-explained phenomena that simply is happening. Do you still debate whether E=mC^2, or if gravity exists? Why would you still try and debate whether climate change exists? That debate ended. The debate that needs to happen now is how we move forward, which involves consumer advocacy AND political discussions. That is the society we live in, as an informed democracy.

There have been plenty of issues for consumers when supplementing their power consumption with renewable sources. This has been discussed on the forum previously, and was touched on in Choice’s carbon neutral statement. They have every right to accept the large body of evidence that shows climate change is currently happening, and to take measures to mitigate. This is not a political statement, this is merely acting on facts.


Hi natural,
Whilst I appreciate the time and effort you have put into your response, you and everybody else who have responded still seem to miss the point. Science or not, the whole issue of “climate change” is controversial and divisive, and has been a political hot potato(IMO) for a long period of time. I am not naive enough to suggest that the climate is not changing. What I object to is using CHOICE as a platform to push a certain agenda. I do not suggest that you don’t have a right to your opinion. I respect that. What I do object to is being bombarded with this when there are more appropriate forums to air your views. I am sure that would ensure that your efforts are directed to the foundation of Choice’s existence. If you cannot understand where I’m coming from, then there is no point continuing. Lets just agree to disagree.


Lets just agree to disagree.

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Any attempt to influence other people is politics. Any kind of activism is politics. Trying to guide government policy is politics.

Why do you choose to permit Choice and this forum to be political regarding some topics but not others?

“We fight for fair, safe, and just markets that meet the needs of people in Australia. CHOICE fights to hold industry and government accountable. Our campaigns achieve real change on the issues that matter to people in Australia.”

How can future markets be fair, safe and just if not informed by the consequences of climate change? How can industries that produce the most carbon pollution and lobby governments worldwide to ignore the effects of burning fossil fuel be held to account for their selfish folly if organisations like choice cannot act?

Climate change is one of the issues that matters most to me if my grandchildren are going to have a reasonable earth to live on. I would be greatly disappointed if Choice said “We must stay silent on this because, although the science has been settled, climate change has been politicized”. All the more reason to speak.


@bottville, if you have not already, please have a pause, re-read about and making things personal, and reflect.


Thanks for the reminder on our forum policies @PhilT. We don’t mind a discussion or a debate, but no personal attacks please.

@bottville’s point is correct in that CHOICE is not a political organisation in the sense that we do not carry out activity based on any preference to the scope of the political spectrum. Rest assured, consumers are the only motivation for CHOICE and not political agendas.

As noted, our work can and does happen at a political level. Whenever we meet with a political representative, we endeavor to convene with their shadow and other relevant stakeholders to ensure we uphold our standards of independence and also because in some cases we’re seeking bipartisan support anyway.

Unfortunately, some issues like climate change have become linked to political agendas. We appreciate going carbon neutral may evoke these agenda concerns to some people, but rest assured our decision to take this approach is not a political statement nor was it designed to elicit such responses. We are operating on simple tenets that have served our organisation for many decades, including following scientific evidence and prioritising our funds to better serve our core purpose.

Scientific evidence can change, people can disagree with it (from conscientious objectors to conspiracy theorists), and there are media, political and personal interests that can disrupt the process of getting things right. However, as an organisation, we typically preference scientific consensus, especially when it comes from so many reputable organisations and experts, even if that means some people disagree with us. In this case, we hope the fact that we’re saving money speaks to our purpose and to our detractor’s reasoning.

Still, some would no doubt argue that any discussion on climate change is inextricably tied to an agenda and therefore makes a statement. From our point of view, this broad definition encompasses almost every issue we take on to lesser and greater degrees. If we’re against added sugar, we must be totally against the food manufacturing industry or the agriculture sector. This is, of course, not the case but people will feel this way regardless of our intentions.

Apologies for the long-winded reply, but we take all member feedback very seriously and so I wanted to clarify some of the items being raised. One final point, this is a forum where individuals including CHOICE staff can post their personal thoughts, views and experiences. While we do generally like to keep things on consumer issues, occasionally there is a crossover with other issues, politics and items of national interest.

Within that framework, anyone can post just about any idea and for the record not everything that is written here is copied from, or written into, our organisational constitution. We welcome our supporters and followers to share their opinions in this forum too.


I just Love it when someone Voices AN Opinion. All Hell seems to Brake Loose after that. I think everyone should just Settle Down and Remember. I have my Opinion and everyone else is certainly Allowed to have their Stupid Opinion. Words and Rule that I Live by.


Hear hear. Politicising an issue does not mean it is not science, nor that it’s not in the consumer’s interest to defend. Arguably it makes it more so! Just wondering - is it also in Choice’s scope to explore and, if necessary defend, consumers’ rights to goods consumed in common such as clean air?


But lets keep science in Choice. Given that there is strong scientific evidence of climate change, then it is okay for Choice to assess at the practices of industry and business in reducing or increasing human impact on the planet.


That’s an interesting one @jenmdean, I’ll be sure to mention the idea to my colleagues.


As a long term member of Choice I accept that it is inevitable that many Choice campaigns will be “political” simply because in protecting consumers it is often necessary to change legislation or regulations. Some politicians will support and some will be against such proposed changes. Choice is essentially apolitical and arguing in support of consumers with reasoning backed by science and impartiality. Climate change per se is not my focus, although I find the evidence of it being a reality compelling. I am totally in favour of not squandering in a few hundred years the fuel that has been accumulated and stored over millions of years in the earth and using renewable energy sources instead. I value Choice speaking on my behalf. We only have one planet.


Certainly in the US there are a couple of Supreme Court cases against the Govt re the impact of Climate Change to US citizens. Further in the EU there has been at least one win against Govts about the consumer impacts of Climate Change. The reason for the cases and the at least one win is that the Science is so good and the political arguments fail in the face of that. If we destroy the earth what consumers are left for anyone to represent?