Appearing on Australian TV panel show Q&A on Monday, the British physicist and BBC science presenter challenged Malcolm Roberts’ claim that climate change data was manipulated by Nasa and global warming stopped more than 20 years ago. Professor Cox produced graphs to back up his analysis.
The row began after an audience member asked Cox to address Mr Roberts' request for evidence of a human element in global warming.
“I could sit here and read out figures until I'm blue in the face,” Cox responded.
“The absolute, absolute consensus is that human action is leading to an increase in average temperature. Absolute consensus. I know you may try to argue with that,” he said to Mr Roberts, “But you can’t.”
Mr Roberts responded by arguing there had been a “pause” in “so-called global warming” for more than two decades. He went on to ask Cox to present “empirical data” to prove the threat of climate change was real.
The BBC presenter responded by producing a graph of global surface temperatures of the past century to chart the trajectory of climate change to debunk Roberts' claims.
The senator later prompted laughter from the audience after he argued climate change data had been “corrupted” and “manipulated” by Nasa. The two continued to clash over the issue throughout the programme.
The politician has an honours degree in engineering and a master's degree in business administration and has worked in coal mining. He is the project leader of climate change denial group, the Galileo movement, and has previously claimed the United Nations is using climate change to lay the foundations for an unelected global government. He is a member of Pauline Hanson’s anti-immigration One Nation Party and was elected at the 2016 election.
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