LABOR candidate for Calare Jess Jennings has challenged incumbent John Cobb to a public debate about Australian agriculture and climate change in Bathurst on August 29, but Mr Cobb’s chair will be empty.
Mr Cobb told the Central Western Daily he wouldn’t be debating with Dr Jennings as he is “not in the business of helping promote other candidates”.
“If I have to do one I have to do the lot and it is patently ridiculous,” Mr Cobb said.
“I am doing my own thing.”
But Dr Jennings, who has a doctorate in agriculture, says Mr Cobb, who potentially could be the next minister for agriculture after the election, has an obligation to show the voting public he has an understanding of fundamental climate change science and related policy.
Dr Jennings said Mr Cobb’s recent comments on national television that China does not have an emissions trading scheme (ETS) indicated Mr Cobb did not have an understanding of national and international climate change issues.
“China does not have an emissions trading scheme, although there is some trialling in the provences in China, and I’m standing by my comments,” Mr Cobb said.
However, Dr Jennings said Mr Cobb had not recognised China was serious about an ETS, having launched the first of seven pilot carbon trading schemes in Shenzhen in June this year.
“China does plan to expand these pilot schemes into a nationwide trading scheme which will add to the strong growth of global carbon markets,” Dr Jennings said.
“These things should be basic knowledge for any minister for agriculture and Mr Cobb seems completely unaware of international efforts to mitigate climate change through government policy.”