CLIMATE change sceptics in the Liberal Party will not be silenced despite Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull's contention there is ''overwhelming support … right across the board'' within party ranks for a carbon trading scheme.
The sceptics dominated debate on climate change in a meeting of the Victorian division of the Liberal Party yesterday.
One rank-and-file Liberal member was given rousing applause when he said global warming was a natural phenomenon and the theory that human activity had caused it was ''absolute rubbish''.
Another speaker said those proposing action on climate change were working towards creating a ''world government'', while a third said any engagement on the issue would signal that the Liberals had ''raised the white flag''.
The grassroots debate highlights the huge task Mr Turnbull faces as he tries to bring his party with him on amendments to the Government's carbon pollution reduction scheme.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd taunted Mr Turnbull in a speech on Friday, saying sceptics - ''world government conspiracy theorists'' - and the Opposition Leader were ''holding the world to ransom'' by sabotaging progress on a global treaty. Mr Rudd's attack came as international negotiators all but conceded there would be no agreement this year to satisfy both rich and poor countries at the Copenhagen summit next month.
But Mr Turnbull reiterated he was committed to action on climate change, and said Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and the Liberals' Ian Macfarlane were ''getting on very well'' in negotiations over amendments to the scheme.
Yet he would not comment on whether agreement would be reached or if his party room would approve a negotiated position.
He called Mr Rudd's speech ''slightly loopy'', and said the views of climate sceptics in his own party were ''beside the point''