The Coalition is fulfilling an election promise to dispense with the commission, saving taxpayers $580,000 this financial year and $1.6 million in following years.
The commission was axed as work also began to scrap the Climate Change Authority.
Mr Hunt said he had written to Professor Flannery and the other five commissioners, thanking them for their efforts and formally advising them of the decision, effective immediately.
“The Coalition believes it is the role of the Department of Environment to provide independent advice and analysis on climate change,” said Mr Hunt, “and that the role of the Climate Commission was duplicating the work of the department.”
The Climate Commission has been a controversial body. Established by the Gillard government in 2011, it was charged with providing Australians with “an independent and reliable source of information about the science of climate change, the international action being taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the economics of a carbon price”.
However it delivered reports with titles including the “angry summer” and “critical decade” which said climate change is already having a deleterious impact in Australia.
The reports were widely publicised and the commission was accused of running an agenda.
Macquarie University academics Ryan Crompton and John McAneney, for instance, responded to the “angry summer” report with a paper which said, in part; “any claim of a climate change influence on increasing disaster loss totals to date is simply unfounded and in contradiction to the international scientific evidence”.
However Professor Flannery said today there was a strong need for accurate information on climate change amid an increase in “propaganda” aimed at misinforming the public.
“I believe Australians have a right to know, a right to authoritative, independent and accurate information on climate change,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
He said Australia had endured the hottest 12 months on record, with last summer breaking more than 120 heat records across the country.
Professor Flannery said all commissioners would continue their work in one way or another, informing the Australian public that climate change is happening.
“We desperately need a well-informed public, especially in areas of complex policy,” he said.
Staff at the commission would be re-assigned.
Labor leadership contender Anthony Albanese said the government’s priorities were wrong and shutting down the climate body was a “step back in time”.
Professor Flannery’s part-time role as chief commissioner attracted an annual salary of $180,000.
Mr Hunt today also signed a departmental brief to close the Climate Change Authority, set up by Labor to provide advice on emissions targets. The move will require consultation with the authority and legislation to be passed by the parliament, which is due to return in late October or early November.
- Australia helps China build emissions trading scheme (craighill.net)
- Tim Flannery sacked as Climate Commission is disbanded (sbs.com.au)
- Tim Flannery defends Climate Commission after Government scrapping (abc.net.au)
- Flannery warns of propaganda war (smh.com.au)
- Hunt moves to abolish climate bodies (sbs.com.au)
- Hunt moves to abolish climate bodies (news.theage.com.au)
- Abbott abolishes Climate Commission (news.smh.com.au)
- The Abbott Counter-reformation: Climate Commission shut down (expect the war on science to get worse) (watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com)
- Coalition scraps Climate Commission, dispensing with Tim Flannery (theguardian.com)
- Coalition scraps Climate Commission, dispensing with Tim Flannery (oddonion.com)
- Battle lines forming in climate wars (theage.com.au)