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The Coalition Environment Committee

Last October, the “Coalition Environment Committee” invited 5 people to address them before a Parliamentary Information Session sponsored by the Global Change Institute and the University of Queensland was to be held the next day.

One was Ove Hoegh-Guldberg whose expertise is coral reefs under thermal stress.  Another was John Church who is a leading authority on sea-level rise caused by global warming whose crucial research became a casualty of the funding cuts to the CSIRO in May this year.  They were joined by Mark Howden, vice chair of the International Panel on Climate Change whose specialty is impacts of climate variability and change on agricultural and urban systems and the development of innovative and sustainable farming systems.

Also invited were Bob Carter and Jennifer Marohasy.  Both of these people are sceptics who have been funded/employed by the IPA.   Carter also received $1,667 a month from the Heartland Institute.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, IPA Executive Director John Roskam confirmed the IPA’s key role in supporting Australian climate sceptics.  “Of all the serious sceptics in Australia, we have helped and supported just about all of them in their work one way or another,” he says, listing some prominent figures on the local circuit. “Ian Plimer – we launched his book – Bob Carter, Jo Nova, William Kininmonth.”

Marohasy began working for the IPA in 2003 to work on Murray River issues.  In June 2004 it was revealed that Australia’s largest irrigation company, Murray Irrigation Limited, contributed $40,000 to the IPA. The IPA’s environment unit director Jennifer Marohasy played a critical role in persuading a government committee to overturn recommendations to increase the volume of water released into the Murray River.

However, Marohasy did not disclose the donation to the committee.

In 2008, the IPA facilitated a donation of $350,000 by Dr G. Bryant Macfie, a climate change sceptic, to the University of Queensland for environmental research. The money was to fund three environmental doctoral projects with the IPA suggesting two of the three agreed topics.  George Bryant Macfie was described as a “medical doctor and philanthropist” and a “long-standing IPA member.” Announcing the grant, Macfie complained that “environmental activism” was akin to a new religion infecting science. “The crucifix has been replaced by the wind turbine,” he said.

At the time Macfie held 634,846 shares in Strike Resources Limited, making him one of the top 20 shareholders.  By 2010, Macfie had increased his shareholding to 800,000 shares.  Strike Resources is a Perth-based mineral exploration company which is seeking to develop an iron project in Peru and the Berau Thermal Coal Project in Indonesia.

Jennifer Marohasy states on her website:

“In September 2015, I was appointed a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA).    This followed the termination of my adjunct position at Central Queensland University (CQU) on 1st July 2015 because my work was ‘not well integrated into emerging research clusters’.

My work at CQU was wholly funded by the B. Macfie Family Foundation, and this will continue to be the source of funding for my employment at the IPA.”

So the Coalition was to be advised by three world renowned experts on the effects of global warming and two IPA stooges who have no qualifications in climate science and who are funded by vested interests.

I will leave is to Ms Morahasy to explain how the meeting went.

“At the meeting on Monday night Professor Carter stressed the need to pay attention to the scientific method, and in particular the importance of testing the null hypothesis. Meanwhile Ove Hoegh-Guldberg continually pointed to a thick tome which apparently represented the consensus of all IPCC scientists. Of course, this consensus is all about politics, not evidence or science.

My presentation focused on surface temperature data from Rutherglen, and how the Bureau of Meteorology has remodeled the observational temperature series, showing sustained cooling over the 20th Century, to show an apparent dramatic warming trend.

There was some discussion of the satellite data at the request of the committee chair, Craig Kelly MP. Luckily,I had a supplementary slide showing the last 17 years of data for Australia to September 2015, that I had downloaded the day before from Ken Stewart’s blog, https://kenskingdom.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/the-pause-september-update/

(Ken Stewart is a blogger and retired teacher with no science qualifications at all – KL)

I mentioned that it was a travesty that Minister Greg Hunt had prevented a proper inquiry into the Bureau last year, and suggested that the senators and members in the room needed to ‘wake-up’ and do something. Public policy, I suggested, needed to be based on real data/real evidence, not contrived temperature series.

After my presentation, Professor Howden began with slides indicating that because of climate change there had been a decline in crop yields. He was interrupted by one of the MPs who asked whether the charts on display represented actual real historical data, or output from a computer model. The Professor acknowledged that he was showing computer output.

At that point, I really wanted to applaud when several of the MPs promptly got up and walked out.

You might consider sending a note of thanks to one or more the following members and senators for attending. Craig Kelly MP, in particular, should be congratulated for organizing the meeting, and facilitating the discussion.

  1. Senator Eric Abetz, Liberal, TAS

  2. Dr Peter Hendy MP, Liberal, NSW

  3. Senator Zed Seselja, Liberal, ACT

  4. Craig Kelly MP, Liberal, NSW

  5. Warren Entsch, LNP, QLD

  6. Dr Denis Jensen MP, Liberal, WA

  7. Bert van Manen MP, LNP, QLD

  8. Nola Marino MP, Liberal, WA

  9. Andrew Broad, National, VIC

  10. Tony Pasin, Liberal, SA

  11. Brett Whitely, Liberal, SA

  12. Rick Wilson, Liberal, WA

  13. George Christensen, LNP, QLD

  14. Eric Hutchison, Liberal, TAS

  15. Sharman Stone, Liberal, VIC

  16. Mark Coulton MP, National, NSW”

Thanks for the list Jennifer.  It is handy to know who the drivers behind this criminal negligence are.  They are either extraordinarily stupid or complicit in the IPA’s deliberate campaign of misinformation paid for by vested interests.

I will indeed be dropping them a note but it won’t be of thanks.

14 comments

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  1. Divergent Aussie

    I told the ACT liberal senate candidate, Jane Hiatt, I would vote for her if she could tell me what the coalition environment policy was that the liberals took to the 1990 general election. She couldn’t. So I handed he a copy of the policy, titled, “A fair go for the environment”, which stated the coalition would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2000. I wonder what went wrong?

  2. Kaye Lee

    They obviously hadn’t run it by the IPA first.

  3. guest

    Dr Bob Carter’s book “Taxing Air: Facts & Fallacies About Climate Change” (Dingo Press) tells us about the fatuous, gobbledegook, deceptive approach of the author by its very title. Air is not taxed; it pays no taxes. Inside are cartoons which are supposed to debunk the IPCC’s claims about Global warming.

    As for the rejection of computer models, Carter uses them. He claims (p. 101) that “carbon dioxide is of limited potency and waning influence as its concentration increases.” And how does he know this? Through computer modelling (MODTRAN standard atmospheric model, University of Chicago).

    At the time of his book’s publication, Carter was Emeritus Fellow of the IPA.

    Professor Ian Eggleton at the time of publication of his book “A Short Introduction to Climate Change” (Cambridge University Press, 2013) was Emeritus Professor of the Australian National University. He says:”Surely there is a body of science that underpins those [sceptic] views. So why is none of it included in this book? The answer is because there is no such body of knowledge. I looked.”

    Later he challenges views put forward by Bob Carter, Ian Plimer and Jo Nova.

    Sceptics in the main rarely try to argue about the science. It is always about quibbling about words (eg ‘catastrophic’) and quoting ‘predictions’ out of context, or relying on statements which have been proven false. No coherent anti-warming science.

  4. Divergent Aussie

    From a 1990 IPA article “CSIRO scientists have been left free – despite the blatant conflict of interests involved — to participate in partisan environmental action' groups while simultaneously researching phenomena like theGreenhouse Effect’.” They obviously hadn’t. A very familiar agenda. Oh, and dioxins aren’t harmful, apparently, according to the IPA. LOL.

  5. Deidre Zanker

    Earth’s third pole, located in China, is experiencing unprecedented melting and disappearance of glaciers at an alarming rate. A Chinese research team has been tracking the effects of climate change at the pole for over 50 yrs. This is the first time they have released any of their research.
    Warming has reached the tipping point of 1.5°C at the third pole.
    Why isn’t the msm publishing this research? Earth is reaching a point of no return after which climate change will be unstoppable.

  6. Phil

    Thanks Kaye Lee – your research exposes the criminality that underpins the warming denialists. The wider their names spread around the internet, showing their connections and their conflicts with the facts, the truth and the science, the more damning will be the evidence underpinnig the criminal proceedings that are inevitable in the near future. The IPA will be a primary defendant in Australian proceedings.

  7. Miriam English

    Future students will read about the climate change denialists and shake their heads over how it could have happened that we are repeating the same stupid mistakes of Lysenkoism — destroying genuine science for the sake of politically motivated pseudoscience. We have the lessons right here before us, but our idiot politicians know nothing of the real world. For them it seems to be all about money. Money is their god. The mining companies give it, so they pander to their every wish. It doesn’t matter how badly the next generations will have to pay — screw them. The money is all that’s important.

    The one thing I hope comes out of all this is that we end up with severe penalties (prison time, not fines) for politicians who lie and cheat, and exceedingly fierce penalties for the crooks who bribe them (they should lose every penny and be sent bankrupt, because the bribes are always about making money).

  8. Kronomex

    Environment? What environment? We don’t see no environment. Donations, lots and lots and lots, ad nauseum of lovely money from big mining and other corporations.

  9. Graham Parton

    Professor Bob Carter won’t be any help to the climate deniers any more, he died in January 2016.

  10. mark

    Another 3 years may be the tipping point for all our childrens’ future.So very sad.mark

  11. Möbius Ecko

    Yet Graham Parton, Bob Carter’s misinformation and guff is still used by deniers and will be for a long time to come. It’s the way of the deniers to constantly recycle disproved and false cognitions.

  12. jim

    According to numerous studies, including one from the organization responsible for the ad series, the Wall Street Journal has failed to give adequate attention to the current state of climate science. Instead it offers a disproportionate quantity of attention to the small minority of deniers whose opinions have already been overwhelmingly discredited. In fact, a total of zero WSJ editorials since 1997 have acknowledged the contribution of fossil fuels to climate change. What explanation does the Wall Street Journal have for this? The American public and readers all over the world deserve to know why…..http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/07/21/climate-change-op-ed-wall-street-journal-simply-doesnt-need

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