As talk of terrorist grooming and foreign influence in elections and policy making resounds throughout the media, not enough attention is paid to the political influence, grooming and propaganda being used by environmental vandals and their lobbyists.
The success of the IPA in influencing the climate change debate will likely kill far more people than any terrorist organisation.
First they got to Nick Minchin.
In 2007, one month after the IPCC delivered its strongest warning yet that humans were causing global warming, finance minister Senator Minchin publicly expressed serious doubts global warming was influenced by humans.
He quoted some columns written in a Canadian newspaper and a critique written by Bob Carter. According to an article published by the SMH at the time:
Professor Carter, whose background is in marine geology, appears to have little, if any, standing in the Australian climate science community. He is on the research committee at the Institute of Public Affairs, a think tank that has received funding from oil and tobacco companies, and whose directors sit on the boards of companies in the fossil fuel sector.
Professor Carter told the Herald yesterday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had uncovered no evidence the warming of the planet was caused by human activity. He said the role of peer review in scientific literature was overstressed, and whether or not a scientist had been funded by the fossil fuel industry was irrelevant to the validity of research.
“I don’t think it is the point whether or not you are paid by the coal or petroleum industry,” said Professor Carter. “I will address the evidence.”
A former CSIRO climate scientist, and now head of a new sustainability institute at Monash University, Graeme Pearman, said Professor Carter was not a credible source on climate change. “If he has any evidence that [global warming over the past 100 years] is a natural variability he should publish through the peer review process,” Dr Pearman said. “That is what the rest of us have to do.” He said he was letting the fossil fuel industry off the hook.
Of Senator Minchin’s letter, he said: “I am worried that a federal minister would believe this crap.”
A couple of years later, powerbroker Minchin, dismayed with Turnbull’s acceptance that climate change was real, organised his overthrow, installing a more compliant Tony Abbott as ‘leader’, or should I say follower of the IPA’s agenda.
Abbott loved to quote Ian Plimer, a mining geologist who has been a director of numerous mining companies and is on the board of Gina Rinehart’s iron ore and coal mining companies and who has written a couple of denialist books.
In February 2014, Plimer sent out an email asking for donations to continue the IPA’s campaign.
Today, you and I are winning. Kevin Rudd’s ETS is gone. Julia Gillard’s carbon tax is about to be repealed.
None of this would have happened without the Institute of Public Affairs and its members. But more needs to be done. Australia is still suffering under bad policies (like the renewable energy target) based on bad science.
I want the IPA to continue winning the climate change debate in this country. That’s why I’m asking you to make a tax-deductible donation to the IPA today so they can bring together the world’s biggest names on climate change.
The IPA needs your tax-deductible donation to publish a new book of research, Climate Change: The Facts 2014 featuring Andrew Bolt, Professor Bob Carter, James Delingpole, Donna Laframboise, Lord Nigel Lawson, Professor Richard Lindzen, Joanne Nova, Dr Patrick Michaels, Mark Steyn and Anthony Watts. I’ll be writing a chapter too.
John Roskam has told me he’ll send a copy of Climate Change: The Facts 2014 to every federal member of parliament.
A couple of months before the Paris climate change talks in 2015, University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute made the offer to brief representatives from all parties on climate science.
Greg Hunt, Mark Butler and Larissa Waters all backed the effort and the briefings by the experts were, by all reports, informative and well received.
Until they met the Kelly gang – the Coalition’s backbench committee on the environment chaired by Liberal MP Craig Kelly.
The experts who were to give the briefing were the Global Change Institute director and marine biologist and coral reef expert Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Dr John Church, a world-leading scientist on sea level rise from the CSIRO and Prof Mark Howden, a chief research scientist at CSIRO and also the director of the Climate Change Institute at Australian National University.
Instead of listening and learning, Kelly invited three lobbyists from the IPA to also make presentations. This was, apparently, to provide “balance” though the scientists said it descended into ill-informed shouting in an “anti-intellectual environment” where “the loudest and shrillest voice was what prevailed.”
The ubiquitous Heartland Institute misinformer, Bob Carter, was there again along with Jennifer Marohasy.
Marohasy is behind the conspiracy theory, embraced by PHON Senator Malcolm Roberts, that the BoM has “corrupted the official temperature record so it more closely accords with the theory of anthropogenic global warming”.
Marohasy spent many years working at the Institute of Public Affairs before becoming the chair of the Australian Environment Foundation, a spin-off from the IPA.
In 2008, Bryant Macfie, a Perth-based climate science sceptic, gifted $350,000 to the University of Queensland in a donation facilitated by the IPA to pay for environmental research scholarships which then funded Ms Marohasy’s research.
In July 2014, Marohasy travelled to Las Vegas to speak at the Heartland Institute’s gathering of climate science denialists and assorted contrarians. Also speaking at the conference was federal MP, George Christensen, who appeared on a panel alongside Marohasy.
The third IPA representative present at the briefing was Brett Hogan. According to the IPA site, Brett is a former Senior Adviser and Chief of Staff to a Victorian Government Cabinet Minister, and was previously the Director of Communications for the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Hogan wrote a report titled “The life saving potential of coal: How Australian coal could help 82 million Indians access electricity,” which was distributed to Australian MPs.
He is the man behind the con, “The morality of seeking to deny people in other countries the privileges that we enjoy here, when we have to ability to help out, is deeply suspect.”
As the IPA want to abolish all foreign aid I find that statement “deeply suspect.”
So these are the ‘experts’ that advise the Coalition backbench – three unqualified IPA mouthpieces, paid by fossil fuel lobbyists, who have many articles published in the Murdoch press but no peer-reviewed work.
Craig Kelly’s facebook page is littered with praise for Trump for pulling out of the Paris agreement and reneging on commitments for the UN Green Energy Fund and with exhortations for us to do likewise.
Will the IPA win another round in this madness?
With people like Kelly, Abbott, Abetz, Andrews, Goodenough, Sukkar, Taylor, Seselja and Christensen threatening Turnbull and Frydenberg from behind, the unthinkable is all too possible.