Graham Readfearn's blog

Report: How Coal and Gas Industry Get Their Way In Fossil Fuel Rich Queensland

abbot point, queensland

Where and how should the public expect negotiations between fossil fuel industries and governments be carried out?

What kind of relationships should exist between fossil fuel corporations and the politicians and public servants who are part of the decision-making process that those corporations seek to influence?

Should reasonable details of those negotiations be recorded and take place in government offices, during office hours? Should lobbying by industry and companies be available for public scrutiny?

When a government awards a licence to dig up and sell fossil fuels, those decisions represent the transfer of assets from public to private hands worth billions of dollars.

With that in mind, you might expect the answers to all those questions to reflect the highest levels of accountability and transparency.

But in Queensland, Australia’s biggest exporter of coal, this accountability and transparency appears to be lacking.

The Australia Institute has published a report – Too close for comfort: How the coal and gas industry get their way in Queensland - detailing the complex interactions between the coal and gas industries in Queensland and the state’s previous governments.

The report, researched and written by me and paid for by the institute, explores some of the close relationships between lobbyists, politicians, public servants and fossil fuel industry executives.

Climate Science Denier Lawson Bader Named CEO At Conservative Funding Arm Donors Trust

Lawson Bader

An organisation that has funneled millions of dollars into groups promoting climate science denial has appointed a new CEO who signed a declaration dismissing the overwhelming evidence that human activities are causing climate change.

Lawson Bader, currently the CEO at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, will join Donors Trust in November.

Donors Trust (DT), together with its sister organisation Donors Capital Fund (DCF), is a key funding arm of the climate science denial movement in the United States.

Will Australia's New Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull Be A Climate Hawk?

Australia’s new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, is probably the nearest the country’s conservative ranks have to a climate hawk.

During his short ten years in public office as a member of the Liberal Party, Turnbull has been a staunch defender of climate change science and an advocate for tackling rising greenhouse gas emissions as a “risk management” issue for the planet. 

Late Monday, Turnbull challenged Tony Abbott for the leadership of the Liberal Party and within half a day, had been voted the new leader, 54 to 45.

Scientists Not Surprised Climate Denialist Lawyer Christopher Horner Has Financial Ties to Alpha Coal Company

christopher c horner

A lawyer who has used intimidating legal requests to try to gain access to the records and emails of climate scientists has a financial relationship with a major coal company, it has been revealed.

Christopher Horner, who works with two groups to pursue scientists and environmental regulators, is listed in the bankruptcy papers filed by lawyers on behalf of Alpha Natural Resources and its 150 subsidiary companies in the coal industry.

The Heartland Institute, a “free market think tank” and major promoter of fringe views that greenhouse gases are not a problem for the planet, is also named in the papers, as are other key groups.

Investigative journalist Lee Fang, of news website The Intercept founded by lawyer and journalist Glenn Greenwald, first reported the links in two stories.

Scientists who have been targeted by Horner said they are not surprised to hear a coal company has helped to finance the attacks against them.

This Veteran Climate Scientist Advised Three Australian Prime Ministers. What Would He Say To Tony Abbott?

Scientist Dr Graeme Pearman knows more than most about the responsibilities and the perils that come with communicating climate change to the highest authorities.

As one of Australia’s highest ranking government scientists, he was asked into the offices of three consecutive Australian Prime Ministers to brief them on climate change.

In the late 1980s, it was Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke. Then in the 1990s, it was Hawke’s Labor successor Paul Keating. As the decade wore on, it was the conservative Liberal Prime Minister John Howard on the other side of the briefing table.

Australian Psychological Society "Disturbed" By Climate Denialist Group's "Misleading" Newspaper Advert

Australia’s peak body representing psychologists has attacked a climate science denial group for a prominent advert taken out in a major national newspaper.

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) says the advert from a little-known group “misuses psychology-based arguments” to “mislead the public” on the science of climate change.

In a stinging letter to The Australian newspaper, which ran the half-page advert, the APS said the authors had shown “cognitive biases” in ignoring a “huge body of scientific evidence” on climate change.

The advertisers identified themselves only as “The Climate Study Group” in the page five advert that appeared on 7 August under the title “Psychology and the New Climate Alarm”.

DeSmog has found the group members have links to mining, finance, agriculture and free market “think tank” the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA).


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