Financial Post Op-Ed Spins Familiar Tale of Climate Change Denial

Wed, 2010-10-27 17:24Emma Pullman
Emma Pullman's picture

Financial Post Op-Ed Spins Familiar Tale of Climate Change Denial

The recent op-ed piece in Canada’s Financial Post by Czech President Václav Klaus is more than a little infuriating.  Klaus, an economist by trade with no background in climate science, has become a favourite skeptic for hire at the Heritage Foundation and other right-wing libertarian think tanks. 

Klaus is a vocal skeptic on the topic of global warming. His 2007 book argues that global warming is akin to a new religion or ideology that threatens to undermine freedom and the world’s economic and social order.  At a 2007 speech at the Cato Institute, he argued that, “Environmentalism should belong in the social sciences” along with other “isms” such as communism, feminism, and liberalism.  He went on to argue that, “environmentalism is a religion” and a “modern counterpart of communism” that seeks to change people’s habits and economic systems.

At his 2009 keynote address at the International Conference of Climate Change (a.k.a. Denial-a-Palooza), he maintained that environmental activists don’t necessarily care about temperature, or carbon dioxide, rather they care about rent seeking and political profit.  In an increasingly familiar trope, he argued that the climate change movement has become popularized because it gives politicians an excuse to exert more control over society.

Klaus delivered a keynote speech at last week’s Global Warming Policy Foundation Inaugural Annual Lecture in London.  According to his address, “Global warming in the last 150 years was modest and future warming and its consequences will not be dangerous or catastrophic.  It doesn’t look like a threat we should respond to,” he said.

He argued that the empirical evidence of anthropogenic climate change is riddled with mistakes in methodology and modelling, and suggested out of hand that we have entered a period of global cooling.  

Klaus openly denounced credible scientific institutions including the UK’s Royal Society that released a recent report explaining the science of climate change in layman’s terms, in response to confusion campaigns attacking the overwhelming scientific consensus.  In Klaus’ words, “I am not impressed by heavily biased British scientific institutions”.

Maybe he was just offended that they didn’t invite him to speak and he instead had to speak at the GWPF

The main takeaway from his address was that the threat of climate change is akin to the threat of communism.  In the closing of his op-ed piece, he uses the eerily familiar anti-Big Government vs. environment argument in stating that, “Our interest is, or should be, a free, democratic and prosperous society.  That is the reason why we have to stand up against all attempts to undermine it.  We should be prepared to adapt to all kinds of future climate changes (including cooling), but we should never accept losing our freedom.”

Sounds familiar. No wonder these right-wing think tanks like him so much. 

Financial Post readers, upon first glance, might assume that the Global Warming Policy Foundation is a credible climate organization, but Sourcewatch’s digging has revealed that the GWPF is a registered UK ‘charity’ with links to right-wing libertarian climate change deniers. 

According to the Charity Commission, the GWPF’s mandate is to “advance the public understanding of global warming and of its possible consequences, and also of the measures taken or proposed to be taken in response to it”.  

It looks like they’re more interested in sowing seeds of doubt than in disseminating knowledge.  GWPF’s director is none other than the Heartland Institute’s Benny Peiser, climate change denier extraordinaire. Other members include Canada’s Ross McKitrick of the Fraser Institute.  

If the Financial Post had bothered to check up on Klaus’ credentials (or lack thereof) on issues of climate, or looked into the shadowy UK “charity” funding the whole enterprise, they might have realized that the credentials of both on issues of climate are lacking.  When will the Financial Post stop giving credence to climate change deniers and show some journalistic integrity?

Previous Comments

Expecting integrity - especially on environmental issues - from the Financial Post or National Post is asking a bit much. These are papers that have more climate change denier columnists than regular business columnists. Both papers have also recently run screeds from Vivian Krause, former director of corporate development and public relations for Nutreco, one of the largest foreign-owned fish farm and feed companies in the world. And both papers refused to point that out, calling her simply “a Vancouver-based writer and researcher”. They had to run a correction regarding the most recent article.

The Russian LUKoil paid for Klaus’s book to be translated.

http://www.rferl.org/content/Czech_Mate_How_Russia_Is_Rebuilding_Influence_In_The_Former_Soviet_Bloc/2168090.html

I have a lot on my blog about Russian denialist propaganda and Climategate.

Here is how it works in a nutshell:

“In Western Europe, Moscow has operated by making lucrative arrangements with foreign energy companies that become de facto lobbyists for the Kremlin within their own countries.”—“Why The Russia Spy Story Really Matters” (RFE/RL, 7-9-10)

http://www.rferl.org/content/Why_The_Russia_Spy_Story_Really_Matters/2095515.html

“Lucrative arrangement” means the Russians pay their foreign partners more than a deal is worth because the Russians want their foreign business partners to do double duty as Kremlin lobbyists.

The Russian gas company Itera gave Congressman Weldon’s daughter 500,000 dollars, formally for “consulting services.” Really it was to buy the Congressman.

I have been trying to find out if Virginia’s Attorney General Cucinelli is receiving money from European and perhaps even Russian fossil fuel companies because Cuccinelli’s father, whose company donates to his son’s political campaign, is a gas marketing expert who boasts of his “European” clients. The people who sell natural gas in Europe are mainly the Russians.

Cuccinelli’s deputy, W. Russell, never responds to my requests for more information about the elder Cuccinelli’s clients, even though the father’s company donated over 96,000 dollars to Cuccinelli’s campaign. I wonder if the elder Cuccinelli’s clients are really paying for the services of our meretricious Attorney General, who persecutes the climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann. What I found out is here.

http://legendofpineridge.blogspot.com/2010/09/attorney-general-cuccinellis-daddy-and.html

Cuccinelli’s brief to the EPA “quoted” Andrei Illarionov’s Institute for Economic Analysis (IEA).
Illarionov used to work for Putin and for the former head of the Soviet Gas Ministry, Chernomyrdin. He is now with the Cato Institute. Small world, huh?

IEA had an article in RIA Novosti, but Cuccinelli changed what the Russian article said. This is kind of complicated, so here is the link. http://legendofpineridge.blogspot.com/2010/10/attorney-general-cuccinelli-ties-his.html

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David Cameron faces a major party rebellion over climate change, with Conservative funders giving money to climate denialists and calling for a party rethink on its policy of cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

DeSmog UK...

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