- University of Adelaide, incomplete arts degree
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
MEMBERS of London's famous gentlemen's club Brooks's have no doubt cooked-up a few bizarre plots, plans and wagers over the years as Britain's gentry and ennobled upper class sipped on glasses of port in their smoking jackets.
In 1785, for example, there was an agreement between two Lords to hand over 500 guineas if one of them managed to have sexual intercourse with a woman in a balloon “one thousand yards from the Earth” . There's no record to suggest that the arrangement, recorded in the club's Betting Book, was ever paid.
The exclusive men-only enclave lives on and still attracts high-profile figures, although Rupert Murdoch's son James' application ran into trouble over the News of the World phone hacking scandal. Club member and climate science denier Lord Christopher Monckton put Brooks's famous address to good use this week for a letter sent to the University of Tasmania.
A FEW weeks ago I wrote a story for DeSmogBlog looking at how Lord Christopher Monckton - a poster child of the climate science denialist movement - had agreed to launch a new Australian political party fronted by an anti-Islamist Creationist preacher.
IT'S the new must-have accessory for any self-respecting climate science denialist commentator in Australian newspapers - their very own “Australian Press Council” adjudication showing exactly how they stuffed up the facts and misled their readers on their stories.
Whether they like it or not, serial climate science misinformers James Delingpole and Andrew Bolt are the latest News Ltd contributors to have their online articles furnished with freshly-added hyperlinks to APC judgements finding against them.
ANDREW Bolt is Australia's loudest and most popular climate science doubt-spreader who just loves to stoke the fires of environmental conspiracy theorists with his daily splurge of blog posts and his weekly radio and TV shows.
Bolt allows his commenters to refer to the United Nations as the “United Nazis” and regularly joins the “one world government” conspiracy theorists while pulling quotes out of context to insinuate “warmists” have ambitions of totalitarian “global management”. He maligns solar power at every opportunity and claims wind farms are an “insult to the intelligence”.
But there is at least one conspiracy theory which Andrew Bolt isn't happy to endorse. Up until last week, Bolt was listed as an adviser to one of Australia's most active climate denialist organisations the Galileo Movement. But then what happened?
In a report late last month in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Galileo Movement's project manager Malcolm Roberts, a former mining industry consultant, was asked if recent research led by US physicist Professor Richard Muller had swayed the group's thinking on human-caused climate change. The SMH report read
Mr Roberts said climate change science had been captured by ''some of the major banking families in the world'' who form a ''tight-knit cabal''. He said he understood that the group's views might sound strange, but claimed they were becoming increasingly popular.
''It does sound outlandish,'' Mr Roberts said. ''I, like you, was reluctant to believe it [but] there are significant things going on in Australia that people are waking up to. The UN's climate front is just a part of the overall UN 'Agenda 21', which is the sustainability program and the biodiversity program … But the biggest one's the UN agenda for global governance.''
The bit about “banking families” made its way to Bolt, who was apparently spooked and wrote Roberts an email saying his words “sounded very much like one of those Jewish world conspiracy theories that I despise”. After getting a reply, Bolt wrote:
Your conspiracy theory seemed utterly stupid even before I knew which families you meant. Now checking the list of banking families you’ve given me, your theory becomes terribly, shamefully familiar.
Two of the three most prominent and current banking families you’ve mentioned are Jewish, and the third is sometimes falsely assumed to be. Yes, this smacks too much of the Jewish world conspiracy theorising I’ve always loathed.
Bolt then asked to be removed from the list of the Galileo Movement's advisers, which is a veritable who's who of climate science denial, listing the likes of Lord Christopher Monckton, Richard Lindzen, Fred Singer, Bob Carter, Ian Plimer and the Cato Institute's Pat Michaels. Popular Sydney radio host Alan Jones is Galileo's patron. Will any of them feel the need to follow Bolt?
IT was an extraordinary response, but then it was an extraordinary video revealing some extraordinary alliances.
Two weeks ago I posted a story on my blog about a YouTube video featuring one of the world’s least media-shy deniers of human-caused climate change - British hereditary peer Lord Christopher Monckton, the third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley*.
In the video, the Viscount was in the boardroom of the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation, a free-market think-tank founded by west Australian mining magnate Ron Manners.
The video had been watched only 130 times when I clapped eyes on it following a Twitter post from journalist Leo Hickman, of the UK’s The Guardian. In the video, posted by Mannkal (but since removed… and then reinstated… but possibly removed again by the time you read this), Lord Monckton suggests a good way to get free-market, climate science-denying views into the mainstream media, is simply to find some “super-rich” backers to buy the mainstream media.
As I watched the video last Tuesday evening, news was just emerging that mining billionaire and Asia’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart, had bought $192 million worth of shares in Fairfax (the publisher of Brisbane Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and many regional newspapers and city-based radio stations) to take her share in the company to about 14 per cent. To me, these two events were intrinsically linked, and not just because Mr Manners is a personal friend of Ms Rinehart’s.
BACK in July last year in a boardroom of a western Australian free-market think tank, the extrovert British climate change sceptic Lord Christopher Monckton was holding court.
The topic for discussion? How to better capture the Australian media to help push a right wing, free-market and climate sceptic agenda. At the time, Lord Monckton was in Australia at the behest of a mining association and Gina Rinehart to deliver a series of talks on climate change and spread his conspiracy theories that human-caused climate change is a left-wing plot to bring down the West.
THEY paid millions of dollars for adverts on television, in newspapers and online. They flew in climate change deniers from across the globe. They held rallies, engaged prominent right-wing media personalities, threatened scientists and turned the cold non-partisan findings of peer-reviewed science into some kind of blood sport.
But despite what was surely the dirtiest and most dishonest campaign ever waged before the Australian public, from next July major industrial emitters of greenhouse gases (about 500 of them) will have to pay $23 for every tonne of their pollution under laws passed earlier today.
The torrent of self-interest, archaic so-called “free-market” ideology and unmitigated greenhouse gas pollution, will give way to modest payments for the right to continue to pollute, while placing billions into funds to finance clean energy projects.
Away from the propaganda, the bare facts read like this. The laws now pass to the Senate for a vote in early November.
The previous Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme legislation also got this far but was voted down twice in 2009 before it was deferred permanently by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
This time though, the Greens who helped forge the bills which make up the Clean Energy Future package hold the balance of power in the upper house. Barring something extraordinary, which noone - not even the Opposition - is able to envisage, the laws will pass.
From 1 July 2012, Australia's largest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions will have to pay a fixed price of $23 per tonne of pollution produced here. The price will rise to $25.40 per tonne in 2014/15. From 1 July 2015, an emissions trading scheme will be introduced where the government releases a fixed number of permits which major emitters will need to purchase through auctions. In the early stages, major industries will be given permits for free, but the assistance gets scaled back. The number of permits released by the government will be capped to enable Australia to cut its emissions by five per cent by 2020, based on 2000 levels.