Graham Readfearn

Primary tabs

Graham Readfearn's picture

Personal Information

Twitter URL
http://twitter.com/#!/readfearn
Profile Info

Graham Readfearn is an independent journalist based in Queensland, Australia, with 20 years experience as a reporter and writer on newspapers, magazines, radio and online.

In Australia, Graham's features, stories and commentary on climate change and sustainability issues have been published on The Guardian, G Magazine, ABC Environment, The Drum and Crikey.

In his native UK, Graham worked on daily regional newspapers for five years at The Gazette in Blackpool and The Yorkshire Post in Leeds. His campaigns highlighted major malpractices at a chemical reprocessing factory and helped secure better payments for war pensioners.

A long-running campaign to increase the levels of physical education in UK schools was quoted in British Parliament and won him the regional sports writer of the year award from Britain’s Sports Writers’ Association.

He moved to London and the BBC’s national 24-hour news and sport radio network FiveLive to work as a broadcast journalist, script writer and producer.

During two years there, he was part of the team producing the live rolling coverage of the New York September 11 attacks and was studio producer as news broke of an IRA bomb in London’s Ealing suburb. In the wake of British race riots, he conceived and co-produced a live three-hour programme on multicultural issues from Europe's largest Indian curry restaurant.

After a career-break to travel the world he returned to the UK as a freelance feature writer covering social affairs, youth issues, regeneration, social enterprise and sustainability for national magazines and newspapers.

After moving to Australia in 2005, he was a feature writer for Queensland's main daily newspaper, The Courier-Mail, where he launched his first environment blog, GreenBlog, writing more than 650 posts and moderating in excess of 14,000 comments.

He likes chickens (he's got six), his kids (he's got two), his wife (just the one), coffee and other things - although not necessarily in that order.

Graham writes the Planet Oz blog on The Guardian and occasionally blogs at www.readfearn.com

How US Senators’ #WebofDenial Helped Spawn and Sustain Climate Science Denial in the UK

Senator Whitehouse describing the Web of Denial in the US Senate

In the 1990s, personnel from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) were flying across oceans to stoke climate science denial.

In 1995, in what is thought to be the first conference promoting climate science denial in Britain, the CEI’s then president Fred Smith joined another US guest from the Atlas Economic Research Foundation for a series of talks that undermined warnings about the impacts of fossil fuels on the climate.

Now more than 20 years on, Democratic Senators from across the pond have completed a blitz of speeches describing the fossil fuel funded “web of denial” – with organisations including the CEI featuring heavily in their forensic analysis.

This “web of denial” has held back action to cut greenhouse gas emissions while confusing the public on climate change. 

ExxonMobil: New Disclosures Show Oil Giant Still Funding Climate Science Denial Groups

ExxonMobil and the climate science denial machinery that it has helped to build over the years are now under more scrutiny than ever before.

At its most recent AGM, the oil and gas giant faced a barrage of questions and resolutions over its position on climate change. Then there is the not insignificant matter of investigations by a group of attorneys general that allege the company lied about its knowledge of the risks of burning fossil fuels. ExxonMobil is retaliating.

The company has pleaded innocence, with CEO Rex Tillerson telling the company’s shareholders that his views on climate science were perfectly in line with the United Nations.

But the latest disclosures on donations by ExxonMobil, reported publicly here for the first time, show it continues to support organisations that claim greenhouse gases are not causing climate change, or that cuts to emissions are a waste of time and money.

Organisations including the American Enterprise Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council and the National Black Chamber of Commerce — all organisations with a record of misinformation on climate science — all received grants in 2015 from ExxonMobil. The 2015 tally brings the total amount of known Exxon funding to denial groups north of $33 million since 1998.

How An Extreme Form of Climate Science Denial Has Found a Home in Australia's Senate

Australians went off to vote in a general election last week, but five days later and the country still doesn’t have a result.

As things stand, there appears to be every chance that neither of the two main party groupings — Labor on the left and the coalition of Liberals and Nationals on the right — will win enough seats to form a government in their own right.

But one result in the country’s upper house has sparked a wave of discontent, reflection and rage — the election of the right wing anti-Muslim, anti-Halal, anti-vaccination firebrand Pauline Hanson.

Hanson, who leads her own One Nation party, has won election to Australia’s Senate and, as counting continues, she could bring more candidates with her.

But as well as pushing xenophobia and division, the Queensland politician will also take a most extreme brand of climate science denial with her into the Senate. 

Bankrupt Coal Miner Peabody Energy Paid Climate Denialist Craig Idso To Write Greenhouse Gas Reports

A research center that has produced scores of reports dismissing the dangers of human-caused climate change was being paid by coal company Peabody Energy to produce reports about its greenhouse gas emissions.

The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (CSCDGC) is revealed as having historical financial ties to Peabody in the coal company’s bankruptcy papers.

A DeSmog investigation has also uncovered undisclosed financial links between the center, run by veteran climate science denialist Craig Idso, and another contrarian group, the Science and Public Policy Institute.

Peabody Energy was revealed as a funder of a web of groups and organisations that have worked to spread doubt over human-caused climate change while fighting rules to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr Idso, the chairman and founder of CSCDGC, has written many reports claiming that extra carbon dioxide is a benefit to the planet, while ignoring or downplaying the many negatives.

Wall St. Journal Shows Why It Is Under Attack For Climate Science Denial By Publishing Another Dodgy Column

The Wall Street Journal has been spiced up substantially recently thanks to a series of adverts on its own pages attacking the paper’s slanted coverage on climate science.

The Washington Post has reported on the background to the advertisements and the group running them — the Partnership for Responsible Growth (PRG).

But basically, it goes like this.  PRG analysed a couple of decades of content from the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper and found it stunningly out of step with mainstream science, while being remarkably in step with the talking points of fossil fueled climate denialist think tanks and the views of Murdoch himself.

PRG analysed 201 WSJ editorials going back to 1997 and found not a single one of them acknowledged that fossil fuels cause climate change. This is like writing a couple of hundred articles on lung cancer without ever mentioning cigarettes.

The story was largely the same when PRG looked at columns and op-eds published by the paper.  Of the 279 op-eds published since 1995, just 40 reflect mainstream climate science, or 14 per cent. Of 122 columns published since 1997, only three per cent accepted as fact that fossil fuels cause climate change, or endorsed a policy to cut emissions.

All up, of the 602 op-eds, columns and editorials published since 1995, just 44 “treat fossil fuel-driven climate change as a reality”, the analysis found.

Denialist Blogger Anthony Watts Posts Error Strewn “Aerial Survey” of Climate Scientists’ Homes

Climate science denialist blogger Anthony Watts was sure he had a gotcha moment with some of his most hated figures caught red-handed.

Mysteriously popular blogger Watts had wondered how many vocal climate scientists “practice what they preach” when it comes to how they power their homes.

So Watts carried out what he described as an “aerial survey” but what others might call “looking at maps on Google” to look on the roofs of famous climate scientists to see if they had solar panels.

Watts was reacting to research finding that Americans were more likely to follow advice on cutting fossil fuel energy use from climate scientists who had also taken personal steps to decarbonize.

Imagine Watts’ delight to find the homes of celebrated scientists like Professor Michael Mann, Dr Jonathan Overpeck and Dr Kevin Trenberth, all bereft of photovoltaic panels. What hypocrites, right?

So Watts wrote a blog post with photos of the scientists' homes and then published it. What followed was a comedy of errors and corrections - a true car crash of climate science denial bloggery.

Were Historical Pictures of Great Barrier Reef Degradation Really Misused, as The Australian Newspaper Claimed?

The Australian published a convoluted story recently about the Great Barrier Reef and the claims of a scientist over some old pictures.

I've written a few stories about the reef recently - including this piece looking at a recent dodgy editorial in The Australian. But anyway, over the weekend The Australian published a story about Professor Peter Ridd, of James Cook University, who had apparently been disciplined for criticising colleagues and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) for using some old pictures of reef near Stone Island to show how coral cover had declined over time.

Conservative Funders of Climate Denial Are Quietly Spending Millions To Generate More Partisan Journalism

Millions of dollars have been pouring into conservative media outlets and student journalism projects from the same groups funding climate science denial, a DeSmog analysis has found.

Analysis of IRS tax filings shows the funding groups, including some linked to the oil billionaire Koch brothers, are trying to combat a perceived left-wing bias in media with cash to ideologically-aligned projects.

Many of the funded journalism projects also produce stories that claim human-caused climate change is either a liberal hoax or that policies to mitigate it, such as promotion of renewable energy, are an unnecessary drag on the economy.

DeSmog found that two linked funds — Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund — have been a key source of cash for organisations attacking climate science and opposing policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The Australian Newspaper Misrepresents Science In Great Barrier Reef Bleaching Editorial, Says Scientist It Quoted

Almost a quarter of corals on the iconic Great Barrier Reef have died because of record ocean temperatures driven by global warming.

Those are the bare facts, according to the Australian Government’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).

The coral bleaching that swept across the reef system this Australia summer, hitting hardest the most pristine northern section, affected 93 per cent of individual reefs along its 2300 kilometre stretch (1430 miles).

Scientists have pointed out how those corals that survived the bleaching will be weakened and, to recover, they will need all the help they can get. That means big reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and local pollution.

The news has swept across the globe.  Pretty much every major media outlet in the world has told its viewers and readers about the bleaching and shown them the spectacular and confronting images of bleached white coral. Now, the images show dead coral.

Introducing America Rising Squared, U.S. Republicans' "Creepy" New Assault on Climate Action

In a video posted to Vine, respected author and climate change campaigner Bill McKibben turns for just a second or two to eyeball the person holding the camera, before turning his gaze back to the front of the room. There is no context to the video.  Nothing is said.

In another video taken in Australia, McKibben is shown speaking to an audience, but the context is again removed.  His words are replaced with music.

To most people chancing upon the videos, the two clips would seem incongruous and pointless.

But the Vine channel belongs to CoreNews.org — a website that is the public facing arm of a new politically-motivated attack on environmentalists and climate change campaigners operated by well connected political advisers and researchers.

Lasting only a few seconds, the videos were an attempt to put a shot across the bows of McKibben and his supporters, of which there are many. A promise made weeks earlier by Republican Party activists to follow him around with a video camera — wherever he might go — had apparently begun.

The videos were taken by so-called “trackers” working for America Rising Squared (AR2), an operation that has sprung from the new wave of attacks on climate activists that has become a mainstay of the US political machinery.

Pages