It's amazing what qualifies for a tax break in Australia these days.
The climate science misinformation promotion unit at the Institute of Public Affairs, a Melbourne-based “free market” think tank, are currently passing the hat around to raise cash to publish a book on climate change.
The IPA has been pushing and promoting climate science denial since the late 1980s, when it published an article in its magazine asking if there really was a greenhouse effect.
According to an email to supporters earlier this month from the IPA’s executive director John Roskam, the think tank has raised $144,545 towards a $175,000 target to publish a book Climate Change: The Facts 2014.
Roskam reminded supporters that their donation for the book would be “tax deductible” and those prepared to part with $400 or more more would even get their name on the back cover.
The list of chapter authors is a predictable line up of denialists and contrarians picked from the blogosphere, conservative media outlets and the associates of secretly funded conservative think tanks.
They include Nigel Lawson, Stewart Franks, Bill Kininmonth, Mark Steyn, Donna Laframboise, Pat Michaels, Jennifer Marohasy, Andrew Bolt, Richard Lindzen, Jo Nova, Anthony Watts, James Delingpole, Bob Carter, Ross McKitrick and Ian Plimer.
Yep. A few Aussies will have slightly fatter tax refunds (or thinner bills) in exchange for funding climate science denialism and contrarianism from a list of usual suspects.
That means government-endorsed tax breaks to promote the work of James Delingpole — a UK writer and “interpreter of interpretations” who thinks that climate research is a “junk science boondoggle” and who has compared the wind industry to a pedophile ring.
The IPA will surely be crossing its fingers that Delingpole’s selection of “facts” improves from his 2012 book Killing The Earth To Save It, published by Connor Court (where IPA executive director John Roskam is on the editorial board).
There, Delingpole sourced a passage from a website called “Green Agenda” which he described as “probably [the] best analysis” of the Club of Rome’s influence on environmental policies.
The “Green Agenda” website is run by fundamentalist Christian “end of times” preachers who warn, amongst many other things, that we should all be watching out for “four Angels and three 'Frog-like' evil spirits”.
Those tax incentives will benefit the IPA-endorsed opinions of Mark Steyn, a Canadian conservative currently being sued for libel by climate change scientist Dr. Michael Mann.
Or a teeny bit less in the Australian government’s tax pool so that Ian Plimer, a geologist and mining industry director, can tell you – again - that climate change isn’t caused by increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Research has found that almost all books sceptical of the risks of human-caused climate change have links to conservative think tanks. As well as being published by one, the IPA's offering has among the authors associates of think tanks including the Cato Institute (Lindzen, Michaels), the IPA (Carter), the Global Warming Policy Foundation (Lawson) and the Frontier Center for Public Policy (Laframboise).
This is in fact the second time the IPA has released a publication erroneously titled Climate Change: The Facts. The first incarnation, released in 2010, included contributions from a similar list of climate sceptics. That book also took contributions from Lawson, Plimer, Lindzen and Kininmonth, alongside the likes of Lord Monckton and Professor Richard Tol.
As well as gathering cash for its latest climate screed, the IPA is also readying itself to promote one of the authors on a four-city speaking tour starting at the end of this month.
Flying in from the US will be Pat Michaels of the Cato Institute, who once estimated that about 40 per cent of his funding came from the petroleum industry.
The IPA doesn’t say where its funding comes from, but they seem to have plenty of cash coming in.
In its accounts ending June 2012, the Melbourne organisation declared an income of $3.95 million, of which $2.2 million came in straight donations.
Enough for a book or two, you’d think?