Graham Readfearn's blog

Shark Tank's Steve Baxter Joins Climate Science Deniers and Islamophobes for Australian LibertyFest

What do you get when you bring together some of Australia’s most fervent climate science deniers with anti-Islam activists, fledgling right-wing political groups, and an American “free market” Libertarian?

The answer, apparently, is the one-day conference titled LibertyFest scheduled for Brisbane this Saturday.

Two mainstays of Australia’s “fever swamp” of climate science denial, Professor Ian Plimer and Jennifer Marohasy, are set to kick-off the proceedings on Friday evening.

Climate Scientists Attack Tony Abbott's 'Misleading' Speech to Global Warming Policy Foundation

Tony Abbott

Australian climate scientists have hit back at their former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, describing his speech to a London think tank as being laced with distortions, falsehoods, misrepresentations, and misdirection.

Abbott told the contrarian Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) that rising carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning could be “beneficial” and compared acceptance of human-caused climate change to religion.

The GWPF, founded by former Thatcher government treasurer Lord Nigel Lawson, consistently pushes positions on climate change that fall well outside the established science.

How Australia's 'Fever Swamp' of Climate Science Denial Is Pushing a Non-Scandal About Temperatures

Temperature map of Australia

The tentacles of the global warming hoax are everywhere,” said a foaming Sydney shock-jock Alan Jones on his high-ratings radio show.

I don’t know why it’s not on the front page of the newspapers,” replied Jennifer Marohasy.

The subject of the pair’s wrath is the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) — the Australian government’s weather bureau.

Specifically, it’s the way the bureau collects and records temperatures. 

Marohasy works for the Institute of Public Affairs which, if you want to talk about tentacles, is firmly attached to the body of conservative “free market” groups around the world that deny the risks of human-caused climate change.

Last week, I interviewed former BoM director Rob Vertessy, who described the attacks from a “fever swamp” of climate science denial as being baseless, a waste of time, and dangerous, especially when they’re amplified by Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper The Australian.

As the costs of climate change accumulate in the years ahead,” Vertessy said, “I can see that leaders of this climate change denial movement will really be seen as culpable.”

Future Historians Will Look Back in Horror at Koch Network's Attacks on Climate Policy, says Author Nancy MacLean

Nancy MacLean

For the first few weeks after publishing, all was going pretty well.

Nancy MacLean’s book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, was “deeply important” and a “feat of American intellectual and political history,” said a review in Publishers Weekly.

The New York Times said the book joined an emerging corpus of important work of scholars and journalists that was “documenting the systematic, organized effort to undermine democracy and change the rules.”

But it didn’t take long for the apparatus of the “radical right” to swing into action, with attacks coming from many of the same individuals and institutions that the Duke University history professor documents in her book.

A Response to 'Lunatic Farmer' Joel Salatin on His Climate Science Denial

Joel Salatin

So a couple of weeks ago I wrote a story for DeSmog reporting on self-described “lunatic farmer” Joel Salatin’s views about climate change and how he thought it might not be caused by humans.

There’s been quite a reaction to the story, mainly through Facebook discussions sparked by Salatin himself and by others who are part of what you might broadly describe as the sustainable farming movement (this is an entirely imperfect term though, given the diversity of thought among the great many people looking for alternative ways to grow healthy food in a way that has less impact on the environment).

I’ve been accused by one Australian figure, Tammi Jonas, the interim president of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, of writing an “unproductive and divisive” article that was “pure click bait ‘gotcha’ rubbish.” More on that in a bit.

Salatin penned a long response on his Polyface farms Facebook page that was liked almost 3,000 times and shared 1,000 times more.

So I thought I should go over some of the responses and clear a few things up.

Notorious Climate Science Denier Marc Morano Flying to Australia With Misleading Climate Hustle Movie

Marc Morano — one of world’s most notorious climate science deniers — is heading to Australia to push his discredited documentary Climate Hustle.

Morano is the communications director at the mistitled Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) – one among a suite of US-based conservative “free market” groups that helped convince President Donald Trump to pull the country out of the international Paris climate agreement.

Climate Hustle, first screened in late 2015 in Paris, claims human-caused climate change is a scare story and that scientists actually disagree that humans are causing global warming.

In reality, climate scientists and campaigners say the documentary is a rehash of long-debunked talking points, cherry-picked claims and misrepresentations promoted by a “fossil fuel salesman.”

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