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Climate Science Deniers From Around Globe Rally Around Sacked Scientist Peter Ridd

Peter Ridd

Climate science denial groups from the UK, U.S., and Australia have leapt to support a controversial marine scientist who was fired from his job at an Australian university.

Dr. Peter Ridd, formerly a professor at James Cook University (JCU), was sacked for repeated breaches of his employment’s code of conduct, according to a statement from the university.

Ridd claims that the Great Barrier Reef is “in great shape” and dismisses evidence that human activities including dredging and human-caused global warming have damaged the internationally iconic marine wonder. Back-to-back coral bleaching events linked to record-breaking sea surface temperatures have killed about one third of the reef's corals.

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Friend of Mike Pence and a Coal-Funded Lawyer Form 'Accountability' Group to Attack Climate Lawsuits

christopher horner

For a group apparently hooked on transparency, the latest organization to spring from the loins of the fossil fuel–funded climate science denial industry certainly manages to obscure one or two pertinent facts.

Government Accountability and Oversight (GAO) — the name of the group given public charity status on March 20, 2018 by the Internal Revenue Service — is promising to publish documents about the people and groups behind ongoing court cases against the energy industry and its impact on the global climate.

We’re not going to get into the science debate and other arguments. We’ll just show the public the documents, so you can decide,” lawyer Chris Horner told a sympathetic Daily Caller about GAO’s Climate Litigation Watch (CLW) project.

Behind the group are three lawyers — one a Republican-elected district attorney, another a former radio host and “longtime friend” of Vice President Mike Pence, and Horner, who has been paid by coal companies and works at the fossil fuel–funded Competitive Enterprise Institute.

While apparently not wanting to “get into the science debate,” Climate Litigation Watch says the science linking fossil fuel producers to climate change is “dubious” — a position at odds with every major scientific academy on the planet.

So, who are these characters behind the GAO and its sole project, Climate Litigation Watch?

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EPA's Scott Pruitt Dined With Fellow Climate Science Denier and Vatican Treasurer Cardinal George Pell, Documents Show

Scott Pruitt

One of the Catholic church's most powerful figures, Australian climate science denier Cardinal George Pell, dined with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt and discussed a plan to set up a two-sided “debate” about human-caused climate change, it has been revealed.

According to documents collated by The New York Times, administrator Pruitt joined Pell and others for a $240-per-head dinner in June 2017, an engagement that was left off official schedules of Pruitt's Vatican visit.

In an email sent during the dinner, one EPA staff member said that Pell and Pruitt had discussed a Wall Street Journal article reporting on proposals for a military-style “red team/blue team” debate on climate science.

Climate science denial groups, including the Heartland Institute, have been pushing the idea of such a debate for years.  The proposal from Pruitt for the debate appears to be on hold.

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Fossil Fuel Interests 'Coached' Conservatives to Reject Climate Science in US and Australia, Study Finds

Rick Perry, Ryan Zinke at CPAC

There’s a widely held belief that when it comes to human-caused climate change, you’re far less likely to accept the science if you lean toward the right of the political spectrum.

But a new study just published in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests that this link between conservative values and climate “skepticism” holds strongest in the U.S. and Australia, and less so in Canada, where fossil fuel vested interests are high.

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Scott Pruitt's Secret Science Plan Was Developed to Defend Tobacco and It Could Be Coming for Clean Air Rules

Powell Tate Secret Science action plan

In early 1998, lobbying and PR company Powell Tate was busy with a strategy to protect its tobacco industry clients from health and safety regulations.

Costing roughly $200,000, the plan was called “Secret Science” and would be a public affairs campaign “mounted in three phases” to influence the public, scientists, corporations, and policymakers. 

After “laying the groundwork,” the plan was to build “a critical mass of outrage” and then offer a solution to all the outrage and division the campaign had whipped up.

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Climate Science Deniers Have a New Hero and His Name Is Peter Ridd

Peter Ridd

Climate science deniers and conservative media have found themselves a new “free speech” hero — an academic who is suing his own university and thinks the multiple human threats to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are overblown.

Professor Peter Ridd might be a new name to some, but the marine geophysicist has a long association with groups pushing denial of the well-established links between human activity and dangerous climate change.

Outlets including Breitbart and Fox News have joined a steady flow of columns and interviews across Australia’s conservative media landscape covering Ridd’s case, sometimes handing over space to him in their column pages.

Each time, Ridd, of Australia's James Cook University, has been painted as a bastion of truth pushing back against the establishment. But how does that image hold up to scrutiny?

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