Nasty, brutish and short: The Climate Sceptics television ad pleads for us to “stop the green slaughter”

The Australian Climate Sceptics Party (TCS) bills itself as the world’s first political party “representing scepticism and objectivity in climate policy”.  

Here’s a hint: they don’t.  

Lead by Mount Gambier resident Leon Ashby, TCS is adamantly opposed to any carbon reduction schemes while obviously denying the reality of global warming.  

However, before we examine TCS in more detail in future posts I suggest you watch their most recent television advertisement – produced in July 2010 – in order to get a feel for their “objectivity”.

Finished watching it?

I’d characterise this advertisement as “nasty, brutish and short”.  

Nasty in using the personal tragedy of suicide to bludgeon the viewer into thinking the “greens” are responsible.  

Brutish in the fact it uses harrowing images of Black Saturday and the charred remains of dead animals to try and bludgeon the viewer into believing “greens” caused the death of 173 Victorians in 2009.  

Thankfully this despicable piece of propaganda is short.  

Had it gone any longer I’d of thrown my laptop out the window.  

Forcing the link between tragedy and your opponents: the genetic fallacy  

The ad lingers on the charred body of a dead kangaroo, asking the viewer to stop “the green slaughter”.  


The “green slaughter”?  

It’s a tactic designed to link tragedy or catastrophes with your political or ideological “enemies”.  

This strategy mimics the attack on Rachel Carson and environmentalism in blaming the “millions” of deaths caused by malaria when DDT was banned. It has been proven conclusively there is no substance to these claims, however it remains a “truism” amongst climate sceptics, right wing think tanks and those of a libertarian persuasion.  

Wikipedia sums up the rationale for the attacks on Carson’s legacy:

“…In the 2000s, Carson and Silent Spring have come under increasing attack from authors who argue that restrictions placed on DDT have caused needless death, and more generally that environmental regulation unnecessarily restricts economic freedom.[22][23] For example, the conservative magazine, Human Events, gave Silent Spring an “honorable mention” in its list of the “Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries,”[24] and in 2002, to mark its 40 anniversary…

…Some environmentalists consider this latter day criticism of Silent Spring and Rachel Carson and concomitant push for DDT to be an industry-sponsored strategy to discredit the environmental movement.[27][28][29][30] For example, Monica Moore of Pesticide Action Network has argued that “Renewed promotion of DDT and attacks on those who would limit its use isn’t about malaria, or even DDT. It is a cynical ‘better living through chemistry‘ campaign intended to discredit the environmental health movement, with support from the Bush administration and others who seek nothing less than the dismantling of health and environmental protections.”

I couldn’t help but think how this strategy also replicates Creationist attempts to link the Holocaust with “Darwinism”.  

For decades the Creationists have been trying to taint evolutionary theory with the Holocaust with a tenuous link between Hitler’s racist eugenics, Social Darwinism and the genocide of millions.

The claim is that Hitler was a “Darwinist” and therefore implementing the principles of “survival of the fittest” in launching a aggressive war of expansion and slaughtering millions.  

Despite the fact that Hitler’s biography Mien Kampf never mentions Darwin once – his recorded remarks have only scattered references to Darwin – it is an article of faith amongst Creationists that Charles Darwin is personally responsible for the death of six million Jews.  

Still, let’s not let such silly things as facts get in the way when you are accusing your political opponents of slaughter.    

The TCS descend to gutter politics by exploiting personal tragedy  

For me the whole advertisement reeks of gutter politics.   

Anyone who has been subject to depression, known a loved one to have been brought low by the “black dog” or experienced the loss of a friend or family member knows it has nothing to do with “the greens”.

My response watching this advertisement?   

What a despicable abuse of one families tragedy.  

The vast majority of Australian’s feel real sympathy for “the bush”. We understand the hardship the drought has forced on families and communities.  

I don’t think anyone who supports sound environmental practices are sitting back enjoying the spectacle of farmers suffering: “Nuh, nuh nuh! Oh how those farmers suffer! Let’s see if we can make them squirm more with some more green laws! Muh ha hah!”  

This ad is nothing more than the callous exploitation of peoples suffering.  

No link between more intense fires and global warming? The TCS are fools…  

The claim that greens are somehow responsible for Black Saturday is equally offensive.  

I live in Victoria, and I can’t begin to describe how traumatic that event was for most Victorians: 173 people died in the fires. For weeks after the fires the state was in state of shock and mourning.  

It is deeply insensitive and factually incorrect to link their deaths to “the greens”. Indeed, it angers me – and I’m sure it would anger a lot of my fellow Victorians – to see their deaths exploited so cheaply by a cranky fringe group. 

It very much reminds my of the Catch the Fire Ministries attempt to link Black Saturday with god’s displeasure over the state’s abortion laws. The vast majority of Victorians reacted with outrage to this suggestion. I’m sure watching this many Victorians would also be angered.  

So what about that link between global warming and the potential for further catastrophic fires?  

Here is what Peter Marshall, the Secretary for the Fire-fighters Union of Australia had to say about the link between global warming and the increased bushfires in an open letter to then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd:

“…Consider the devastation in Victoria. Research by the CSIRO, Climate Institute and the Bushfire Council found that a “low global warming scenario” will see catastrophic fire events happen in parts of regional Victoria every five to seven years by 2020, and every three to four years by 2050, with up to 50 per cent more extreme danger fire days. However, under a “high global warming scenario”, catastrophic events are predicted to occur every year in Mildura, and fire-fighters have been warned to expect up to a 230 per cent increase in extreme danger fire days in Bendigo. And in Canberra, the site of devastating fires in 2003, we are being asked to prepare for a massive increase of up to 221 per cent in extreme fire days by 2050, with catastrophic events predicted as often as every eight years. Given the Federal Government’s dismal greenhouse gas emissions cut of 5 per cent, the science suggests we are well on the way to guaranteeing that somewhere in the country there will be an almost annual repeat of the recent disaster and more frequent extreme weather events.

Something is going on. As we battle blazes here in Victoria, fire-fighters are busy rescuing people from floods in Queensland. Without a massive turnaround in policies, aside from the tragic loss of life and property, we will be asking fire-fighters to put themselves at an unacceptable risk. Fire-fighters know that it is better to prevent an emergency than to have to rescue people from it, and we urge state and federal governments to follow scientific advice and keep fire-fighters and the community safe by halving the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.”

I suspect Mr Marshall knows a little something about fires, and a lot more about the risk global warming poses than the fools at TCS.  

Did I say fools?  

Normally I use far more neutral language in my poss to the describe “the deniers”.  

But Leon Ashby – the head of TCS – is an insensitive fool who disparages the memory of the 173 people who died on that terrible day.  

Shame on you Ashby.  

Shame on you TCS.

Tagged ,

25 thoughts on “Nasty, brutish and short: The Climate Sceptics television ad pleads for us to “stop the green slaughter”

  1. EoR says:

    Lead by Mount Gambier resident Leon Ashby

    He’s also the whole party apparently, since they only seem to have the one candidate.

  2. Think Big says:

    I thought Bill Koutalianos was one of their candidates?
    He turned up on some of the Sydney Morning Herald climate-change blogs spruiking the Anthony Watts lie-fest. How he got past moderation when he should have been paying advertiser’s fees I’ll never know. Sounds like the Watts tour was pretty unsuccessful so maybe they blew too much money on that or something? Let’s hope so.

  3. zoot says:

    …blaming the “millions” of deaths caused by malaria when DDT was banned.

    DDT was never banned for use against malaria. It was banned for agricultural use. Your statement may be used to obscure the truth.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      You are partially correct- it was used to control mosquito populations by WHO during the 50s and 60s, and there where concerns about its impact on the environment and human health:

      “…WHO’s anti-malaria campaign of the 1950s and 1960s relied heavily on DDT and the results were promising, though temporary. Experts tie the resurgence of malaria to multiple factors, including poor leadership, management and funding of malaria control programs; poverty; civil unrest; and increased irrigation. The evolution of resistance to first-generation drugs (e.g. chloroquine) and to insecticides exacerbated the situation.[12][83] Resistance was largely fueled by often unrestricted agricultural use. Resistance and the harm both to humans and the environment led many governments to restrict or curtail the use of DDT in vector control as well as agriculture.[19]

      Once the mainstay of anti-malaria campaigns, as of 2008 only 12 countries used DDT, including India and some southern African states,[80] though the number is expected to rise…”


      “…Today, DDT remains on the WHO’s list of insecticides recommended for IRS. Since the appointment of Arata Kochi as head of its anti-malaria division, WHO’s policy has shifted from recommending IRS only in areas of seasonal or episodic transmission of malaria, to also advocating it in areas of continuous, intense transmission.[84] The WHO has reaffirmed its commitment to eventually phasing DDT out, aiming “to achieve a 30% cut in the application of DDT world-wide by 2014 and its total phase-out by the early 2020s if not sooner” while simultaneously combating malaria. The WHO plans to implement alternatives to DDT to achieve this goal…”

      It was, and in a very limited sense today, used in the fight against malaria.

      I should have stated it’s use has been *heavily curtailed* and heading towards being phased out. Thanks for helping clarify the issue.

  4. So the family is all in on it?
    A while ago Nathan Ashby had painted signs all around Adelaide, so I emailed him to ask what his scientific basis relied on – it was the usual handful of papers that denialists wave around.
    What irritated me most by what I saw of this Nathan character was the self-promotion of going against the crowed; “being brave enough to question global warming”. Until I saw this article, I didn’t think much about it – it looked like a two-bit group, situated in the rural south east who hand painted their posters (and incidentally got in too late to actually be part of the State election).
    If their willing to go to such a disgusting low as to produce such an ad, they might deserve more attention and informed response.
    I also know for fact that the Ashby’s are related to an environmental scientist (an associate in our soils and spatial group of the Uni of Adelaide). He’s told others that climate change is one thing he’s unable to discuss with them. It’s appalling – the noise associated with such anti-science reasoning.

  5. john byatt says:

    Wed 23 feb 2011, standby for the climate goons spam and sock puppets WtD

  6. john byatt says:

    Reply : Leon Ashby The Gympie Times 19th Feb 2011, In any Global warming debate we must first establish just what remains within the science to debate, that the globe is warming is fact, that this is due to enhanced Greenhouse effect is fact , that enhanced Greenhouse effect is due to human fossil fuel emissions and deforestation is fact,
    The scientific debate continues regarding the short term cycles of internal variability and short and long term feed-backs.
    “To dismiss an entire canon of science on the basis of either no evidence or evidence that has already been debunked is to evoke an astonishing level of self-belief. It suggests that, by instinct or by birth, you know more about this subject than the thousands of climatologists who have spent their lives working on it. Once you have taken that leap of self-belief, once you have arrogated to yourself the authority otherwise vested in science, any faith is then possible. Your own views and those of the small coterie who share them become your sole reference points, and are therefore un-challengeable and immutable. You must believe yourself capable of anything. And, in a sense, you probably are” {snip}


  7. john byatt says:

    The Climate goons blogger describes himself on his blog as

    Geoff Brown
    Industry: Science
    Location: Australia

    Running for the senate he posts his profile ,

    Geoff is the Treasurer of The Climate Sceptics, and has qualifications in Accountancy and Company Secretarial. Work Experience includes: Taxation, Management and Cost Accounting; Production Management; Management Consulting; Restaurateur; Professional Musician; Taxi Operator; Dog training and Breeding…

    No comment required

    • Geoff Brown says:

      required comment – It is an uncivil ad hominem personal attack to call people “GOONS.”

      The debate we must have

      “However, I think people should have the opportunity to discuss the issue. A few ground rules for everyone:

      * Keep it civil
      * Don’t resort to ad hominem/personal attacks
      * Respect the other, even if they have widely differing views to yours
      * Foul language or personal abuse will not be tolerated.”

  8. john byatt says:

    So your use of the Word Cabal you regard as not Ad Ho nor personal

    Cabal also holds a general meaning of intrigue and conspiracy. Its usage carries strong connotations of shadowy corners, back rooms and insidious influence; a cabal is more evil and selective than, say, a faction,

    this is the claimed sceptics fall back when they are losing a debate, its all a hoax perpetrated by a cabal,
    i have debated a physicist on global warming and even he had to fallback to the “its all a hoax” mentality,

    Carters second falsification “past warming without AGW’ is absurd, there have been many past warmings due TSI and levels of CO2 ,

    it does not even approach any rational discussion on the matter,

    moving on to No 3

  9. john byatt says:

    Carter number 3.

    TEST 3: Does CO2 output correlate with temperature change?

    Compares the IPCC temperature curve from 1860-2000 No Corellation


    • elsa says:

      As Moth has demonstrated in the 20th century CO2 concentration went up steadily, temperature went up, down, up. By 1976 it was no higher than 80 years earlier in spite of a steady increase in CO2 concentration.
      There is no obvious correlation. If you think there is, do tell us what the equation is so that we can test it. If C = the concentration in parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere and T = the mean global temperature, tell us what T is in terms of C.

      • That’s a blatant lie and only further demonstrates my point that you’re selectively ignorant of whatever data doesn’t suit your mantra. I’ve demonstrated that if one needs to analyse the data in your frame, ie. in 20yr blocks, you still get an image over the previous century where CO2 and temperature data follow a matching path. This is exactly why you and your sock puppets are no longer welcome on my site – it’s an absolutely pointless act talking to a brick wall such as yourself.

        Seeing as there’s discussion on this thread about the ‘sceptics’ party I might mention that about a year ago I talked to Nathan… Needless to say, his reference list were the usual suspects and quite frankly, if you selective base your entire conclusions on such evidence it says more about you rather than the real world data. We’ve known for more than a century that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and even the more absurd characters such as Monckton don’t even doubt that we’ve increased the CO2 atmospheric concentration over the industrial era and increasingly the temperature anomaly trends cannot be explained by any other means (something that is the crux of this public debate, the results of which lead me to the same conclusion as Lockwood (2010), “The most popular argument runs like this: ‘The Sun drives Earth’s climate system. Therefore changes in the Sun must drive changes in Earth’s climate system’. The first sentence is, of course, absolutely correct; but understanding why the second sentence does not follow from the first requires scientific training and study.”)

        I’m signing off from this comment thread – I’m continually surprised by the depths denial is willing to stoop to and am incredibly tired of this merry-go-round, increasingly devoid of reason.

      • john byatt says:

        See below

  10. john byatt says:


    Lindzen mentions then ignores Ocean heat,

    Lindzen claims that warming is far less than should be expected from current levels of GHG

    Doubling of CO2 causes a radiative forcing of 3.7 W/m2
    , which in equilibrium would cause 3°C ±
    1.5°C of global warming.
    Lindzen argues that the current radiative forcing due
    to anthropogenic greenhouse gases (2.6 W/m2
    ) is already three-fourths of what
    we would expect from CO2 doubling and that, “if we attribute all warming over
    the past century to man-made greenhouse gases, . . . the observed warming is
    only about one-third to one-sixth of what models project.” He concludes that the
    “consensus view” must be wrong and claims that climatologists have introduced
    aerosol cooling as an ad hoc trick to make their numbers match.
    This argument is incorrect because it ignores a critical factor: ocean heat
    uptake. Ocean heat uptake (“thermal inertia”) leads to a time lag of the actual
    warming behind equilibrium warming. Ocean heat uptake is not just a theoretical or modeled phenomenon, but a measured fact. Data from about 1 million
    ocean temperature profiles show that the ocean has been taking up heat at a
    rate of 0.6 W/m2
    (averaged over the full surface of the Earth) for the period
    This rate must be subtracted from the greenhouse gas forcing of
    2.6 W/m2
    , as actual warming must reflect the net change in heat balance,
    including the heat flow into the ocean. With an observed temperature increase
    since the late nineteenth century of 0.8°C (see figure 3-3), and (as Lindzen
    posits, for the sake of argument) assuming this to be caused by greenhouse gases
    alone, we would infer a climate sensitivity of 0.8°C  (3.7 W/m2
    ) / (2.0 W/m2
    = (
    1.5°C. This is at the lower end of, but consistent with, the IPCC range

  11. Geoff Brown says:

    I know that Pete Ridley was verballed on this blog and was banned because of some-one else’s post. I also know that TCS president issued a reply to the false charges in Mike’s post midday yesterday which has not come to light. Also one other member has made several posts that have not appeared.

    In future, I will not appear here but will answer any comments made on my reply post –

  12. john byatt says:

    Can anyone think of a word that accurately describes those that call themselves climate sceptics, they are not sceptical at all , so what should they call themselves , they claim they are not denying climate change yet they deny agw ,
    semantics used to deceive ,

    while the Merchants of doubt are deceivers , i think that the rest could be called “useful XXXXX
    need a word for XXXXX ?

    • elsa says:

      Your text gives you away. Whether you like it or not, it is quite possible to believe that the climate is changing but to doubt (or deny the “science” of) AGW.

      • john byatt says:

        Elsa , read all word in a post

        they claim they are not denying climate change yet they deny agw ,
        semantics used to deceive ,

  13. elsa says:

    I have never suggested that you should use 20 year blocks and I am not sure where you got that idea. But if you look at your graph, leave out your blocks and just concentrate on the temperature graph, the conclusion that temperature went up until 1943 then down until 1964 with another low in/around 1976 is unavoidable. This rise, fall and subsequent rise all took place against a background of constantly rising CO2 concentration, which you rant about as though I dispute it, which I do not. But if you want to make the kind of link between CO2 and temperature that you want to make then your graph does not help. If anything it demonstrates that there is much more at work than you allow for or alternatively that your theory is just plain wrong.

    • One needs to, to make sense of your nonsensical mid 20th century flat line otherwise you’re simply cherry picking a point in time that looks good for a misconceived hypothesis.

      I’ve demonstrated you wrong and have the IP addresses to prove that you log on under other aliases to support yourself. Put simply, it’s a waste of one’s time entertaining you.

  14. john byatt says:

    Elsa , you are jumping to a concussion in claiming that the temperature has gone up and own just what are you suggesting/ that the anomaly is zero compared to 1880 ?

    It is not zero elsa it is .8DegC above 1880, the trend is up , internal variability
    is known , the answers you seek lie in aerosols and ocean heat uptake, again we are not here to educate you , do your own search , i suggest that you go to Realclimate and click onto START HERE,


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