Robert Mann has written an insightful piece on Lord Monckton’s role in “inspiring” Gina Rinehart’s Fairfax play. The now infamous video was initially taken down by the Mannkal Foundation but is now available online once more (see here).
“The Plan”: total control of the media?
Obviously there has been a great deal of speculation about Rinehart and her attempt to gain greater control of Fairfax these past few weeks.
Personally, I believe it demonstrates an attempt an eccentric billionaire and her coterie of pet climate sceptics to subvert the Australian media. Not satisfied with the anti-science agenda of News Limited’s Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph and The Australian (and New’s 70% share of the print media), Rinehart & Co are looking to dominate the media landscape with their particular brand of conservative-libertarian politics.
Monckton names those apparently working to reshape the Australian media landscape:
“…I would be very happy to work with people like Jo Nova and Andrew Bolt etc. to put together a business plan for such a thing if the idea would be generally supported and then we’ll see if we can get someone to be an angel funder…”
I think we can say with little doubt they found their “Angel funder” with Rinehart. However it concerns me greatly that cranks like Monckton and Nova – and Bolt – are having such a profound influence on Australia’s media.
Influential people: one billionaire’s frustration with the media
My concern has prompted me to dig into the some of the more prominent blogs and sites of the Australian denial movement for further hints of Rinehart’s activities. Thanks to Jo Nova’s need to name drop on her blog, we have an insight into Rinehart’s “frustration” with the media and her desire to reshape the industry.
In a December 2011 post on her blog, Jo Nova details a meeting with Gina Rinehart at the Mannkal Foundation’s Christmas party (a libertarian think tank that hosted the original video).
Nova notes a number of “influential people” who happen to be climate sceptics, but are also frustrated with the media and science community for their apparent “bias” against sceptics.
Nova then goes on to describe Rinehart’s disappointment at having an article she wrote for the magazine, Australian Resources and Investment, edited.
“… Ladies and Gentlemen, the Internet is the gift of gifts. How easy would it have been for the government departments, coopted scientists, and obedient media to have gotten away with the outrageous scam of forcing us to pay to change the weather? Their lock on the mainstream media would have made it easy to disguise the truth. And yet, it crumbles (all bar the Antipodes).
Then last week, I met Gina Rinehart at the Mannkal Christmas party, and she was keen to let me know that she’d mentioned David and the key points of evidence in an article for the Australian Resources and Investment publication.
A day later, Gina Rinehart was disappointed and surprised that the editors decided to cut her description of the scientific evidence — though those of us who explain science have learnt to expect that. (It’s as if editors are deathly afraid a scientific argument might bore the readers, when here, below, if readers didn’t already know it, are the blockbuster points that back up her claims.) It’s clear she is well versed. She’s carefully picked out the most important points. I’m grateful she’s given me permission to reprint the excerpts of her article, most especially the unpublished parts. Naturally, any credit for what Gina knows belongs to Gina, but — credit where credit is due — thanks to Monckton, Carter and Plimer too.
What is interesting that even in a magazine extremely friendly to the mining industry Rinehart couldn’t get her climate change denial published. As a consequence, Rinehart expressed “disappointment and surprise”.
What better way to alleviate that disappointment than simply “buy-out” sections of the media? If you’re fast becoming one of the world’s richest people, why not add a complacent media to empire in order to “shape” the public debate?
Nova states in this post Rinehart had “given her permission” to publish the edited extracts of her article on her blog – clearly a lot of discussion and is going on behind the scenes.
Rinehart’s scepticism: channelling Plimer, Carter, Evans et.al
Nova reproduces the missing part of Rinehart’s article which I’ve captured below. It contains the usual grab bag of climate sceptic arguments. Indeed, Rinehart simply regurgitates standard denier talking points:
- “CO2 has no effect”
- “The climate has always changed”
- “Temperature records are unreliable”
- “Computer models cant’ be trusted”
She cites David Evans as a primary source for arguments. Rinehart also repeats many of the discredited talking points made by the likes of Ian Plimer and Bob Carter.
Given Rinehart’s wealth, power and influence it pays to have some insight into her views on climate and her brand of “scepticism”. It gives us the necessary context in analysing her moves into the media industry, support for climate change scepticism and her obsession with the ANDEV project.
Rinehart on Climate Change: in her own words
Here is what didn’t go into Rinehart’s article, in which she attempted to present the “scientific evidence” against climate change:
Please consider the following scientific evidence:
1. The atmosphere currently has <0.04% CO2, in former times it was up to 30%. Six of the six great ice ages formed at a time when atmospheric carbon dioxide was far higher than now. Clearly, this did not drive warming.
2. For 80% of past geological time, planet Earth has been warmer than today, with far more CO2 in the atmosphere. Clearly, this warming was neither irreversible nor catastrophic.
3. At times in the past (Carboniferous, Cretaceous, Eocene) the Earth experienced sudden injections of CO2 into the atmosphere. In response, the planet warmed slightly but less than daily changes we experience now and not in an irreversible or catastrophic way.
4. Ice cores from Antarctica show that atmospheric CO2 increases around 800 years after natural events of warming i.e. natural warming drives carbon dioxide emissions, not the inverse.
5.Over the last 120,000 years, there have been 25 periods of warming where temperature rose by up to 8 deg C. These were not driven by human emissions, were natural and were neither irreversible nor catastrophic.
6.Sea level rose 130 metres between 12,000 and 6,000 years ago and temperatures were at a maximum 6,000 years ago. For the last 6,000 years we have been cooling with intermittent warm periods (Minoan, Roman, Medieval, Modern). In the first three warming periods, it was far warmer than now, sea level did not rise and such warmings clearly were not a result of atmospheric carbon dioxide increases. The Modern Warming commenced 300 years ago. It has not been demonstrated which part of this warming is natural and which part is of human origin, and since 1998 the Earth has been cooling despite a rapid rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
7. Since thermometer measurements were first being taken the Earth has warmed (1860-1880), cooled (1880-1910), warmed (1910-1940), cooled (1940-1977), warmed (1977-1998) and cooled (1998-present). Humans really started to emit carbon dioxide from 1940, and the two earlier warmings were at the same rate as the 1977-1998 warming. Hence it has not been shown that there is a human influence on warming. At present, carbon dioxide emissions are increasing yet we are cooling.
8. The IPCC states that 97% of carbon dioxide emissions are natural and only 3% are human. It has not been scientifically shown how the 3% contribution can drive global warming when the 97% does not.
9. There is no science-based argument for CO2 being the dominant greenhouse gas; instead, CO2 is a minor greenhouse component whose effect is greatly overshadowed by that of water vapour.
10. To get carbon dioxide, a plant food, into perspective, for every one carbon dioxide molecule of human origin there are 32 of natural origin in a total of 88,000 other molecules. It has yet to be shown that this one molecule in 88,000 drives climate change and there is only information to the contrary because no past climate changes (which were larger and more rapid than anything we measure today) were driven by carbon dioxide, certainly not human induced, and what we measure today is within variability.
”Further you may wish to consider the scientist and mathematician, Dr David Evans view in an article titled “Evidence Speaks – It’s a Scam”, he has recently provided four other evidential tests against which global warming can be assessed, which have been independently confirmed by others.
The four key pieces of evidence that Evans presents, and the graphs which relate to each, are available here at (http://sciencespeak.com/evidence.pdf). They concern the complex computer climate models that provide the main basis for warming alarmism, and in summary are:”
1. That the climate models used by the United Nations (IPCC) to promote warming alarm are fundamentally flawed, and exaggerate measured atmospheric temperature increases.
2.That the climate models predict the oceans should be warming. We’ve only been measuring ocean temperature properly since 2003, using the ARGO system, and now 3,000 ARGO buoys patrol and measure ocean temperature constantly. They say that the ocean temperature since 2003 has been basically flat. Again, reality is very different to the climate models.
3.That the climate models predict a particular pattern of atmospheric warming during periods of global warming, which is the presence of a so-called hotspot of warming at about 10 km height in the tropics. But we have been measuring atmospheric temperatures by weather balloons since the 1960s, and millions of weather balloon measurements show that there was no such hotspot during the last phase of warming between 1975 and 2001.
4. And, satellites are now able to measure the outgoing radiation from the earth, and have established that the earth gives off more heat when the surface is warmer, and less heat in months when the earth’s surface is cooler. But again the climate models say the opposite, and predict that the Earth will give off less heat when the surface is warmer.
“There’s talk that the government will subsidize this cost for some of us – look at what’s happening in Europe and USA where governments became too big, overstretched themselves and their expenditures, created extensive debt problems, with the obvious consequences of pressure to raise taxes, and, recession. What happens in recession, the rich have less discretionary expenditure, but those who are most hurt by recession are those on limited fixed incomes, pensioners, those on low and low to middle incomes, those on middle incomes especially where only one adult is in the work force.”
I noted this article some time ago, and it gave me pause back then. Rinehart and Nova in discussions? But I didn’t write on it, as I’d put WtD was on hold.
The whole affair has made me acutely aware of the need to pay better attention to the publications, videos and articles of the denial movement. More care and diligence is required.