Category Archives: Think tanks

War is over: victory over the deniers

Time for bold claims: the war is over.

The International Herald Tribune picks up on what may be an emerging trend: the decline of climate scepticism:

In a blog entry this summer, famed international correspondent Christiane Amanpour opined that the climate change denial club “is actually now shrinking faster than the polar ice caps.” 

Opinion surveys suggest she’s right. Two factors that may contribute to the changing attitude about the changing climate — and the melting away of many skeptics — are the extreme weather events that have affected the United States recently and the legions of climate activists who make it their business to convince and motivate an increasingly receptive public.

The post referenced above is titled The climate debate is over:

In the fierce and sometimes ugly fight over global climate change, we finally have an answer coming from the earth itself: the weather is telling us climate change is here and we are causing it. Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku is among the scientist who say the world is giving us signs that climate change is already happening (to see how he explains it, watch the video above).

This summer, there have been relentless droughts, wildfires, melting glaciers and unprecedented storms – all happening at the same time. And around the world people are demanding something be done about it. Even in the United States, ground zero for climate change denial, six in ten Americans say they believe it is indeed happening. But political leaders are missing in action – cowed by a vociferous climate change denial club, which is actually now shrinking faster than the polar ice caps.

In the video physicist Michio Kaku admits he was a sceptic until he looked at the evidence.

War is over…

Personally, I believe the climate change denial movement will splutter and rage on for a few more years as the most prominent voices and their well funded supporters continue to rage against reality.

But already one gets the sense the voices of Andrew Bolt, Jo Nova, David Evans, Anthony Watts, Marc Morano et.al are becoming increasingly marginal. Ironically they are becoming even more shrill in their claims of conspiracy theories and “It’s not happening”.

News Corporation and the think tanks will continue their desperate rearguard action against the public’s acceptance of the science: history’s judgement will be no doubt be unkind.

The deniers will achieve a few more Pyrrhic Victories: maybe they’ll find a flaw or two in the next IPCC report (AR5), publish a few hundred more op-ed pieces in major dailies and delay a carbon tax in the US for an electoral cycle or two.

Sure – public acceptance of the science will swing this and that for a few more years, but the trend is towards majority acceptance of the science. At some point public tolerance for the deniers will shift from a bemused indifference to disgust and exasperation.

Will that greater public acceptance of the science translate into voter demand for action?

The denial machine will attempt to arrest that as well – after all, that is their raison d’etre. They’re skilled at halting progress so they’ll continue to block, obstruct and show the seeds of disinformation.

But that’s all the denial movement has to look forward too: small scale, tactical victories in a war that is over. The funding for their activities will soon begin to dry up: they will retreat to the fringes of internet culture with flat Earth fanatics, UFO enthusiasts and other intellectual fringe dwellers.

How the war was “won”

However we must be honest: the victory was not achieved by activists or science communicators. Too late it was realized it was never about the science, but values and world view; ideology was the crucial driver of those rejecting the science.

We – the journalists, activists, bloggers, politicians, scientists fighting to bring climate to the forefront of public perception – fought the good fight. We did all we could have been asked to do: but the denial machine was more organised, better funded and prepared to engage in suspect and unethical behavior. Ruthlessness tipped the battle in their favor for close to three decades.

But at some point physics and chemistry was going to resolve the debate: brute reality was always the final arbiter.

And so 2012 will be regarded as the year the debate “shifted” against the sceptic movement – the extreme weather events of this year and Sandy ensured that.

But something like Hurricane Sandy was inevitable. Whether a storm of Sandy’s kind arrived this year or next, something of Sandy’s scale was always coming – and with it the profound  social and political implications of such a storm.

[Note: upon reflection, I think Tamino is very correct: activists and bloggers fought a valuable holding action, doing their best to hold off the onslaught against science.]

War is over – if you wan’t it

And so – with mock solemnity and virtual trumpets – I declare the end of hostilities in what is merely the opening phases of a longer conflict over containing climate change.

Let’s call it the “First Climate War”, a virtual battle over public perception fought in the opinion pages of newspapers, on blogs and social media and in back rooms across the globe. It was fought in the streets of Copenhagen and influenced the Australian election of 2007.

Participants included global media corporations, NGOs, sovereign nations, transnational bodies such as the UN, the fossil fuel industry, think tanks, scientists, eccentric billionaires, bloggers and politicians.

The First Climate War was a messy and brutal conflict more impenetrable and confusing than the Thirty Years War – and much like the Thirty Years War it was a conflict that drew in major powers, religious fanatics and obscure principalities, off of whom were sucked into its vortex by a mixture of principles and power politics.

But this initial phase of the conflict is coming to a close.

War is over…

Can we can go “home”; can we go back to how things were?

Can we dismantle our blogs; discontinue our Twitter accounts?

Can we can lay down our (metaphorical) arms, and begin to count the cost?

Those of you have been personally involved in this “debate” knows how it can feel: like brutal, bloody trench warfare.

But Like all wars, the cessation of hostilities is merely the prelude to reconstruction and new debates, the emergence of strange new alliances and emergencies.

As the World Bank notes in their recent report:

“A 4°C warmer world can, and must be, avoided – we need to hold warming below 2°C,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today. Climate change is one of the single biggest challenges facing development, and we need to assume the moral responsibility to take action on behalf of future generations, especially the poorest.”

And that:

As global warming approaches and exceeds 2°C, there is a risk of triggering nonlinear tipping elements. Examples include the disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet leading to more rapid sea-level rise, or large-scale Amazon dieback drastically affecting ecosystems, rivers, agriculture, energy production, and livelihoods. This would further add to 21st-century global warming and impact entire continents.

The projected 4°C warming simply must not be allowed to occur—the heat must be turned down. Only early, cooperative, international actions can make that happen.

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Genesis of the watermelon myth: how right-wing popularism shaped climate scepticism for the past two decades

The emergence of the New Right and climate scepticism

Further to the previous post, I thought I’d share an interesting presentation from The Public Eye, a progressive think tank that conducts research on right-wing popularism. It is a very high level overview of the movement, but worth looking at if you have the time (download the copy from the WtD archives here).

It does need to be said the right is not a monolithic entity – it is comprised of various groups, some in broad agreement and others in violent disagreement.

However they share deep commonalities.

My research has lead me to the thought that the climate sceptic movement is an offshoot, or component, of a broad based right-wing popularist movement that has been emerging and growing in political power since the 1950s.

In order to support such an argument I’ve been tracing the genesis of the ‘watermelon” myth – that environmentalism is merely a new form of socialism (Wikipedia definition here):

Eco-socialists are critical of many past and existing forms of both Green politics and socialism. They are often described as Red Greens – adherents to Green politics with clear anti-capitalist views, often inspired by Marxism (Red Greens should be contrasted with Blue Greens).

The term Watermelon is commonly applied, often as an insult, to describe professed Greens who seem to put “social justice” goals above ecological ones, implying they are “green on the outside but red on the inside”; the term is usually attributed to either Petr Beckmann or, more frequently, Warren T. Brookes,[2][3][4] both critics of environmentalism, and is apparently common in Australia,[5][6] New Zealand[7] and the United States[8]

Clearly the watermelon theory has its antecedents in anti-communism – and yes, some socialists and Marxists have written on environmental issues.

And yet despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall it seems many sceptics are still fighting the Cold War.

Not all environmentalists are Marxists, and scientists aren’t socialists simply because they’ve pointed out the globe is warming: is it that some conservatives simply can’t let go of the Cold War paradigm?

President of the Czech Republic (sceptic and advocate for free markets) Vaclav Klaus is noted for his comparisons of climate change science to Marxism, as this 2011 ABC interview demonstrates:

Geraldine Doogue: Could we talk first about your idea, how much the politics of climate change reminds you of the politics of the communist era in the old Czechoslovakia, please?

Vaclav Klaus: Well, I would like to put it in a mild way, that comparison. You know, I lived, I spent almost half a century of my life in the communist era, where I was forced to accept similar arguments. And I was very angry. I protested, I tried to explain it differently and now I again live in a world of political correctness; in a world when you have one idea you are considered a ‘climate change denier’ or you are considered a ‘sceptic’, and I always try to say that I disagree with those terms, labels, as sceptic, pessimist, denier.

I’d suggest there is more to this than simple right-wing paranoia.

There is a deeper story, far more nuanced than simply equating climate change scepticism with either fossil fuel funded disinformation or lingering fears about reds under the bed.

But first we need to look at the emergence of “the New Right” and the ideologies that informs it.

From reds under the bed to watermelons: the 1950s to today

Public Eye provide an good diagram illustrating the emergence of right-wing popularism since the 1950s and the McCarthy era;

Into this time line – around the mid 1980s – the issue of climate change came to the attention of the various right wing movements that form the basis of this movement.

Conservatives immediately began to formulate a response – and counter-movement – to the perceived threats of a) increased government regulation and b) challenges to cherished values and norms.

It is only now, twenty years after the fact, that we are beginning to recognize how climate change became embroiled in the ‘culture war”:

Taken together, these three facets of our existential challenge illustrate the magnitude of the cultural debate that climate change provokes. Climate change challenges us to examine previously unexamined beliefs and worldviews. It acts as a flash point (albeit a massive one) for deeper cultural and ideological conflicts that lie at the root of many of our environmental problems, and it includes differing conceptions of science, economics, religion, psychology, media, development, and governance.

It is a proxy for “deeper conflicts over alternative visions of the future and competing centers of authority in society,” as University of East Anglia climatologist Mike Hulme underscores in Why We Disagree About Climate Change. And, as such, it provokes a violent debate among cultural communities on one side who perceive their values to be threatened by change, and cultural communities on the other side who perceive their values to be threatened by the status quo.

In attempting to understand climate scepticism I believe we have overlooked how it has been shaped by broader cultural forces. As I have often said, “we” were incredibly naive to think it was simply about presenting the scientific evidence in a “rational and logical manner”.

Parallel cultures and counter-knowledge: think tanks and the fusion right-wing popularism and environmental scepticism

As part of this analysis, I believe we need to draw attention to the important role of conservative think tanks.

They are not merely the ciphers of corporate propaganda.

They are the critical formulators and disseminators of counter-knowledge: disinformation packaged as fact and tailored to the world view of cultural groups.

They are cultural institutions (see above), specifically established in the 1970s to produce counter-knowledge and scholarship in opposition to “official” sources such as academia, mainstream media and science.

They are a critical component of a parallel conservative culture which frequently rejects established scientific theories such as evolution and climate change.

We need to rid ourselves of the simple notion that their corporate funders pay them to spout free-market propaganda: many of their funders share the same world view and cluster of conservative, right-wing values. 

Indeed, one merely needs to look at the context and mission of think tanks when they were established in the 1970s.

The famous memo Lewis Powell memo of 1971 urged the US Chamber of Congress to begin building a parallel system of thought and idea generation to counter ‘socialism” and the enemies of freedom:

The most disquieting voices joining the chorus of criticism come from perfectly respectable elements of society: from the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians. In most of these groups the movement against the system is participated in only by minorities. Yet, these often are the most articulate, the most vocal, the most prolific in their writing and speaking.

Moreover, much of the media-for varying motives and in varying degrees-either voluntarily accords unique publicity to these “attackers,” or at least allows them to exploit the media for their purposes. This is especially true of television, which now plays such a predominant role in shaping the thinking, attitudes and emotions of our people.

One of the bewildering paradoxes of our time is the extent to which the enterprise system tolerates, if not participates in, its own destruction.

Note the broad application of the “enemies”: media, the arts, sciences and politicians.

Powell’s memo did not single-handily create the think-tanks, but it did provide powerful impetus for their creation.

Today, the think tanks are the great “fusionists” of right-wing thought and conspiracy culture.

Over the past several decades they have fused scepticism of environmental issues with a free market ideology and – critically – conservative social values.

One merely has to visit their websites to see the cluster of ideology and values loudly proclaimed: the literature and language of think-tanks abounds with terms such as “liberty”, “freedom” and “democracy”.

Take a closer look, note the language and imagery:

And;

Freedom; liberty; freedom; liberty; freedom; liberty; freedom.

Notice a pattern?

An enormous strategic error has been made: by simply and naively focusing on the scientific arguments promoted and extolled by the think tanks we missed the broader context.

We spoke in facts, they have always spoken of values.

It was always a culture war, and it has been raging for decades.

What do we mean by “right-wing popularism”?

I’ll produce another slide from the Public Eye presentation which illustrates some of the key components of right-wing popularism:

I’d draw the readers attention to two key concepts listed above:

  • Anti-intellectualism – suspicion of elites, including an emphasis on conspiracist allegations of in shadowy forces control the economy and media
  • Producerism – a form of scapegoating that sees attacks from both those above and those below, defining proper identity along very narrow lines.

Sound familiar?

The producerism of climate sceptics: Australia’s Dr. David Evans as an example

The motifs and language of producerism is a common thread throughout sceptic literature.

One has to look no further than the persistent and frequent claims by sceptics that scientists, bankers, government and the media are all engaged in a conspiracy. Public Eye defines Producersim in more detail:

Calls to rally the virtuous “producing classes” against evil “parasites” at both the top and bottom of society is a tendency called producerism. It is a conspiracist narrative used by repressive right wing populism. Today we see examples of it in some sectors of the Christian Right, in the Patriot movements and armed militias, and in the Far right. (see chart of US right). Producerism is involved in the relationship between Buchanan, Fulani, Perot, and the Reform Party. 

Producerism begins in the US with the Jacksonians, who wove together intra-elite factionalism and lower-class Whites’ double-edged resentments. Producerism became a staple of repressive populist ideology. Producerism sought to rally the middle strata together with certain sections of the elite. Specifically, it championed the so-called producing classes (including White farmers, laborers, artisans, slaveowning planters, and “productive” capitalists) against “unproductive” bankers, speculators, and monopolists above—and people of color below. After the Jacksonian era, producerism was a central tenet of the anti-Chinese crusade in the late nineteenth century. In the 1920s industrial philosophy of Henry Ford, and Father Coughlin’s fascist doctrine in the 1930s, producerism fused with antisemitic attacks against “parasitic” Jews.

I’ll be exploring producerism in more detail, but I would draw attention to the fact that bankers and other ‘parasitic classes’ are frequently the perceived enemies identified by parts of the climate sceptic movement.

It also explains the strangely antisemitic strain of thought that finds expression in some climate sceptic literature and expressed world-views (see here and here).

We see echoes of this in the writings of Perth sceptic Dr. David Evans and his partner, blogger Joanne Nova.

Evans and Nova write frequently on the influence of the financial industry and Rothschild family as being the “true powers” in the world manipulating global events.

The genealogy of this form conspiracy first found expression in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century: however it has continued to be influential within conspiracy culture and is a motif frequently recycled and used today.

In one of his recent papers, Evan’s writes about a parasitic class he calls the “paper aristocracy”:

The paper aristocracy has overwhelming wealth. They own or influence all the media – if only because every media organization borrows from banks. They influence almost all the institutions that employ professional economists, by supplying the money for PhDs and providing most of the lucrative consulting jobs for economists. They buy politicians by the truckload. The banksters have even killed the occasional thorn in their side—including, probably, two US presidents, Lincoln and Garfield…”

So when you hear sceptics repeat the oft repeated phrase “follow the money” it is not simply a claim that scientists and environmentalists are motivated by venal self interest: the money is used to exert influence and reshape the political system behind the scene (or so the conspiracy theory claims).

It is a claim to a massive conspiracy that has its roots in a number of strands of right-wing thought.

Again, patterns in thought and conspiracy making can be seen to be emerging.

Eternal vigilance: the existential socialist threat that never fades

I would also add the above the persistent right-wing fear of socialism or Marxism as a resurgent force. The Berlin Wall may have fallen, but the cultural and Cold War warriors have sworn to remain every vigilant to the danger.

This is why the conflict between “freedom” and “tyranny” can never end; it is a holy war, apocalyptic in nature and an existential threat that can never fade.

Again, we see this in a 2012 speech by Vaclav Klaus:

From the turn of the 1960s and 1970s, that is from the establishment of the Club of Rome and its first reports, I became afraid of the green ideology, in which I saw a dangerous alternative to the traditional socialist doctrine. It was evident that it was another radical attempt to change human society. The alleged depletion of natural resources and the so called population bomb were merely a pretence. At that time it was not possible to see the Global Warming Doctrine that arrived later, nor the power and dangers hidden inside it…

The barbarians are always at the gates, waiting to destroy civilisation.

Climate scepticism: the roots of the movement go beyond big oil

One of the most important works on climate scepticism is the Oreskes and Conway text Merchants of Doubt.

I do not intend to challenge the very sound assumptions of that book.

But I did think as I read the work (and I humbly suggest this) it only told part of the story.

Thus I decided to revisit the primary materials from the same periods – the immediate post war years until today.

I also thought it worth while expanding my research beyond the sources listed in Merchants of Doubt and review a broader range of texts, articles and videos by the individuals discussed.

Very quickly I began finding “climate sceptic” materials from the late 1980s and early 1990s demonstrating the sceptic movement is more than simply the product of the right wing think tanks funded by “big oil”.

Their language and motifs echoed the claims of right-wing popularism to a surprising degree.

Indeed many of the arguments we are still responding to today – action on climate will destroy the economy, climate change is a religion or a manufactured hoax etc. – were formulated in the mid to late 1980s and have been endlessly recycled in the decades since.

Conspiracism is a key feature of all these movements, and has heavily influenced the culture of the climate sceptic community.

An argument can be made that in addition to the think tanks funded by “big oil”, a broad based right-wing conservative movement has waged a “war on science”.

For far too long we saw scepticism as the one defining characteristic of the deniers: however their scepticism is merely one component of a much broader world view.

Indeed the attack on climate science has been running for decades on multiple fronts by a broad coalition of conservative forces using the language and tactics of right-wing popularism.

Genesis of the watermelon myth: the religious anxiety and climate scepticism Dixy Lee Ray

Those who have read the Oreskes and Conway book may recall Dixy Lee Ray, the conservative Democratic governor of Washington state (see page 130 ff).

Ray wrote one of the earliest sceptic books titled Trashing the planet: how science can help us deal with acid rain, depletion of ozone, and nuclear waste (among other things).

In this work Ray sang the praises of DDT and dismissed the threat of Ozone depletion, helping establish the sceptic methodology for the attack on climate science.

As Orekes and Conway note, Ray was a practitioner of ‘denial as a political strategy”:

“…We see this narrative first emerging someone we have already met: Dixy Lee Ray. In Trashing the planet, Ray sang the praises of DDT and constructed a set of ‘facts” that have circulated every since…”

Oreskes and Conway examine her role in the early sceptic movement, her scientific misunderstandings (or if you are less charitable distortions) and her legacy. However, Ray’s legacy goes beyond the “DDT is safe” myth.

When I looked at the full extent of Ray’s writings I was curious to find the following interview in the Fall, 1992, issue of Science and the Environment: a Publication of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty (note the title).

In this interview Ray reflects on the original Rio Earth Summit and claims environmentalism is the next big threat to “liberty”:

R&L: With the world-wide decline of socialism, many individuals think that the environmental movement may be the next great threat to freedom. Do you agree? 

Ray: Yes, I do, and I’ll tell you why. It became evident to me when I attended the worldwide Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro last June. The International Socialist Party, which is intent upon continuing to press countries into socialism, is now headed up by people within the United Nations. They are the ones in the UN environmental program, and they were the ones sponsoring the so-called Earth Summit that was attended by 178 nations.

Ray then goes on to make a remarkable series of claims that foreshadows much of the sceptic movements claims about world government, climate change as a religion and the conspiratorial notion the UN Agenda 21 program is intended to usher in a world government:

R&L: Did you see a big influence by the radical environmentalists there? 

Ray: Oh yes. No question about that, the radicals are in charge. One of the proposals that did indeed pass as part of Agenda 21 proposes that there be world government under the UN, that essentially all nations give up their sovereignty, and that the nations will be, as they said quite openly, frightened or coerced into doing that by threats of environmental damage. 

R&L: Much of the current environmental movement is couched in terms of pagan religions, worshiping the Earth, goddess Gaia, equating the value of trees and people, animal rights, etc. Can you account for how this is accepted in the public forum, when traditional Judeo-Christian religious ethics are basically outlawed from policy making decisions? Do you think the general public is just unaware of the tendency to make environmentalism a religion?

On the role of government, Ray is very clear:

R&L: One could argue that the decline of Marxism vindicates Thomas Jefferson’s assertion that the less government does to the complex order of a national economy, the more likely it is that the economy will prosper and the liberty of its citizens will be secured. In the complex order of the environment, what things are appropriate for government to do in order to protect the natural workings of the environment and simultaneously secure liberty?

Ray: I think it’s appropriate for the government to set standards. For example, to describe what is permitted in the terms of releasing waste products into the environment. I think that it’s appropriate for there to be standards with respect to pollution of the air and the water and so on. I do not believe that the government is in any position to say exactly how every single business and every single activity shall reach those performances. The government should set a goal for a clean environment but not mandate how that goal should be implemented.

And there you have it: climate scepticism, religious conservatism, free market fundamentalism and conspiracy ideation.

Ray’s thoughts epitimise the culture war; they also point to the genesis of “the watermelon” myth in context to climate change.

The debate we have been fighting for the last 20 years has been informed by a fusionist mix of social and religious conservatism.

In the Ray interview we see – in its most nascent and earliest form – the contemporary climate sceptic movement born from a culture of right-wing popularism.

Thus when Sen, Jim Inhofe claims in his book The Greatest hoax: how the global warming conspiracy threatens your future about the role of God in climate change:

Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that “as long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.”

My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.

…he is not saying anything new.

Indeed his world view and politics is shaped by the sometimes conflicting and at other times overlapping ideology of the New Right.

We also see this with UK journalist and climate sceptic James Delingpole who has devoted an entire work to the concept of “watermelons”. It echos the claims made by Dixy Lee Ray over twenty years ago.

The book, Watermelons: the green movement’s true colors, merely works in an established tradition (form the blurb which says it all):

Watermelons shows how the scientific method has been sacrificed on the altar of climate alarmism. Delingpole mocks the green movement’s pathetic record of apocalyptic predictions, from the “population bomb” to global cooling, which failed to materialize. He reveals the fundamental misanthropy of green ideology, “rooted in hatred of the human species, hell bent on destroying almost everything man has achieved”. 

Delingpole gives a refreshing voice to widespread public skepticism over global warming, emphasising that the “crisis” has been engineered by people seeking to control our lives by imposing new taxes and regulations. “Your taxes will be raised, your liberties curtailed and your money squandered to deal with this ‘crisis'”, he writes. 

At its very roots, argues Delingpole, climate change is an ideological battle, not a scientific one. Green on the outside, red on the inside, the liberty-loathing, humanity-hating “watermelons” of the modern environmental movement do not want to save the world. They want to rule it.

Delingpole, like Ray, warns about vast global conspiracies and the stealth motives of “Agenda 21′ in his text.

Conclusions: climate scepticism as a form of right-wing popularism?

I tend to think the voluminous primary material similar to Ray’s interview supports the assertion the climate sceptic movement is an offshoot – or part thereof – of the right-wing popularism that has been growing in power and influence for the past several decades.

Climate sceptics have utilized the tactics and language of this movement since the late 1980s and early 1990s: I believe the documentary evidence supports this hypothesis.

Indeed, the climate sceptic movement shares many of the same characteristics and traits of right-wing popularism:

  • anti-intellectualism
  • social conservatism
  • conspiracy claims
  • producerism

These topics will be explored in future posts, and I believe it is a hypothesis worth exploring.

Final thoughts

Key message to the environment movement: stop fighting the war over scientific facts; stop thinking climate scepticism is the product of fossil fuel industry disinformation; start speaking of our values; stop being obsessed with “who” funds which think tank, the public is indifferent to this failed strategy. It’s bigger than that: it has always been so.

The Word of Murdoch: hacking scandals, climate change denial and Rupert Murdoch’s lasting legacy

[Note: I wrote this piece in May before the News Ltd break up of its divisions, however I saw it as inevitable. I also noted that dust bowl conditions would return to the US Mid-West. Murdoch recently stated in a tweet that climate change was happening, and that the proposed cures – one assumes the “carbon tax” – worse. I believe the events in the US, Japan, Korea, the UK, Russia and around the globe are putting Murdoch’s claim to the test. – Mike @ WtD]

Earlier this week the joint British Parliamentary committee investigating the News International (NI) “phone hacking” scandal released a damning report , accusing both NI and its chairman, Rupert Murdoch of misleading parliament and “willful blindness”

The report is well worth reading, as its conclusions seriously question the ethics of both NI (the UK subsidiary of News Corporation) and Rupert Murdoch:

“Corporately, the News of the World and News International misled the Committee about the true nature and extent of the internal investigations they professed to have carried out in relation to phone hacking; by making statements they would have known were not fully truthful; and by failing to disclose documents which would have helped expose the truth. Their instinct throughout, until it was too late, was to cover up rather than seek out wrongdoing and discipline the perpetrators, as they also professed they would do after the criminal convictions. In failing to investigate properly, and by ignoring evidence of widespread wrongdoing, News International and its parent News Corporation exhibited wilful blindness, for which the companies’ directors—including Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch—should ultimately be prepared to take responsibility…”

Both James and Rupert Murdoch – in the eyes of the UK parliament – are not fit to lead the company:

“On the basis of the facts and evidence before the Committee, we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications. This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International. We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company…”

I’ve worked most of my career in the private sector, and can say with some authority that the culture of an organisation is determined by its management. If a blind eye is turned to bullying, intimidation and unethical behaviour over a prolonged period then these behaviours will not only flourish, but will become “standard operating procedure”.

Enron, AiG and now News Corporation: a failure of leadership

There is truth to the old saying, “The buck stops here”.

Ultimate responsibility for the misdeeds of an organisation rest with its most senior management. Especially when those misdeeds are so pervasive and widespread. They can be excuse for ignorance. This is the media industries equivalent to the Enron scandal.

And yet like so the executives of other failed organisations, Murdoch grapples with the idea of personal responsibility. In a memo to staff of his Dow Jones employees just released, we clearly see the aging octogenarian struggling with personal responsibility:

“I recognize that for all of us – myself in particular – it is difficult to read many of the report’s findings. But we have done the most difficult part, which has been to take a long, hard and honest look at our past mistakes…”

What is fascinating is the lack personal responsibility in this blandly written PR puff-piece.

And yet the news (no pun intended) is sweeping the globe, making it impossible for Murdoch and his empire down play what is a devastating judgement.

Rupert Murdoch is unfit to lead a company.

The implications for Murdoch and News International are profound, as his interests in the UK and US are coming under further scrutiny. Indeed, Murdoch may be forced to sell off its British papers and remaining share of BSkyB. Recall Murdoch had to withdraw his bid to fully take over BSkyB in the wake of the hacking scandal.

Bad news: the evidence is piling up fast

News Corporation and Murdoch have come under increasing scrutiny over the last year. The phone hacking revelations sent a shiver of disgust across the world (righty so).

And yet as ugly as that incident was, much good came from it. Politicians and commentators started taking very a hard look at Murdoch and his empire:

  •  Robert Manns’ “Bad news” digs into News Ltd’s Australian operations, examining the world view of the executives and senior journalists and finds a culture of bullying, intimidation and a “what ever it takes” approach to destroying it’s “enemies” (Greens, climate scientists, competitors)
  • Dial M for Murdoch by British MP Tony Watson details how News International engaged in a systematic campaign of deleting incriminating emails and destroying computers to hide evidence related to its illegal activities.

Nor should we forget, that earlier this year it was revealed a News Corporation subsidiary – New Datacom Systems – was involved in undermining pay TV competitors by suppling “hacked” keys to the set top boxes of rival operators (and thus hurting their revenue by facilitating piracy).

In Australia, the Independent Media Inquiry has been examining the role of the media, its ability to police itself and the need for a “fit and proper persons test” for media proprietors (note, such provision did exist in Australia but was removed during the 1980s during the privatisation and deregulation mania).

The Murdoch discount and the break up of empire

Questions are being asked Murdoch’s ability to lead News Corporation, while the heir apparent – James Murdoch – has lost all credibility.

Following the release of the report, New Corp shares actually went up, no doubt confusing some people. Surely the share price should “tank” following the news that its chairman is not a fit to lead the company?

The share price increase isn’t a vote of confidence in favour of James and Rupert – it’s actually the opposite. Investors are anticipating Murdoch will soon be forced step down or relinquish personal control of News Corporation.

It won’t be the end of the News Corp – quite a number of its assets are highly profitable. But as many analysts have noted, significant parts of the “empire” underperform (the newspaper titles). Share holders and analysts have been eager for the company to dispose of them for years.

Should Murdoch retire – or is pushed to retire – it is highly likely shareholders will insist the company divest itself of such underperforming units. A great deal of the company’s newspapers and print titles are subsidized by its more profitable pay television and media units (case in point, The Australian). News Corp retains them simply because Rupert has as sentimental attachment to them.

Analysts often refer to the “Murdoch discount”. In essence, they subtract 30% from the value of shares due to Murdoch’s heavy handed control of the company, sometimes erratic judgement and sentimental attachment to the ailing newspaper arm of the company.

The “market” wants News Corp to be broken up, so as to unleash the full potential of its better performing assets. Rupert Murdoch, due to his need to control and hang onto every last part of his sprawling empire is seen as the blocker.

There is an upside to “break up” for those concerned about how Murdoch uses his media empire to further his political and ideological agenda. Such a break up would see Murdoch lose the global platform that gives voice to his prejudices, ideology and ability to wield power.

I have no issue News Corporation being a highly profitable and well managed company. But I do have take issue with how Murdoch has used News to further his political power and ideological agenda.

Should News Corp divest itself of some of its newspaper assets we will see a change in editors, the type of news reported and tone. Rather than a monolithic entity singing Rupert’s song, we will see a greater diversity. Sure, many titles will remain rabidly right wing, tabloid cess pools of denial and populist rage. But others will do doubt begin to report news in a manner different to what they do currently.

This is the creative destruction of the market, and News Corporation is overdue for a much needed dose of this medicine.

And yet Murdoch’s legacy won’t simply be that of the man who wanted it all; the kind of individual who believes the ends justified the means when it comes to amassing power.

Indeed, Murdoch will leave a legacy will touch all of us.

It will be the very air we breathe, and the atmosphere we live in.

The banality of denial: free market fundamentalism and the denial of climate change

While the finding that Murdoch is unfit to lead a company may seem unrelated to the climate change debate, many understand the central role News Corporation has played in misleading the public across the globe on climate change.

The same selective blindness, ideological zeal and bullying tactics that created a culture fostered illegal activities also created a culture hostile to the idea of climate change.

Murdoch is a free market ideologue, and his “faith” in markets and limited government is the idée-fixe permeating every corner of News Corporation. It shapes the opinion pages of The Australian and Wall Street Journal and infects how the news is reported across his vast media holdings.

Like the propaganda adjunct of a one-party state, every outlet of News Corporation endlessly repeats the same Orwellian doublespeak: the climate is always changing, climate change is not real.

But why such hostility to what is settled science?

The idea that we should act cooperatively to address climate change runs counter to the neo-conservative faith in markets. Climate change is a classic example of – in the words of Nicholas Stern – the “worst market failure” in history. Our economic activities are driving environmental instability.

To accept the scientific evidence for climate change is to accept that the market is imperfect. Thus, Murdoch – the free-market ideologue – has waged war on the idea that markets can fail.

There is the “Australian’s war on science” and my much more humble “Herald Sun war on science”. In the US, the News owned “Fox News” is a cesspool of climate change denial, while the Wall Street Journal deliberately clouds the debate by publishing the claims of climate sceptics.

Climate change denial is so entrenched and vehement within News Corporation it prompted Rolling Stone to state that “no one has done more” than Murdoch’s to spread “dangerous misinformation”.

One academic has gone so far as to claim Murdoch and his empire of disinformation has cost humanity “at least one or two decades” of mitigation efforts:

The Murdoch media empire has cost humanity perhaps one or two decades of time in the battle against climate change. Each lost decade greatly increases the eventual economic costs, the devastation to our ecosystems, and the suffering of future generations.

Do you think I’m exaggerating?

Read the real science, ask the real experts

Murdoch and his minions have cost humanity the crucial decades that would have allowed us to avoid the more serious effects of climate change. The level of suffering for future generations will be unnecessarily greater

Put in brutal terms, more people are going to die than should.

Murdoch’s place amongst that pantheon of individuals who have caused suffering on a mass scale is assured.

Such is the banality of evil.

All it takes is a cadre of loyal journalists to repeat the same lies and disinformation to mislead the public and intimidate politicians into inaction.

No one directly suffers, and yet the price is paid by future generations.

Murdoch’s lasting legacy: a broken climate

Murdoch the man has been found unfit to lead a company in the free market, while at the same time helping usher in the worst market failure in history.

History, if nothing else, has a refined sense of irony.

Murdoch’s legacy will not simply be the broken and dysfunctional culture of News Corporation.

His most lasting legacy will be the damaged climate and a world of 2 degrees plus. For decades, News Corporation has waged a pitiless and deceitful campaign against scientists and the public’s understanding of the climate change.

Murdoch charged News Corporation with a missionary zeal to spread his free-market ideology. The doctrine was preached by his army of journalists and television presenters. Across the globe the likes of Andrew Bolt, Terry McCrann, Chris Mitchell and Glenn Beck spread the Word of Murdoch.

And the Word was: the market cannot fail.

We should remember that when super-charged bush fires burn our forests to ash and devastate small communities across Australia.

We should remember Murdoch when fragile states in Africa “fail” and succumb to violence.

We should stand outside the towers of News Corporation and shame them when crop harvests fail in heartland USA as “dust bowl” conditions become the norm.

We should record the names of News Corporation journalists who mocked predictions of sea level rises when small island nations are wiped from the face of the Earth due to rising sea levels.

We should remember the names of every News Corp journalist, television personality and executive who feed us lies and disinformation.

We should not forget those who helped usher in this brave new world

And we should not forgive.

Embracing idiocy: creationism, climate change denial and birthers

Beyond help?

Not doubt the idea that a conservative world view often equates with lower “intelligence” is going to court controversy.

Calling climate change deniers, creationists and birthers “idiots” is not going to advance the debate.

But…

Coming via George Monbiot’s blog we have a recent study that shows a correlation between “lower” intelligence and conservatism.

“…drawing on a sample size of several thousand, correcting for both education and socioeconomic status, the new study looks embarrassingly robust. Importantly, it shows that prejudice tends not to arise directly from low intelligence, but from the conservative ideologies to which people of low intelligence are drawn. Conservative ideology is the “critical pathway” from low intelligence to racism. Those with low cognitive abilities are attracted to “right-wing ideologies that promote coherence and order” and “emphasize the maintenance of the status quo”(5). Even for someone not yet renowned for liberal reticence, this feels hard to write.

This is not to suggest that all conservatives are stupid. There are some very clever people in government, advising politicians, running think-tank’s, writing for newspapers, who have acquired power and influence by promoting rightwing ideologies.”

The end result is the creation of a counter-factual reality where the world is 5000 years old, evolution is a lie and climate change a conspiracy:

“….Don ‘t take my word for it. Listen to what two former Republican ideologues, David Frum and Mike Lofgren, have been saying. Frum warns that “conservatives have built a whole alternative knowledge system, with its own facts, its own history, its own laws of economics.”(6) The result is a “shift to ever more extreme, ever more fantasy-based ideology” which has “ominous real-world consequences for American society.”

Lofgren complains that “the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today”(7). The Republican party, with its “prevailing anti-intellectualism and hostility to science” is appealing to what he calls the “low-information voter” or the “misinformation voter.” While most office holders probably don’t believe the “reactionary and paranoid claptrap” they peddle, “they cynically feed the worst instincts of their fearful and angry low-information political base”.

I do believe there is truth to the last assertion. Most of the material produced by the think tanks and deniers is propaganda cynically designed to deceive and to appeal to the prejudices of a conservative audience.

The original paper can be found here, titled “Bright minds and dark attitudes“.

It does note that there are many factors producing a conservative worldview:

“…Of course, prejudice cannot be explained solely by intelligence, ideology, or intergroup contact. Prejudice has complex origins, including personal factors, such as ignorance and a lack of empathy (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2008), and social factors, such as resource competition and intergroup hierarchies (Sidanius & Pratto, 1999).

Simply perusing the reader’s comments on Andrew Bolt’s blog tends to support the view that prejudice and a lack of empathy are characteristics Bolt and his readers…

The authors conclude:

“….our investigation establishes that cognitive ability is a reliable predictor of prejudice. Understanding the causes of intergroup bias is the first step toward ultimately addressing social inequalities and negativity toward outgroups. Exposing right-wing conservative ideology and intergroup contact as mechanisms through which personal intelligence may influence prejudice represents a fundamental advance in developing such an understanding.”

However, Monbiot is perhaps more scathing of “liberals” for being, well… too nice:

“…But when I survey this wreckage I wonder who the real idiots are. Confronted with mass discontent, the once-progressive major parties, as Thomas Frank laments in his latest book Pity the Billionaire, triangulate and accommodate, hesitate and prevaricate, muzzled by what he calls “terminal niceness”(9). They fail to produce a coherent analysis of what has gone wrong and why, or to make an uncluttered case for social justice, redistribution and regulation. The conceptual stupidities of conservatism are matched by the strategic stupidities of liberalism.”

Intelligence by no means equates with political effectiveness, or with being “right”.

Sure, I’m comfortable calling out the idea that climate change is a socialist conspiracy as a ridiculous, far-fetched fantasy.

However I think idiocy is a universal trait that transcends politics.

Dollars for denial: who has funded the threefold increase in IPA revenue since 2000?

How's that for a hockey stick?

How much does it take to fund a campaign of mis-information?

What resources are required to deceive the public about climate change?

Let’s ask the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), the right-wing think tank at the centre of climate change denial in Australia.

There is little doubt the IPA can’t hide the incline in cash over the past few years.

Between 2000 and 2010 the IPA has witnessed a threefold increase in revenue.

A review of its annual reports over the past 10 years demonstrates (see reports here) a dramatic increase in revenue. Most of the IPA’s revenue comes from what it calls “subscriptions” – in reality cash injections from anonymous sources – and these have been growing at an extraordinary rate.

Famously the IPA refuses to disclose who funds it. We can speculate, but the IPA states that for “commercial in confidence” reasons it is not able to divulge this information.

Of course, the irony of the IPA attacking the “closed” world of scientists while steadfastly hiding its own sources of funding is impossible to ignore.

Fear of Labor and the IPCC

The increase in IPA funding coincides with the lead up to Labor taking power at the federal level, the acrimonious public debate over climate change and the “carbon tax” and the release of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC AR4) in 2007.

Between 2000 and 2003 there was marginal growth in IPA revenue – typically revenues hovered around the mid $600k mark.

However, by the end of the 2004/5 financial year revenues for the IPA started to dramatically climb. Total revenues for the IPA in 2005 were $859,781, a significant increase over past years.

And yet within a very sort time, the IPA would start to see a dramatic increase in funding, the timing of which more than a little suspicious.

IPA revenue grew into the millions – the timing of which is important.

The surge: fighting the CPRS and IPCC AR4

Revenue for the IPA exceeded $1.4 million in 2007 – the year Kevin Rudd came into office. It was also the same year that the IPCC released its fourth assessment report stated with a “high degree of confidence” that human activities were influencing the climate.

While we can only speculate as to why the IPA enjoyed this surge in funding revenue (if/when they come clean), but I would put forward the following hypothesis:

  • By early 2006 it was clear the Coalition government would lose the 2007 election
  • Labor under Kevin Rudd had strongly signalled its intention to sign the Kyotoa greement and “action” on climate change – such action would mean increased regulation and a price on carbon
  • The IPCC AR4 did much to convince the public climate change was real, therefore the denial movement needed to begin its attack on its credibility
  • Pubic support for action on climate change was very high, in part due to the success of Al Gore’s “An inconvenient truth”.

During the debate over the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) in 2010, revenue for the IPA reached its highest level in ten years.

The IPA is a critical player in the “war on science”, and its increased levels of funding may be seen as part of a broader campaign by vested interests to shape public opinion and stymie action on climate change.

Climate change denial: fuelling the IPA?

I’m fully aware that co-relation does not equal causation, however I would make the following argument:

  • IPA funding has grown significantly since Labor has been in power
  • The IPA is free-market libertarian think tank, and is heavily involved in coordinating the “denial” movement in Australia
  • Science has been increasingly certain that climate change is happening – thus efforts to cast doubt on the science by  the IPA have risen dramatically

The central question is just who is funding the IPA?

The blog post where I dismiss climate science

I’ll admit I was very inspired by this very amusing post over at Genomicron and this brilliant piece over at the Guardian. In short, here is my guide to writing a blog post denying climate change.

In this paragraph I’ll attempt to appear a sincere seeker of truth

In this paragraph I’ll explain some of the basics of climate science, but with extensive use of “scare quotes”. It will be a highly distorted version of the science: the “big picture” may be correct, but wrong on more detailed aspects.

I’ll note that for years I’d accepted the mainstream consensus on climate change, however out of sheer intellectual curiosity I decided to look into the issue myself.

Fortunately, my background in engineering/economics/physics or some other non-climate science related profession that requires maths has given me an understanding of the scientific method.

This how I establish myself as an authority.

At this point I will make reference to my intellectual journey, which in most instances involves extensive Google searching. I’ll note that after several days of trawling the Internet I was amazed to find blogs and web sites offering alternative views on climate change.

My use of search terms such as “climate change and fraud” will prompt Google to produce only the most authoritative materials. I will then muse why such information is not more accessible to the general public.

Here I will take down the IPCC in a paragraph

At this point I’ll take cherry pick quotes from the IPCC report and/or actual scientific research:

[Cut and paste text here…]

In this paragraph I’ll feign mock surprise that the claims in the quote appear to be exaggerated, as my own careful reading of blogs offering alternative explanations cast doubt on the claims of “experts” (natch, more scare quotes of course).

This is probably the appropriate time to make reference to the work of Steve McIntyre, a retired physicist or professor of geology. I might choose to include an image showing the famous “Hockey stick” and question it’s reliability. I’ll describe it as “broken”, without understanding what that means. However, it is an effective meme, and it’s stuck in my brain.

I’ll then post a link to Watts up with That? post that tears down climatologist (boo hiss!) Michael Mann and his stick (Ha ha! Did you see my pun!), pointing readers to bloggers more qualified to dismiss the science.

This is how I help repeat the same discredited claims.

This title indicates my distrust of “science”

Here it is appropriate to mention the “liberated” Climategate emails as proof that the workings of science have been corrupted. I’ll quote some very selective parts of said emails:

[Oh look scientists said nasty thing…]

I’ll feign surprise that scientists could act so un-professionally.

I’ll then move on to discuss how the “peer review process” is now “totally corrupt”. I’ll talk about the government funding of science, and allude to the fact that research funded by governments must be tainted.

Sometimes I’ll resort to Latin phrases. Ipso Facto sounds good. As does Caveat Emptor. I heard a very prominent sceptic uses Latin, therefore my post will sound much more authoritative.

I’ll dismiss the notion of scientific consensus as a kind of popularity contest.

I will make exaggerated claims about the stifling of alternative views: that scientists questioning this new “orthodoxy” have been shunned, picked on and called nasty names. Over 1 BILLION [cough] scientists [cough] have signed the Oregon Petition, stating they do not believe the planet is warming! What further proof do you need!?!?

I’ll throw in the line “They laughed at Galileo!” – but never “They laughed at Darwin!”, because that would betray my genuine doubts about evolutionary theory.

Here I will talk about Nazis, because it always about Nazis!

It is now at this point I usually descend into complete and utter paranoia, claiming the IPCC is the tool of socialists, lizard people and shadowy cabals. I’ll resort to Godwin’s Law and compare scientists with Nazis.

Or communists.

Or Nazis.

Or maybe both.

Clearly both were bad, so scientists must be equally bad.

Or I could term scientists eco-fascists, eco-terrorists or warmists.

By now I’ve worked myself into a rage, demanding that scientists be charged with FRAUD!

I will resort to even more UPPER CASE!

People such as myself – angry, white males feeling threatened by a loss of status – ARE ANGRY AND NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS LYING DOWN!

Andrew Bolt at the Herald Sun understands my rage, he writes articles carefully constructed to provoke my sense of grievance and entitlement.

DID I MENTION I WAS ANGRY!

Here I just MAKE STUFF UP because I’M SO ANGRY!

My conclusion will be an appeal to personal liberty, god and small government

I’ll note the age of the Earth – except of course if I’m a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) – and that the climate has always changed.

However if I am a YEC, I’ll note it is presumptuous to claim humanity has any control over the climate. After all it is THE LORD who RULES THE HEAVENS:

[Appropriate Bible quote here…]

But then I might tone down the crazy creationist talk, as drawing attention to my support for other forms of denial might undermine my credibility.

My post will then end with an impassioned defense of liberty and how global warming is really a scam designed to raise taxes and limit your/our freedom.

I’ll end my post with a question.

Shouldn’t we just hope for the best and do nothing?

Prominent Australian wine maker is “sceptical of climate change”?

Voyager Estate: say it isn't so?

Last week we received word of the the local denial movements “counter offensive” was starting to gear up. The Institute of Public Affairs distributed an information package to Australian Member’s of Parliament.

We are still trying to determine who, and how many were distributed but on the surface it would appear to be a mass mail out.

Watching the Deniers has received both of copy of “Climate Change: the Facts” and the ancillary materials that accompanied it. Analysis will be forthcoming over future posts. However, something immediately caught me eye.

The inside cover of the book contains one of those “petitions” so beloved by the deniers:

“Over 400 individuals and organisations have supported the publications of Climate Change: The Facts because they want want an honest debate about the facts of climate change…”

It then goes on to list several individual several individuals and organisations. Included in this list is “Voyager Estate P/L”, the well known winery and producer of some of Western Australia’s best wines.

I’ve been to Voyager Estate, have eaten in their magnificent restaurant and currently have several bottles in my personal cellar. I knew the family had connections to mining in Western Australia (WA), but I will be frank. I am shocked to think that there is a link between Voyager Estate and the denial movement.

Here is the background on both the estate and it’s owners from the Voyager Estate website:

Voyager Estate owner, Michael Wright, is a farmer from the world of commerce. His ancestors arrived from Scotland in 1854, settling in Maldon, Victoria, before moving to Western Australia prior to Federation in 1901. With a rich tradition of farming and agriculture in their veins, he is a third generation member of a family business that started with his grandfather in 1900.

Michael’s father, Peter Wright, played a major role in the discovery and promotion of WA’s substantial iron ore industry and was, along with Lang Hancock, a founding member of the Hancock & Wright group. As a result, the family was best known for its mining involvement, however, it also continued its agricultural interests as well as other diverse enterprises including coal & oil, transport, publishing and printing to name a few…

Some more background on Michael Wright:

With such a diverse background, Michael pursued several avenues of business and agriculture before setting his sights on owning a vineyard and winery. On the lookout for the right property, he was delighted when, in 1991, he was given the opportunity to purchase Freycinet Estate, started by viticulturist Peter Gherardi in 1978. It was blessed with just the right soils; red/brown gravelly loam that Michael knew would bear intense, rich-flavoured fruit and deliver stunning wine.

It will also seem Michael Wright is very patriotic:

“Michael had one other requirement for Voyager Estate – an Australian flag on show. But not just any size flag. Voyager Estate has what is believed to be the third largest flagpole in Australia. It was the second tallest, until Parliament House in Canberra disliked the idea of being upstaged by an upstart from the West and extended theirs. They are now second only to the Roundhouse in Fremantle. Michael has, of course, risen above such petty power struggles and is simply proud to share his patriotism with visitors to Voyager Estate…”

Mining interests. A very overt form of patriotism. I think we can draw the appropriate conclusions, and understand why Voyager Estate’s owners would align themselves with a free-market think tank that is highly sceptical of climate change and behind this recent counter offensive.

I emailed Voyager Estate the following:

RE: VOYAGER ESTATE AND CLIMATE CHANGE

Dear Sir/Madam,

I was recently forwarded a copy of text from the Institute of Public Affairs titled ” Climate Change: the Facts”. The books insert listed a number of individuals and organisations who want an “honest debate” about the facts around the science of climate change.

I’d note that “Voyage Estate P/L” is listed prominently in this insert.

Can I confirm the following:

  • That organisation listed in the IPA publication is your organisation
  • Is this the “official” position of your organisation on climate change
  • Does Voyager Estate have a view on the science, or is this the position of particular individuals associated with Voyager Estate
  • Does your organisation call for a “honest debate” on climate science

Answer forthcoming one would hope.

They should be given the opportunity to respond, and if I am mistaken I will happily correct the story.

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