Tag Archives: The Climate Sceptics

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.

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