October 24, 2011

Blue Army: Finance, Research and Development

Global War on Disinformation

Climate change scepticism — its sources and strategies

Riley Dunlap and William Freudenburg

[There's] just been an explosion in these books quite recently. …
We've jumped up to 64 books espousing some version of climate change denial since 2000.
[How] many of these books are linked to conservative think-tanks? … 78%.
[The] really consistent thing, that most books [say is:]
No matter what, don't pass legislation, don't [ratify] treaties.
[The] bottom line remains the same,
This reflects the near universal conservative ideology behind all versions of climate change denial.

[An] earlier study [Dunlap] did with Jacques and Freeman, found [of] 141 books expressing scepticism about anything environmental [92%] were from conservative think-tanks.

(AAAS Forum, The Science Show, ABC Radio National, 3 April 2010)

October 23, 2011

Blue Army: Communications

Global War on Disinformation

George Megalogenis (1964):
[News Corp] deploys more resources to attack to the [ABC, the Australian public broadcaster,] than analysing the economy.
(Balancing Act: Australia Between Recession and Renewal, Quarterly Essay, Issue 61, February 2016, p 3)

Fair, Balanced and Wrong

Australian Press Council
General Principle 1:
Publications should take reasonable steps to ensure reports are accurate, fair and balanced.

The Press Council has considered [and upheld] a complaint about a number of items published in The Australian in September 2013, a week before the release of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). …

[The Australian has] acknowledged … that the headline …
… and [central premise] of the original article were incorrect,…
The Australian:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest assessment reportedly admits its computer drastically overestimated rising temperatures, and over the past 60 years the world has in fact been warming at half the rate claimed in the previous IPCC report in 2007.
(16 September 2013)
[but that,] in all other respects, the article was fair and balanced. …

The Australian said there was no reason for it to have suspected errors in the articles in The Mail on Sunday
The linear warming trend over the 50 years from 1956 to 2005 (0.13 [0.10 to 0.16]°C per decade) is nearly twice that for the 100 years from 1906 to 2005.
(Climate Change 2007, Synthesis Report, p 30)

The Australian:
The 2007 assessment report said the planet was warming at a rate of 0.20°C every decade, but according to Britain’s The Daily Mail the draft update report says the true figure since 1951 has been 0.12°C.
(16 September 2013)
[And it] noted that The Wall Street Journal had also published an article containing the same error. …

An editorial headed
was published the following day.
Amongst other things, it said:
Exaggerated, imprecise and even oxymoronic language pollutes the climate change debate,
and emphasised the need to have regard to the facts of climate science, not simply “beliefs”.
It accused specific people and organisations of inaccurate and unbalanced contributions which had generated undue alarm about climate change.
It reiterated the key [false] assertion in the previous article, saying:
Later this month, the next iteration of the IPCC’s climate assessment will revise downwards (by close to 50 per cent) warming trends.

The same issue included a letter to the editor from David Karoly, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Melbourne and a contributor to the IPCC report, which pointed out [the factual error in the reporting of the findings of the 2007 assessment report.]
The letter was placed fifth amongst six letters published on that day under the general heading
The writers of the first four letters were highly critical of the IPCC, clearly having assumed the newspaper’s original article was correct.

{[The Australian] said the IPCC had been asked to comment but had declined to respond as the assertions were based on the alleged contents of a draft report which had not been completed or published.}
[This was characterised as:]
The Australian:
[The] IPCC was forced to deny it was locked in crisis talks.
(16 September 2013)

The Council has concluded that the erroneous claim about the revised warming rate was very serious, given the importance of the issue and of the need for accuracy (both of which were emphasised in the editorial that repeated the claim without qualification).
Although based on another publication’s report, the claim was unequivocally asserted in The Australian headline, "We got it wrong on warming, says IPCC", which also implied the IPCC had acknowledged the alleged error.
The impression that the claim was correct was [further] reinforced by The Australian saying the IPCC had been “forced to deny” that it was in crisis talks. …

Four days after the original article appeared, the online headline was changed to read "Doubts over IPCC’s global warming rates".
A brief “Clarification” was added [regarding the Mail's misreporting of the AR4] stating
In fact, the new rate of 0.12°C every decade is almost the same as the IPCC’s 2007 figure of 0.13°C every decade over the 50 years to 2005.
It also acknowledged the original article erred in saying the IPCC conducted its own computer modelling, explaining:
That error was made in the production process.
Five days after the original article, a single paragraph headed “Correction” was published in the lower half of page 2 of the print version of The Weekend Australian.
It provided the same information as the online “Clarification”. …

The Council considers the gravity of the erroneous claim, and its repetition without qualification in the editorial, required a correction which was more substantial, and much more prominent than a single paragraph in the lower half of page 2. …

The Council welcomes the acknowledgements of error and expressions of regret which the publication eventually made to it.
But they should have been made very much earlier, and made directly to the publication’s readers in a frank and specific manner.
It is a matter of considerable concern that this approach was not adopted.

(Adjudication No 1598, 24 July 2014, emphasis added)

Chris Mitchell

Former Editor in Chief, The Australian

[John Howard] was too pragmatic.
We would have liked him to be more ideological. …
(p 16)

[The] evidence for man-made global warming is equivocal. …
(p 17)

[Surfers] who have frequented the same beaches for 50 years have found no increases in sea levels.
(p 18)

(David McKnight, Rupert Murdoch — An Investigation of Political Power, Allen & Unwin, February 2012)

October 15, 2011

Grattan Institute

Green Army: Research and Development

Founding Members

Grattan Institute is grateful for the support of our founding members:
  • the Australian Government,
  • the State Government of Victoria,
  • The University of Melbourne and
  • BHP Billiton.
They contributed to an endowment that provides ongoing funds towards Grattan Institute’s programs.

Their support was structured to maintain Grattan Institute’s independence, and is not conditional on Grattan Institute undertaking particular programs or positions.

October 12, 2011

Theater of Operations

Global War on Disinformation

Climate Change Opinion:
Cause is Human — by Country

Proportion responding 'yes' when asked,
Temperature rise is part of global warming or climate change.
Do you think rising temperatures are … a result of human activities?
(Wikipedia, 18 January 2010)

Vocal Minority vs Silent Majority

George Marshall (1964)

Researchers in Australia found that these [media echo-chambers have] created what they call a “false consensus” effect around climate change, which led both sides to believe that their opinion was more common than it actually was.
[Because] the loud and very vocal climate change deniers were also heard far into the mainstream media, both sides tended to hugely overestimate their numbers, guessing them to make up a quarter of the population.
In fact they made up less than 7%.

When people misread the social norm in this way, it can lead them to suppress their own views, thus widening the divide and further reinforcing the false consensus — and at its most extreme, creating a society in which the majority of people keep silent because they fear that they are in the minority.
This process, known as pluralistic ignorance, helps to explain the extreme polarization around key markers of political identity such as abortion, gun control, and, increasingly, climate change.
(p 28)

[While] three-quarters of Americans still trust climate scientists as a source of information on global warming, they are nearly as inclined to trust television weather forecasters who are greatly less qualified as scientists but have a far more friendly, familiar, and approachable public profile.
Unfortunately … only half of television weathercasters surveyed [in 2010] believed that climate change is occurring and more than a quarter believed that it is a “scam.”
(p 117)

(Don't Even Think About It, 2014)

Stephan Lewandowsky (1948)

Winthrop Professor in Psychology, University of Western Australia

In Australia … the number of people who deny that climate change is happening is around 5% or 6% of the population.
[If] you then ask [those 5%] how many people they think [share] their opinion, their response is … about 50%.
[This] is called a false consensus effect [and] is usually indicative of a distortion in the media landscape.

[If people] are inflating their self-importance, that [is an indication that] the media [are] not doing their job properly.

(Attitudes to climate change, Science Show, ABC Radio National, 24 November 2012)

October 9, 2011

Green Army: Communications

Global War on Disinformation

John Quiggin (1956) [Professor of Economics, Queensland University]:
[The] culture wars are just a device to keep the right-wing base agitated enough to turn out, losing time after time but still providing the votes needed to keep pro-rich politicians in office. …
The great majority of [climate change] “sceptics” are, in fact, credulous believers in what they are told by trusted authority figures, notably including conservative political leaders.
(Climate claims a victory in the culture wars, Inside Story, 17 December 2015)

The Right to Personal Security

Jeff McMahon

If we didn't have all these guns in the United States, we would have far, far fewer homicides.
And we have all these guns in the United States only because people want to have them.
We could have legislation prohibiting private ownership of guns and putting all guns in the hands of the police tomorrow if the gun advocates didn't oppose it.

This is one thing that I think law abiding gun owners and criminals are both complicit in.
They both want access to guns.
And the thing that is disturbing about gun owners who are not criminals is that they are willing to insist on their own private possession of guns at the cost of criminals having guns as well.

(Philosophy Bites, 17 February 2013)

October 7, 2011

Blue Army: Persons of Interest

Global War on Disinformation

William Yeats (1865 – 1939):
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
(The Second Coming, 1919)

Freidrich Hayek (1899 – 1992):
[John Maynard Keynes] was the one really great man I ever knew, and for whom I had unbounded admiration. …

Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)

Nothing is more clearly written in the book of destiny than the emancipation of the blacks; and it is equally certain that the two races will never live in a state of equal freedom under the same government, so insurmountable are the barriers which nature, habit, and opinions have established between them.
(Memoirs of Jefferson, M Conseil, Editor)

In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover and wickedness insensibly open, cultivate and improve.
Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone.
The people themselves therefore are its only safe depositories.
(Notes on Virginia, quoted by Carl Sagan, Demon Haunted World, 1997, p 400)

If the last king can be strangled with the entrails of the last priest, we will have destroyed the institutions that have stood in the way of human freedom.
(John & Abigail Adams, PBS American Experience, 1997)

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past …
(Letter to John Adams, 1 August 1816)

Maurice Newman (1938)

Prime Minister Abbott's top business advisor and former ABC chairman and investment banker

I am not a climate change denier …

Maurice Newman:
Many of the people who have a different point of view on the climate science are respectable and credentialed scientists themselves.
… I'm not a scientist …
I have to listen to all points of view and then make [a judgement.]

Brendan Trembath:
Would you say you're a climate change denier …

Maurice Newman:
I am an agnostic and I have always been an agnostic and I will remain and agnostic until I've found compelling evidence on one side or the other that will move me.
I think that what seems fairly clear to me is that the climate science is still being developed.
There are a lot question marks about some of the fundamental data which has been used to build models that requires caution.

(ABC Chairman criticises media's climate change coverage, PM, ABC Radio National, 10 March 2010)

I am not a conspiracy theorist …

Even before they threatened my property, I was opposed to wind farms.
They are
  • grossly inefficient,
  • extremely expensive,
  • socially inequitable,
  • a danger to human health,
  • environmentally harmful,
  • divisive for communities,
  • a blot on the landscape, and
  • don’t even achieve the purpose for which they were designed, namely the reliable generation of electricity and the reduction of CO2 emissions.
Even if you buy the anthropogenic global warming case, experience shows that wind energy is not the answer. …
Surely the economic effect of taxing hardest those who can least afford it was thoroughly examined ahead of politically motivated empty gestures designed to placate climate change alarmists?
Apparently not.

I am not a conspiracy theorist, but we have witnessed the birth of an extraordinary, universal and self-reinforcing movement among
  • the political and executive arms of government,
  • their academic consultants,
  • the mainstream media and
  • vested private sector interests (such as investment banks and the renewables industry)
[—] held together by the promise of unlimited government money.
It may not be a conspiracy, but long-term, government-underwritten annuities have certainly created one gigantic and powerful oligopoly which must coerce taxpayers and penalise energy consumers to survive. …

All political parties to a greater or lesser degree follow the same irrational policies, mindlessly repeating slogans about renewable energy targets and CO2 reductions plans, lest they be labelled climate change deniers. …
Yet nowhere is there evidence that these policies work.
Even Europe, with its huge investment in wind energy as well as an ETS, has not reduced emissions.
[The] much-vaunted Kyoto Protocol … saw emissions of signatories grow substantially faster than those of non-signatories.
So why should we be optimistic that any future global agreement on emissions will be more successful?

Experience with trade and nuclear nonproliferation treaties suggest domestic considerations will prevail over lofty ideals.
Political correctness may go down well at elite gatherings, but it doesn’t pay the bills.
This fact is finally being recognised in Europe, where climate tipping points are now of less concern than economic tipping points. …
[Yet, in Australia, with] religious zeal and the voice of authority, we plough ahead as if consumed by a deathwish. …
At the local level this religion is evangelically spread by state bureaucrats who regularly pander to the oligopoly’s wishes. …

The harmful health effects [of wind turbines], despite peer-reviewed and anecdotal evidence, are dismissed as being unconfirmed, psychosomatic or the politics of envy. …
Not everyone who lives near wind turbines experiences adverse health effects.
But then not everyone who smokes contracts lung cancer. …

[Politicians] are lending their support to oligopolistic insiders [who] are destroying the property rights of the very people they have pledged to protect. …
[And] don’t expect help from academia, mainstream media or the public service.
They are members of the same establishment and worship together at the altar of global warming. …
Our once independent public service is no longer servant but master!
Sir Humphrey is firmly in control.

(Against the Wind, The Spectator (Australia), 21 January 2012)

October 2, 2011

Balance of Forces

Theatre of Operations

Balance Of Forces

Green ArmyNon-AlignedBlue Army
Command and Control
Finance, Logistics and Supply
Governments Countries who have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol (192) [Note 1] Countries who have signed not ratified (1) or who have not signed (3) the Kyoto Protocol [Note 1]Countries that have withdrawn (1) [Note 1]
Non-Government OrganizationsEnvironmental
International Development

Regulated Industries Renewable Energy
Energy Efficiency

Fossil fuels
Research and Development
Scientific Bodies [Note 2]

Free market think tanks
[Note 3]
Climate Researchers97%3%
Synthesis ReportsIPCC
US Global Change Research Program
Arctic Climate Impact Assessment

National Academies of Science32

General Science8
Earth Sciences85 [Note 4]
Meteorology and Oceanography61 [Note 5]

Biology and Life Sciences7

Human Health7


Media Hubs

News Corporation
Network HubsConsensus Websites
Contrarian Websites
Field Operations

Industry front organisations, spokespersons and "white coats". [Note 3]
Washington Lobbyists [Note 8]Renewables (138)
Fossil Fuels (2,672)
Foot soldiers and insurgents

Tea Party (Mayer, 2010)


  1. Wikipedia.  List of Kyoto Protocol signatories, 7 July 2017.
    Signed and ratified: 192 parties.
    Signed but not intending to ratify: United States.
    Former parties: Canada renounced the convention effective 15 December 2012.
    UNFCCC members but not signatories: Andorra, Palestine, South Sudan.
  2. Wikipedia (2011):
    Since 2007, when the American Association of Petroleum Geologists released a revised statement, no scientific body of national or international standing rejects the findings of human-induced effects on climate change.
  3. Exxon Secrets

  4. Wikipedia (2011):
    American Association of Petroleum Geologists
    American Geological Institute
    American Institute of Professional Geologists
    Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences
    Geological Society of Australia
  5. Wikipedia (2011):
    American Association of State Climatologists
  6. Goodell, Jeff.  As the World Burns, Rolling Stone Politics, 6 January 2010.
    [According] to the Center for Public Integrity, the number of lobbyists devoted to climate change had soared by more than fivefold since 2003, to a total of 2810 — or five lobbyists for every lawmaker in Washington. …
    Only 138 of the lobbyists were pushing for alternative energy — the rest were heavily weighted toward the old fossil-fuel mafia, most of whom oppose tough carbon caps.