Aussie astroturf, oi oi oi

A new organization Climatechangeissues.com has sprung into existence in Australia to

support solutions to the unresolved issues of climate change which are based on sound science, use market mechanisms and trade liberalisation as a key driver of economic growth and poverty reduction.

They are funded by

organizations, individuals, companies and foundations who support a balanced approach to public policy debate and who encourage reliance on markets to improve public welfare, raise standards of living and achieve sustainable development.

Their website contains the usual collection of articles saying that global warming isn’t happening and it will be a good thing and it’s not worth doing anything about. Pretty much the same stuff that you get from these other, totally unconnected, groups. Hey, do you think that maybe, just maybe, they are funded by ExxonMobil as well?

And in one of those weird coincidences that you would never have expected, Climatechangeissues.com has exactly the same IP address as the Lavoisier Group‘s website. What are the odds?

Comments

  1. #1 Helen
    April 20, 2005

    “In association with Tech Central station”. A cut and paste job?

  2. #2 nicolo
    April 20, 2005

    There’s no action so shameful nor opinion so corrupt
    that someone cannot be found to do or say it, for money.

    “From Ciggies to Fossil Fuels: the Rise and Rise of the Bought and Paid-For Corporate Mentality”
    ExxonMobil, Rothmans et al, 2005 and into the future …

    http://www.climatechangeissues.com/

  3. #3 Rex
    April 20, 2005

    Nice find Tim

  4. #4 Simon
    April 20, 2005

    but the funny thing is that most of the papers and presentations listed support the climate change/kyoto argument. The one from Pearman is a pretty interesting and scary read.

  5. #5 Simon
    April 20, 2005

    The ‘backgrounders’ on the site is a direct copy those on the world growth site http://www.worldgrowth.org/pages/sustain/wg-climate.php
    World growth was established by Alan Oxley. Who is also the host of the Asia Pacific page of http://www.techcentralstation.com.

  6. #6 Dan
    April 20, 2005

    Well, I for one am shocked. Not at the astroturfing per se, but the fact that they’re dumb enough to put the site up at the same IP address. I mean, how much does it cost to find a new IP? Surely, with all that money behind them, they’d have put a bit more effort into the appearance of impartiality. On the other hand, foresight probably isn’t a strong suit for global warming denialists, is it?

  7. #7 David Tiley
    April 20, 2005

    I think the climate change “debate” is morphing into “Yay for nuclear power” before our very eyes.

    We’re gunna haveta go through the whole thing again.

  8. #8 Simon
    April 20, 2005

    Alan Oxley is also the Chairman of the Australian APEC Study Centre at Monash. The APEC Study Centre organised the “Managing Climate Change – Practicalities and Realities in a post-Kyoto future” conference which aims to “cut through the politics on climate change”. The conference was sponsored by, yep you guessed it, Tech Central Station, xstrata coal and Exxon Mobil.

    I’m worried that Oxley is using the APEC study centre whose aim is ‘to research, to inform and to promote discussion on issues related to Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation’ as a vehicle for promoting ITSGlobal’s client’s views on climate change. Is the APEC study centre government funded? What are the centre’s guidelines?

  9. #9 Simon
    April 20, 2005

    As part of ITSGlobal’s consultancy work:

    Climate Change Policy in Australia

    Project Description:
    ITS was engaged by a range of large resource companies to improve the conditions of debate on the issue of climate change policy in Australia. The clients believed that much policy debate in the area had been driven by emotive and political positions rather than rational assessments based on technological realities. Through a range of carefully targeted reports, ITS undertook to demonstrate that there was more depth and dimension to the debate on effective approaches to climate change than is often conceded. http://www.tradestrategies.com.au/projects.asp?id=str&proj_id=22&page=projinfo

  10. #10 Steve
    April 20, 2005

    David Tiley, you are absolutely right there on the nuclear thing.

    All nuclear needs to do in Australia is halve (or third?) its price, or double (triple?) the cost of coal power, and they will be sprouting all over the place.

    Personally, I think the nuclear lobby is very silly. If i were them, i would keep my head down, because most people hate nuclear. They should bide their time until we ratify kyoto and make coal power more expensive. Let the environment movement do their work, and stay under the radar, then start building once its actually economic to do so.

  11. #11 Dano
    April 20, 2005

    Dan,

    your ‘shocked’ emotion doesn’t consider that the types who eat up the astroturf articles don’t ever read references or check connections.

    The astroturf/agitprop rings true to their ideologies and that’s good enough.

    Best,

    D

  12. #12 Dan Navarro
    April 21, 2005

    Ah, good point Dano. You don’t have to be smarter than your critics, just smarter than your believers. How sad.

  13. #13 Jeff Harvey
    April 21, 2005

    ….following on from the excellent points made by Dan and Dano, this is precisely the strategy that Bjorn Lomborg employs. Knowing just a little bit more than your target audience of believers, even if this is hardly anything, is still more than enough.

  14. #14 John A
    April 25, 2005

    Which all means that one doesn’t have to answer awkward questions regarding the validity of scientific papers shown subsequently to be false. The fact that Tim’s argument is a fallacy bothers only those people interested in logic, not political propragandists.

    Bjorn Lomborg of course, was exonerated after the disgraceful personalized attacks made on him by people like Jeff Harvey, which were shown to be specious, emotional and completely without evidential basis. The Skeptical Environmentalist was peer reviewed, and recommended for publication. Unfortunately for Jeff, it wasn’t anything he could censor beforehand.

    On the website exxonsecrets.org you too can play a game of “The Six Degrees of ExxonMobil”. Remember that next time you fill up at the gas station or fly or use a train, you’re only one degree removed (rather like Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior in that regard).

  15. #15 Dano
    April 25, 2005

    Trouble is, Lomborg’s book was a polemic and not a scientific paper, so our argument suffers a bit. Our argument also suffers when we parrot that TSE was peer reviewed. Our argument suffers yet more when we, completely without evidential basis state things like one doesn’t have to answer awkward questions regarding the validity of scientific papers shown subsequently to be false without, well, naming them.

    I’m sure you’re trying hard, lad, but do try harder.

    D

  16. #16 Tim Lambert
    April 25, 2005

    Dano, it’s quite obvious what paper John A is referring to. As any global warming denialist will tell you, the whole global warming theory rests on just one paper: Hockey Stick (1998). It’s been shown to be false (see here). So there you go.

  17. #17 Scott Church
    April 26, 2005

    John A. Lomborg was “exonerated” only of accusations of deliberate deception by the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty, and only by virtue that they had rushed to a few conclusions rather quickly. He was not exonerated of being dead wrong. Furthermore his book was most decidedly not peer-reviewed–it was published by Cambridge Press (who appears to have sought little if any feedback from the scientific community before agreeing to do so). In fact it is literally riddled with errors, many of which (including for instance some of his claims about global deforestation rates) involve basic arithmetic errors such as using an incorrect denominator with the numerator he was comparing to. Any responsible attempt at scholarship should have corrected errors like these… much less a peer-review committee. Your comments are without foundation in fact.

  18. #18 nicolo
    April 26, 2005

    “Specious, emotional and completely without evidential basis” would certainly seem to my nonexpert eyes to sum up your septic cheerleader “contributions” to what passes for debate on these subjects, JohnA. If you ever posted a fact or an unemotional scientific opinion here or at your own site (climateaudit) … well, the shock of giving birth to it could kill you I suppose.

    There are scientists, political scientists, ordinary folk, liars and fools in one taxonomy of the human condition. Neither you nor Lomborg is anything like a scientist, John A, but one of you at least is a political scientist.

  19. #19 nicolo
    April 26, 2005

    Perhaps should have added that by contrast Steve McIntyre does manage to post some science to John A’s website, and McIntyre at least demonstrates something of the scientific ethic. Pointedly no comment here on his occasional collaborator McKitrick.

  20. #20 Jade
    May 10, 2005

    can i get some info on the cost of astroturf. cheers
    Jade

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