Two high-net-worth chaps recently appeared in the Great Hall of Parliament House. They spoke for 11 minutes about saving the world from a “climate crisis” and then zipped off to dinner. It was a Foul Weather Friends double-act that could have been scripted by Barnum & Bailey, the Media Circus Network or Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show. Somewhere a band played Don’t ask me no questions and Heat Wave.
A few media folk — and a dazzled cohort of decarbonistas – found the unlikely alliance more stimulating than a Dark Mofo winter-solstice nude dip in Hobart’s River Derwent, until they were knee-deep in more than the icy water of lunacy.
Gab and guile filled the empty Hall like a fog. But earnest rhetoric about an “extraordinary moment” – one that would “rock the nation and bring hope to mankind” – could not hide the gulf between spectacle and reality, evidence and assertion, hokum and hallelujah. If there was method in the madness on ‘this very dramatic day in Australian politics’ – there was – few saw it on the day.
The smart money had been on Skeptic Lad to win the 2014 OZ Climate Cup by ten lengths from Miss Model and Green Girl. But after the big bets last week on Puppy Love, Carbon Con, Hot Stuff and Fry Baby changed all the odds, punters were forced to take another look at the form guide for UNFCC COP 21 on the Ile-De-France, Paris, in late 2015.
How did Albert Arnold Gore – 45th Vice-President of the United States (1993–2001), joint Nobel Laureate 2007 (for “peace”, not climate science – see Nobel Rot), spiritual leader of the climate-calamity movement, indefatigable promoter of purportedly inconvenient truths, patron saint of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) alarmism – come to team up with Palmersaurus rex carbonophilia coolumi? (New evidence confirms it has a chameleonic ability to adapt to green environments, but nothing in the geological record suggests the theropod became herbivorous in later life.)
Like many combos, it was serendipitous. Yet some insist divine intervention – manifest in Mr Gore’s timely visit – played a key role. How else does one explain the coal-iron ore magnate’s sudden conversion into a decarbonising crusader and big fan of big fans and solar panels? (Those who see only Machiavellian self-interest masquerading as concern for ‘the people of Australia’ have lost the plot.)
They point to Mr Gore’s “unshakeable belief in God as creator” and the “revelatory power in the world”. In his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance – Forging a New Common Purpose, he noted how many Judeo-Christian prophecies used images of environmental destruction to warn of transgressions against God’s will.
Noah, the first green crusader is “commanded by God to take into his ark at least two of every living species in order to save them from the Flood,” he explained. This was “a commandment that might appear in modern form as: Thou shalt preserve biodiversity. Indeed, does God’s instruction have new relevance for those who share Noah’s faith in this time of another worldwide catastrophe, this time one of our own creation?”
For those who believe in the literal truth of the Bible, it is hard to read about the predictions of hurricanes fifty percent stronger than the worst ones today, due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases that we have fostered, without recalling the prophecy of Hosea: ‘They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind’.” (Al Gore, 1992)
Like many eco-priests, Mr Gore is keen on an “environmentalism of the spirit”. He wants to restore “Earth’s climate balance” and avoid an “ecological holocaust” by transforming ploughshares into carbon credits, re-sanctifying the Earth, identifying it as God’s creation, and accepting our responsibilities to protect and defend it.
Perhaps over dinner he shared with Mr Palmer the story of Gaia, the Greek goddess of Mother Earth. She also wanted to regulate emissions — in a way that would inspire contrition in all plunderers of her (depleting) resources, including fossil fools and capitalist tools. Annoyed by the procreating activities of husband Uranus (sky), she instructed her son, Cronus, to remove one of his vital organs with a ‘great flint-bladed’ sickle.
Founder and chairman of the Climate Reality Project (CRP), Mr Gore has been involved in this evangelical battle for two decades: “Today we know climate disruption is the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced and we know carbon pollution is to blame.” CRP urges website users to: “Get Smart, Get Loud, Get Active’ and ‘turn the heat on denial’.
The back-story to last week’s events began two months ago, when Mr Gore’s group opened applications for CRP’s 25th Leadership Corps training program in Melbourne, June 25-27. The fourth such exercise here, it partnered with The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) to ‘train 500 Australians’.
Don Henry, former CEO of the ACF (1998-2014) and a CRP director, confirmed he set up the meeting on ABC RN’s The World Today last Thursday.
Eleanor Hall: What role did you play in identifying Clive Palmer for Al Gore?
Don Henry: He asked for my advice on who may be important to meet with in Australia. I suggested Clive Palmer to him and I thought it would be good for Clive Palmer to hear first hand from one of the world’s leading experts and committed people on climate action.
Eleanor Hall: What did you expect from this meeting when you helped to set it up?
Don Henry: Well, firstly, I actually hadn’t expected Mr Palmer to say yes to a meeting. I was pleasantly surprised when he agreed with some considerable interest to have a meeting and I know that Mr Gore appreciated that he wanted to have a meeting. I was fortunate to sit in on the private discussions between them….We knew when we walked into the public statements that Mr Palmer was going to stop the repeal of the Climate Change Authority (CCA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and that he was not going to allow changes to the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and put off any review until 2016. They were very significant announcements. They didn’t agree on everything but they did agree on some really, really important things.
According to Laura Tingle, The Australian Financial Review‘s political editor, Henry was assisted by John Clements, an advisor to former MP Tony Windsor. Ben Oquist, a former Greens adviser and now Australia Institute strategy director, also played a role.
But what caused Mr Palmer’s “road to Damascus conversion on climate change”? Tony Jones asked him this question on Lateline last Wednesday.
Clive Palmer: Well I guess the well-being of the Australian people and the people of the world are more important. And certainly from knowledge I had, I think I didn’t have a full picture. Meeting with the Vice President, someone who’s a world authority on that, a Nobel laureate, was able to enlighten me on a number of aspects about climate change which I wasn’t fully familiar with and the importance of it for all Australians.
Tony Jones: I’m still trying to get my head around how much you’ve changed in the matter of two or three months. When I asked you, back in April, about the consensus of scientific experts, you said, “I can get a group of scientists together and pay them whatever I want to come up with any solution.” What actually changed your mind here? It can’t have been half an hour with Al Gore in your office today.
Clive Palmer: No, I’ve been in a long stage of consultation with members of the Australian public who have contacted me about the legislation that’s gone before Parliament. I’ve considered it and I’ve consulted with other experts and talked to scientists. And there’s no point doing that and listening to people if you’re not prepared to change your view on certain things.
Tony Jones: What did Al Gore say to you exactly that changed your mind?
Clive Palmer: Well it wasn’t any one thing; it was a number of things he said to me over a long time about what will happen. I thought the most profound thing he said to me was that in 10 years’ time, this’ll be the most important decision for our planet and for our country. And Australia really doesn’t have a large amount of carbon emissions on a global sense, but it can play a key role to be a catalyst to bring the US and China together. That’s why we think our suggestion of an ETS, which is conditional upon other countries joining together, is what’s best for Australia…..We can’t put our head in the sand if this is a global issue that everyone’s joining up for.”
Ironically, just as Mr Gore’s alarmist Big Polluter narrative is being debunked by new facts, its promoters prefer to hide behind ‘Reality Drops’ designed for the twitterati-demographic, eg: “There is a 97% consensus” and “the science is settled’.
“They have moved the goalposts again”, said a geoscientist. “It is no longer about investigating climate, but about destroying the opposition.”
So note, dear reader, denial is no longer a river in Egypt. For Mr Gore and his twittering ‘spread Truth – destroy Denial’ CRP-team, the denial machine is not only a scourge worse than that country’s ten biblical plagues, but also a key driver of ‘carbon pollution and climate disruption’.
Big Polluters like oil and coal companies aren’t going down without a fight. After all, they’re making billions from dirty energy while the rest of us pay to clean up their mess. That’s why they’ve spent decades running well-funded campaigns to mislead and deceive the public about what’s really happening to the planet. These polluters—and the special-interest groups they support—are even following the exact same playbook as the tobacco industry used to confuse the public about smoking and cancer… If Big Polluters are spreading lies and blocking our path to a clean-energy future, then it’s up to us to call them out and get them out of the way. Our future is at stake.” (Climate Reality Project)
CRP’s main target, according to one sceptical atmospheric physicist (pers.com.), is “evil special interest groups spreading denialist propaganda. Its core belief is that there is a malicious group out there undermining the good work of True Believers. It looks a lot like witch hunting – same mentality. They should look to James I of England. He was arguably the first climate scientist, in that he wrote a text attributing extreme weather events to human agency [witches] and then went about persecuting those who disagreed with him.”
To reiterate, the first Australian performance of Al & Clive’s Travelling Climate-$alvation $how was a coup de theatre, an impressive pas de deux with high-jinks and pirouettes.
Mr Palmer – now ‘enlightened’ – and PUP certainly “scored big with Gore” by turning a shade of green, but Mr Gore also scored big with PUP. He sealed a tripartite deal to retain the CEFC, RET and CCA. Preventing the Australian government from implementing key parts of its domestic energy policy was a big coup – not for consumers forced to pay more for energy on the pretext of controlling the nation’s climate and weather – but for Mr Gore and other investors in the renewable sector.
The stakes are high. Mr Gore is also co-founder and chairman of Generation Investment Management LLP (GIM). This group is “convinced that the transition from a high-carbon to low-carbon economy will be the most significant process in modern economic history—matching the Industrial Revolution in scale, and the technological revolution in pace.”
GIM is a member of the $1 trillion Investor Group on Climate Change, as are many Australian superannuation funds. (See full list of members here.) In an IGCC media release on 27 June – “Palmer right on climate change, but an ETS is needed now” – it stated that “emissions trading is an appropriate policy for Australia. All efforts must be made to ensure that Australia’s underlying carbon pricing framework is maintained.”
Renewable energy investors — such as IGCC and GIM — want to retain the current RET scheme, despite it forcing electricity suppliers to use more expensive wind and solar power. For its removal would devalue dramatically their existing investments in the sector.
As for the public, it will be even more confused by this latest move in the global game of Carbon Con. But despite being assailed constantly by fear-mongering and renewable rhetoric, it rightly still struggles to accept that any political class – or a group of United Nations bureaucrats seeking ‘climate reparations’ – could be trusted with manipulating the planet’s elusive thermostat free from self-interest, even if they knew where to find it.
Meanwhile, CRP activists continue to target the gullible with mischievous mantras and dodgy claims about a 97 per cent ‘consensus’, statements asserting carbon dioxide (plant food) is a dangerous ‘pollutant’ and that their future decarbonised Promised Land will have a ‘stable’ or Perfect Climate™ ‘just right’ for Australia, and presumably humankind’s other seven billion people.
Fortunately, there are antidotes for eco-delusion, assuming early-stage treatment. One is Jeffrey Tucker’s recent essay, The Rage of the Climate Central Planners.
“What can we say about those who want to empower a global coterie of elites to make the decision about what technologies we can use and how much under the guise of controlling something so gigantically amorphous and difficult to measure, detect, and precisely manage as earth’s surface temperature?
This is a level of chutzpah that surpasses the wildest fantasies of any socialist planner.
Even without knowing anything of the literature, without having read any of the best science on the topic, anyone with knowledge of the politics of science and the politics of public policy can know this much: this is not going to end well.”
Another is empirical evidence. In ages past, it was often said: “Magna est veritas et praevalebit”. The truth is indeed great, but whether it will prevail here is an open question. History is littered with the ruins of cultures whose prophets – just as confident of their infallibility as Mr Gore – also misread the Book of Nature.
As for Foul Weather Friends, according to a source close to the matter, there could be a repeat performance late next year in Paris. Until then: “Help spread the word. Every share matters.” (CRP)