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January 17th 2017 print

Tony Thomas

Earth Hour in 3D: Dim, Dark and Dopey

For the past decade legions of the gullible have been signalling their eco-virtue by candles' glow, turning off the lights for 60 minutes as an offering to poor, overheated Gaia. It makes little sense, but promoters are delighted the faithful can still write cheques in the gloom

earth hourWorld Wide Fund for Nature (Australia) is gearing up for its tenth idiotic Earth Hour at 8.30pm on Saturday, March 25. Once again it will be urging people to turn off lights  (but not fridges, freezers, TVs, dishwashers, computers, aircons and smart-phones). If WWF is aware that satellite data shows no atmospheric warming for the past 18 years, that information figures nowhere in its literature.

Of course, any large-scale lights-off actually increases CO2 emissions because generators have to do inefficient ramping-up of power when the lights go on again. Such quibbles have never worried   WWF.

Earth Hour is run by national manager Anna Rose. She is co-founder and former head of the Youth Climate Coalition, and spouse of Simon Sheik, former national director of GetUp, failed Greens candidate and, most recently, promoter of a fossil-fuel-free superfund.[1] Rose claims, on the basis of sample surveys from consultancy AMR, that a quarter (nearly 6m) of the Australian population took part in Earth Hour 2016.[2] That’s a big call. In 2015, she was claiming one in three Australians (7.7m)  took part in 2014.

The media-savvy WWF has been theming its annual Earth Hours. Last year’s theme was “Protect the Aussie places we love” with sub-texts about global warming destroying the Barrier Reef by 2050 and other alarmist mantras (the Reef made it safely through previous eras of strong warming). The 2017 Earth Hour theme is “the voice of the future generation”, taking into overdrive WWF’s propaganda assault in schools.

WWF’s partner in the schools’ Earth Hour exercise is Cool Australia, a green/left outfit founded and run by Jason Kimberley of the  wealthy Just Jeans clan. Cool Australia claims more than 52,000 educators whose lessons reached more than 1,050,000 students in 2016. (It is a national scandal that schools have become such hotbeds of green/left indoctrination).

The Cool Australia material has much in common with the views of the Left Renewal faction of the Greens Party, and its “fight to bring about the end of capitalism”.  Cool’s anti-capitalism curriculum is based on the rantings of far-left Canadian author Naomi Klein and her agitprop book, This Changes Everything.  Klein  views conventional green policies as way too conservative. Her goal is to marshall a green activist horde to subvert Western civilisation at grassroots level.

Cool Australia offers Years 9 and 10 no fewer than ten lesson units based on the Klein book and video. One lesson, for example, is titled,“This changes everything – climate change vs capitalism”. Cool Australia counsels the kiddies, “…an opportunity for a new economic model that accounts for both people and the planet in a just and sustainable way.” The film of the same title has Klein saying, “I’ve spent six years wandering through the wreckage caused by the carbon in the air and the economic system that put it there.” A title comes up, “Capitalism” with a voiceover, “We are going in completely the wrong direction.” It ends with a narrator’s question: “What if global warming is not only a crisis? What if it is the best chance you are ever going to get to build a better world? Change or be changed!”

Cool Australia provides these “thought-starting” keywords for the climate/capitalism lessons:

global warming, floods, drought, carbon dioxide, weather, resource use, coral bleaching, bush fires, carbon tax, humans

In regard to cpitalism, keywords provided are

profit, money, private wealth, rich, poor, winners, loser, consumption, stuff, resources, economic systems, private ownership, humans

Teachers are exhorted thus:

Hot tip: Repeat this activity at the end of the unit to assess students’ understanding.”[3]

There is no reference to capitalism and free trade lifting billions out of poverty in the past half-century.

WWF’s president is another mega-millionaire, Rob Purves of the Purves Environmental Fund. Purves’ fortune derived from Clyde Industries and billion-dollar diagnostics/aged-care group DCA. WWF in turn is a “curriculum partner” of Cool Australia. Purves is also a sponsor of Earth Hour, governor of the Youth Climate Coalition and director of Tim Flannery’s Climate Council. Prominent on the Earth Hour web pages is WWF’s “Donate” menu, donations being tax deductible.

This appeal inspired me to look up WWF’s local 2016 accounts. CEO Dermot O’Gorman, his conservation director Gilly Llewellyn, and their CFO took in $632,000 in combined pay, but WWF doesn’t disclose what each received.WWF employment benefits

WWF fund-raised $22.8 million — but, oh dear, $9.2 million, or 40%, was burned by the costs of fund-raising. (In the past three years, WWF has spent an amazing $29 million on fund-raising costs. That includes about $10 million in the past two years alone for on-going  “supporter acquisition programs”  aimed at an “appropriate return” from its givers over three to five years. Do regular donors understand how much is going to  third-party professional fund-raisers?

Of the $29.5 million in latest income, WWF managed to spend only $16.4 million — 56% on what it calls “conservation”.[4]  [5] Still, WWF Australia with its $30 milion annual revenue is small beer compared with the US-based  World Wildlife Fund Inc. (latest revenue: $US249m). That group’s five-year revenue comfortably tops ten figures, at $US1.1b. The 2016 fund-raising expense ratio is 11%, compared with the 40% for WWF Australia.

Saving the planet is a responsible job andCEO Carter Roberts pulled in $US941,000 last year, up more than 100% compared with his pay in 2009 of $US455,000.  President Obama is paid only $US400,000. Roberts’ chief operating officer, Marcia Marsh, gets $US576,000. Both state their working weeks as 40 hours. Nearly 200 staff are on six-figures, and a dozen on $US300,000 plus.  A couple of PR flacks are on $US260,000 and $US315,000.

WWF in the US is also gearing up for Earth Hour to help save our hapless planet. “Even a tweet can make a difference,” it says, demonstrating near-clinical inability to separate fantasy from the real world.

I had a thought that WWF India might not be promoting Earth Hour, given that 300 million Indian peasants are eking out short and brutish lives in no-electricity squalor. Regardless, WWF India is urging Indians  to “switch off your lights” and invest in solar power.[6]

In Australia, WWF, lacking all sense of the ridiculous, asks students to analyse global warming impacts on their spaghetti bolognaise   (wheat, beef, cheese and tomato) and pavlovas (egg, sugar, rasberries, blueberries).[7]

Last year WWF globally set out six key goals, ranked as: forest conservation; oceans conservation; clean water; protecting important species; doubling net food availability and freezing its footprint; and last-listed, “Creating a climate-resilient and zero-carbon world powered by renewable energy”. WWF Australia seems over-focused on the last item.

I mentioned the annual theming of Earth Hour in Australia. The 2015 theme was of special interest: how global warming imperils Australia’s “fresh healthy home-grown food”, and how we should “make a stand for our food and farmers”. These farmers allegedly had their backs to the wall as they valiantly battled global warming’s adverse impacts.

Anna Rose declaimed, “Aussies are proud of our farmers for feeding the nation but they are on the frontline of global warming and are already feeling the effects of rising temperatures and more extreme weather.”

Mike Hirst, managing director of long-time Earth Hour sponsor Bendigo Bank, chimed in, “Across this land, thousands of farmers are grappling with the challenge of global warming while producing the food which we and millions of people around the world depend on.”

WWF/Earth Hour figured it could get some traction with this story because many farmers were having a bad season. For 2014-15, by value, wheat was down 11%; cotton down 52%; rice down 16%; veges down 5%; milk static and total crops down 5%. The WWF publicity asserted that “Global warming is challenging our farmers and affecting our supply of good-quality fresh food.” WWF had little trouble getting hard-luck stories from 55 assorted farmers about how climate change was doing them in.

WWF also whistled up its pet catastrophists such as David Karoly at Melbourne University to do a report, Appetite for Change: Global Warming Impacts on Food and Farming Regions in Australia.  Here’s Karoly’s  insights about southern NSW, Victoria and Tasmania:

Continued substantial warming is expected over the rest of this century, from 0.6°C to 1.3°C by 2030  and up to 4°C by 2070 with ongoing high greenhouse-gas emissions. A warming climate will be associated with more hot days and nights, including more summer heat waves, and fewer cold days and nights, including fewer winter frosts. The number of days hotter than 35°C is expected to increase by about 20 per cent by 2030 and possibly more than double by 2070… The reduced rainfall and higher temperatures are expected to lead to more frequent and intense droughts and bushfires, and greater stress on water resources.” (My emphasis).[8]

Other specialists then weighed in with predictions about how 50 food items – from wheat and beef to octopi[9] and zucchini — will be trashed by Karoly’s “expected” global warming. We learn from the  authors that carrots are doomed to tastelessness and poor texture; toast and raspberry jam will be in short supply; avocado and Vegemite will taste worse; beetroots will blush less red; fruit trees will be stunted and heat-struck chickens will have nervous breakdowns.

WWF’s poster woman for the Earth Hour book on how warming will degrade farming was South Gippsland dairy farmer Marian Macdonald. However, her writings a year later rather subvert her message:

The big question still remains for this farmer: how common will this type of season be in the future? The climate modelling is just not detailed or accurate enough. All we know is that it will be drier, warmer and more unpredictable than ever. And that’s nowhere near enough information to make good decisions. To be frank, we don’t even have a worthwhile forecast for the next fortnight or the three months ahead. The Bureau of Meteorology’s oft-reported seasonal outlook is so unreliable here, it is literally the equivalent of tossing a coin – by the Bureau’s own admission.” (My emphasis. To paraphrase, the BOM can’t forecast a fortnight ahead but is great at those 100-year forecasts).

The climate gloom in regard to farming was all early 2015.[10] How about now? Well, I never! Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says agriculture is entering a “golden era” of prosperity and growth that will last at least five years: “We haven’t seen anything like this right across all regions and sectors — beef, lamb, grains, wool, sugar, kangaroo meat, live cattle, chickpeas, even the dairy industry is recovering — for almost a century. The good times are finally here.”

As The Australian’s rural correspondent Sue Neales puts it, “Last year [2016] was an extraordinary one: record farmgate prices for sheep and cattle, rising wool prices, a magnificent season yielding a record 52 million tonne grain and pulse crop.… farming is seen as a profession with a bright, unstoppable future.”

National agricultural production will be a record $60 billion in value this year for the first time and is tipped to go to $100 billion in the next decade. (CSIRO chief Larry Marshall has made the obvious point that to meet Asian food demand, we’ll need to double our water usage. This hardly suits the green agenda of no-dams).

The bumper crops are not just in Australia but global. The Food & Agriculture Organisation late last year raised its forecast for global wheat production to a record 742.4 million tonnes, and global rice output to a record 498m tonnes.

So as Earth Hour nears on March 25, and WWF publicity ramps up, don’t take it too seriously. Maybe even celebrate the joy of electricity by leaving your lights on.

Tony Thomas new book of essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, is available here.

__________________________________

 [1] According to the blurbs, she became a climate change campaigner after her grandparent’s farm in North Western NSW was affected by drought, and Anna “connected the dots” to climate change – quite a feat.

[2] One major participant is the Australian Defence Force

[3] Klein’s “solutions” for an allegedly fairer and more humane society are pushed at students by teachers using the Cool Australia social-justice material. The “solutions” include a basic income for all and higher taxes on the affluent; enforcing industry to reduce or cut completely its CO2 emissions; banning deep-water drilling, fracking and tar sands production; “re-localising” production of food and goods (i.e. diminishing trade); and “community-controlled clean energy systems”. The students are exhorted to discuss the “Call to Action” theme of Canada’s March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate, as a creed for a “just transition” to a fairer world.

[4] WWF income included $783,000 in government grants, of which $376,000 was from DFAT. WWF spent $2.7m on what it calls “community education”.

[5] Earth Hour: “Regular donations are critical to our ability to manage our large team of volunteers across the country with certainty around our budget. We do what we can with very little, but it all adds up.”

[6] “What has Earth Hour achieved since the movement began?” The sponsors’ list includes   “Solar-powered lights were installed in three villages without electricity in India.”

[7] When I noticed and wrote about the spagbol talking point last December, some readers insisted I must have been hoaxed.

[8] Karoly in 2009 thought it a great idea for Earth Hour to become permanent:

“We need to repeat Earth Hour every hour of the day, every day of the year, so that these actions are part of our normal lives”.

[9] “Computer modelling projections for pale octopus indicate warming could lead to eventual decline. Increased carbon-dioxide may make octopus more vulnerable to predators, and combined climate factors may have complex effects.” Octopi, don’t say you weren’t warned.

[10] “According to the CSIRO, production from cropping and livestock is projected to decline by 2030 over much of southern Australia due to increased drought and the “fact” that the availability of nutrients will limit productivity in most Australian landscapes…” Professor Richard Eckard, Melbourne University, March 2015.

Comments [8]

  1. padraic says:

    I never switch the lights off each year at the behest of these control freaks and have never given a razoo to WWF. I carefully choose to which charity I may donate money because so many appear to be part of a racket to feather the nests of the people running them, as Tony clearly indicates. And you have to ask – Is it necessary to have a charity for every part of the human body, every disease known to man, to say nothing of those “charitable” organisations supporting every animal, vegetable or mineral in the universe? I thought we had tax-payer funded government departments to take care of all that while we got on with our mundane lives. I appreciate seeing that Just Jeans, Bendigo Bank and DCA are behind a lot of WWF activity and have added them to my growing list of companies that support activist ratbaggery and with which I will no longer have any commercial dealings. The involvement of companies in activities other than their core commercial focus is a new phenomenon that I don’t understand.

    • ianl says:

      > “The involvement of companies in activities other than their core commercial focus is a new phenomenon that I don’t understand”

      The lure of Noble Cause Corruption.

      I know most will think that cynical, but the true cynicism is the hubris, the moral vanity, that informs the puffery of imagining one is saving the planet.

      • nfw says:

        “Noble Cause Corruption”? Love it. But it gets better. The latest cons are those shops which ask if you want to donate your “change” to their cause or the very large Australian insurance group which will donate the up to $15 it may owe you to a charity. Scams in many ways.

        Firstly you don’t have the chance to claim the “donation” as a tax deduction. The company then aggregates the “donations” and “gives” it to their favourite causes with who knows what personal, family, political, social justice warrior or friend connections. The upshot however is invitations to all the parties where donor moneys are spent, the networking events, special causes where they “earn” even more from giving away other people’s money and of course all the honours and awards thrown at them by politicians. All using others’ money.

        The final insult is when the company then claims the “donation” as a tax deduction for itself and recoups some of the “donations” from the Australian taxpayer to its own bottom line. To quote the ATO site: “A tax deduction for a gift is claimed by the person or organisation that makes the gift (the donor). A donor can be an individual, company, trust or other type of taxpayer.”

        Just more social corruption and verging on fraud.

        • padraic says:

          Spot on, nfw. I have just noticed that they are closing down the Clinton Global Initiative and the “charitable” Clinton Foundation also appears to be on the ropes now that the Clinton political influence has waned and it seems countries like Australia are no longer making donations to this worthy charity.

  2. Salome says:

    In Melbourne, not long after Earth Hour, it’ll be White Night, when central Melbourne is lit up ALL NIGHT for artistic activities. The same green virtue signallers that switch off for Earth Hour will, no doubt, be heading into town (on foot or bicycle from their trendy inner suburbs) and happily enjoying a feast of electric light as well as the performances and installations. If you raise your voice, they’ll say, ‘But otherwise people would have been home with their lights on.’ All night?

  3. en passant says:

    Tony,
    Excellent article pointing out the (ig)Noble Corruption of NGO’s. Huge salaries and perks for the elite and little left for the proles. 30 years ago I did some voluntary pro bono project work for an NGO. As a result of that experience I have never given to a named charity.

    I live overseas 30 km from a hydrocarbon fuelled electricity generator. I have an all-electric home with 5-air conditioners and more lights than a Christmas Tree. [Trigger Warning!]. My bill for December was $35.

    I suggest readers invest 3.45 minutes watching: https://www.youtube.com/embed/BC1l4geSTP8

    At about this point, cue the inevitable entry of Ian MacDougall to point out that we are all doomed. It is too late as the CO2 ppm is rising and we will pass the tipping point he cannot name and fry & die at a temperature he does not know.

  4. Bill Martin says:

    One can assume with near absolute certainty that the vast majority of those under the spell of the CAGW hysteria are either extremely gullible or just plain stupid; probably both in most cases, with varying proportions of the two afflictions. While sad and alarming that certainly is, such people are generally well-intentioned, good, decent folk. On the other hand, there must surely be those – most likely in the top layers of the hierarchy of the alarmist fraternity/sorority – who know full well the nature and the reality of the situation while callously and shamelessly promoting the scam that provides them with lucrative, prestigious positions, completely disregarding the damage being caused to the well-being of humanity. One struggles searching for words to describe such despicable creatures.

  5. Lacebug says:

    While agreeing with you all that Earth Hour is a crock of Doo Doo, I should point out in fairness that EH was never about saving an hour of electricity but rather about starting a conversation about the environment. I know this because I once got a very lucrative gig writing for them.