There’s a problem with being a councillor on Tim Flannery’s Climate Council. While they’re very good at scaring Australians with climate apocalypse hob-goblins, councillors are now also frightening themselves, their kids and grandkids.
The Council is the go-to resource for Australia’s lapdog media, getting in 2020-21 more than 19,500 media mentions and 22,000 media items elevating “trusted voices”. When the-prime minister Tony Abbott axed the government-funded Climate Commission in 2013, it morphed into this Climate Council funded by donations.
Pre-election, it’s gone even more demented than usual, complaining on March 31, for example, that the horrible Morrison government has “no effective mechanisms to “eliminate coal, oil and gas”. I suppose the Council would first “eliminate” all base-load electricity, then “eliminate” Australia’s non-electric cars, trucks and buses (98 per cent of the total) and then “eliminate” everything being made of plastics.
Simple, really. What else would you expect from experts led by Tim “Wonthaggi” Flannery, who prophesised that “Even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and river systems”, and Will Steffen, the council’s chief doom-cryer. Worth noting, Steffen’s recent co-authored paper in Nature included the grotesque correction reproduced below.
Council policy is that by 2030 (a mere seven and a half years’ ahead) Australia should cut emissions by 75 per cent below 2005 levels and reach net zero emissions by 2035. In the disruption to our way of life, this would make the Soviet revolution of 1917 seem just a hiccup.
The Council’s “eliminate” document claims that Australia is an “international pariah” for slacking on net zero emissions. It’s taken less than a month for this hyberbole to collapse, since Western Europe is now fast back-pedalling from renewables programs that made them hostage to Russian energy. As Matt Canavan, the rational National, told an aghast ABC on April 26, “The net zero thing is all sort of dead anyway”. Unlike the Climate Council, he wasn’t engaging in hyperbole: Britain is pausing it, Germany is building coal- and gas-fired infrastructure, and Italy is re-opening its coal-fired power plants. Canavan didn’t get around to mentioning China’s plans to boost coal capacity by 300 million tonnes this year, from its already-record levels.
Rather than Flannery or Steffen, I’m actually interested today in a third Climate Councillor, Dr Kate Charlesworth. The Council describes her as a “mother and public health doctor”. She’s undoubtedly well qualified in treating hospital patients but, like many of the medical, psychology and psychiatry tribes, she’s been badly bitten by the baloney bug. She drifted away from laudable UK hospital work to Cambridge University, studying how to reduce English Health’s carbon footprint. She now works in NSW as “a medical specialist on environmentally sustainable health care” — the very first such role in Australia, fighting “the biggest health issue of all: the climate emergency.” Cancer? Heart attacks? Diabetes Type 2? They’re just also-rans. The three-time mother also wrote, “We must act urgently and decisively to protect ourselves and those we love. This is literally becoming the fight of our lives.”
I agree with her tract, “A new guide for parents: managing eco-anxiety in your kids”, that “it’s tough being a parent”. She cites the unrelenting grind of packing school lunches, getting the kids to look away from their screens for a few seconds a day, and sundry COVID woes. But her appraisal of the purported “climate crisis” dwarfs all that:
My eldest child is now 11. So I’m adding one more issue to my list of parenting challenges: managing eco-anxiety. My psychology and paediatric colleagues report that once children get to the ‘tweens’ they start to comprehend the urgency and enormity of the climate challenge, and with that can come anxiety and depression.
A recent survey of 10,000 children and young people (aged 16-25 years) in 10 countries (including Australia) found that 59% were very or extremely worried about climate change, with 84% at least moderately worried. Of note, climate anxiety and distress correlated with ‘perceived inadequate government response and associated feelings of betrayal’.
I’d interrupt Dr Charlesworth here to mention that this study in The Lancet was funded by climate activist group AVAAZ, and included such non-sciency activist blather as, “These psychological stressors [feelings of betrayal] threaten health and wellbeing, and could be construed as morally injurious and unjust.”
It’s not as if kids from age six leaf through alarmist IPCC reports at bedtime. Such kids would be happier if adults stopped berating them with climate-extinction doom and party-political propaganda. For example, in Germany last year, seven climate activists as young as 18 went on a 27-day hunger strike and several ended up in hospital.
Dr Charlesworth continues that kids’ eco-anxiety is all too real, based on “robust” scientific evidence (no, it’s based on much-adjusted data, and also on climate models tuned to hide their many weaknesses and to get plausibly-alarmist results). She claims we are beginning to witness the actual “climate breakdown”. Really, Dr Charlesworth?
After a century of warming, Australian farm output is expected to hit new output and value records — an “incredible” $78 billion, according to the ABARES Agricultural Report of December 2021. As federal agriculture minister David Littleproud put it,
Production is expected to increase for every major livestock commodity and almost every major crop. It is the first time in half a century that production will increase for so many products at the same time.
If this is “climate breakdown”, let’s have more of it. Dr Charlesworth, why not pass on the good news to your anxiety-riddled kids?
Her article passes along what psychologists recommend and reject as means to calm kids climate anxieties, for example: “Attempts to discredit the science, diminish their reaction or shield them from the truth will only worsen the situation.”
These psychs, along with Dr Charlesworth, also want kids to “join a local climate action youth group. This is building your child’s ‘self-efficacy’: their belief that they can make a difference. This step has really important mental health benefits, as action is one of the best antidotes to anxiety.” One such group is Roger Hallam’s Extinction Rebellion. Hallam does videos such as ‘Advice to Young People as They Face Annihilation‘ which kids might not find all that re-assuring.
Dr Charlesworth says that if kids are budding lawyers, steer them towards suing the government for wrecking their climate future: “These are fantastic examples of children taking agency over their situation.” And, she might have added, massively wasting kids’ and everyone’s time, as these stupid cases all fail.
Her final advice to parents: “So, at the upcoming election, vote the way your children would, if they had the chance: vote for climate action.” Her sources for this indoctrination include the Australian Psychological Society, a cabal of kiddy-scarers:
Alarmed small children may show behavior changes —“ e.g., in their play, drawing, or dreams that might suggest that something is unsettling them.” They might find it easier to talk about environmental issues via a toy or puppet. Try asking, “And how are you feeling today, Teddy?”.
Psychiatrists aren’t any better. One leading Melbourne shrink wrote in 2019:
In Australia there continues to be Government denial. Our leaders could be seen psychiatrically as deluded and a danger to others and if so certifiable. At worst they can be seen as guilty of crimes against humanity and nature-homicide and ecocide — and indeed in the future they may be found to be …
Australian pediatricians are matched for wokeness by their offshore counterparts.
In 2020 the International Pediatric Association adopted a declaration about climate’s “existential and universal threat” to children, and about achieving “climate justice in an ecologically grounded and sustainable world.” Child health facilities are to be re-purposed for climate propaganda, by “engaging clinical and non-clinical staff in practices, hospitals, and health systems as advocates”.
Child health professionals are to use “the framework of anticipatory guidance at office visits for discussing climate change with families.” Just picture it: bring in seven-year-old Daphne to get her eczema fixed and you’ll first get an earful from the staff about the wonders of wind turbines.
The gamut of child health professionals are now supposed “in unison” to advocate for causes like green electricity, “plant-based food” (delicious!), electric cars, and “inter-species justice”. To prepare the ground for all this, there would be professional education for “Child health professionals at all levels of training and in all venues of practice, on all aspects of the climate crisis.” This education includes
…collaborative movements such as One Health, Planetary Health, and Traditional Ecological Knowledge, which identify the root civil-political, social, economic, cultural, ecological, and philosophical causes of climate change.
The international association laments that too many health professionals fear spruiking climate stuff publicly. One survey showed 22 per cent thought their peers would object; 16 per cent thought the topic too controversial, and 14 per cent didn’t want to risk their careers over it. The association claims its declaration will soothe such concerns, advising that “public engagement is expected of pediatricians.” Professionals are now meant to “advance and support” kids’ own climate-crisis advocacy (as if kids acquired their views independently).
Amongst all the nonsense are a couple of good ideas, like less jetting to glamorous conferences (a great tax lurk for medicos). Such conferences should now offer “primarily vegetarian, climate-conscious, and locally-sourced meals.” Maybe lentil soup, mealworms and grilled grasshoppers.
The donation-funded Climate Council has grown to a $6 million a year propaganda behemoth with a $4 million salary bill. It started in 2013 with $1m. I suspect someone’s tipping in multi-million dollars there now. As for the nitty-gritty, the only (derisory) public disclosure about salaries is that 24 key managers got in total $545,733 last year.
All up, $6 million is a lot of money to spend on hogwash.
Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt
 Climate Council Annual report, p7
 “The ultimate drivers of the Anthropocene if they continue unabated through this century, may well threaten the viability of contemporary civilization and perhaps even the future existence of Homo sapiens.”
 She’s also a member of Doctors for the Environment Australia, the Climate and Health Alliance, and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Climate change and Health group.
 The deluded Climate Council claims, quoting our equally silly Academy of Science: “The long-term drying trends in southwest and southeast Australia, punctuated by severe droughts, are already hammering our most important agricultural regions.”