I’m not making this up, but Leslie Hughes, star scientist at Tim Flannery’s Climate Council, has been running catastropharian climate courses for hairdressers, whom she coaches to harangue clients about those awful coal, oil and gas emissions. Although her basic expertise is in stick insects and ant-tended butterfly ejaculations, Macquarie University’s Distinguished Professor also wants to tune the global climate for a better Year 2100, which is where the 400 ladies-who-lather come in. While snipping and combing and colouring, they are to convince customers that the Council’s goal of net-zero by 2035 is definitely not at all insane. Clients might even emerge with a teal tint to their shag cuts.
I can imagine Hughes instructing: “Climate Minister Chris Bowen wants us to put in 22,000 solar panels a day for the next eight years (60 million all up) plus forty 7MW wind turbines every month. That’s just to reach his namby-pamby target of cutting emissions 43% by 2030. We at Tim’s Council want Chris to double that. We’re demanding a 75% cut, and, of course, net zero by 2035 – never mind 2050. So let’s make that [she scribbles on an envelope] 40,000 solar panels a day (120m all up) and three 7MW turbines every day, and by 2030 your kids won’t even know what droughts and flooding rain were like!”
The Council’s 2022 annual report boasts of its “drumbeat” of climate calamity, citing the planting of more than 22,000 stories in the media last year intended to influence “millions” of Australians. That’s 800 items a week obligingly regurgitated by stenographers identifying as journalists, plus a further 20,000 media items “supported” via third-party climate enthusiasts. The Council not only spoon-feeds alarmism to reporters, it actually trains them with union help to propagate the narrative: in 2022, it
teamed up with the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, to provide expert advice to journalists nationwide on accurately and responsibly reporting on the climate [supposed] crisis.
The engine room of the Council is its Climate Media Centre. It likes to keep its dark arts there under wraps: You won’t see the Climate Media Centre mentioned in the media, but you will have heard the voices of the dozens of everyday Australians we support” and “You won’t read about the Climate Media Centre in the news.” (Annual Report 20-21 p30),
These days the Council’ has 50 staff – including close to 20 media spinners . The Council succeeds not just with regular media (including sports pages) but offshoots like Marie Claire, Women’s Weekly, and TV’s The Project and Sunrise.
The often-sceptical Murdoch stable swallows the Council’s guff too. One Council report got 500 recycles, not just in the ABC (of course) but in 37 News Corp publications including The Daily Telegraph and WIN News. (AR 21, p25). In 2021, some 23 Council proxies “featured across national News Corp titles as part of their Mission Zero initiative to ‘put Australia on a path to net zero’.”
At the Council’s 2013 inception, Flannery pledged it would not go in for politics: “We won’t be running any political campaigns, we won’t be running any agendas.” Really? More than a year before the 2022 poll, the Council’s strategists mobilised their 500,000-plus grassroots supporters and began detailed work “to shift the dial ahead of the election” (AR 22 p8) and unseat Morrison’s “denialists”:
We set ourselves up to drive change in this moment by bringing together special internal teams focused on political engagement, supporter activation, public engagement in key electorates, and shaping the national story through media action.
When the mainstream media initially proved loath to sufficiently politicise the 2019 bushfires, the Council swung its Emergency Leaders for Climate Action – firefighters and first reponders – into the fray.
Through its media interventions, ELCA shut down the argument that we should not discuss climate change during a crisis and made clear that the Federal Government was warned of the risks of catastrophic bushfires and failed to act. ELCA’s media prominence cut through the political noise and firmly articulated the fact that worsening extreme weather events, including the devastating bushfires of last summer, are being aggravated by climate change, which is driven by the burning of fossil fuels.
The Council even gloats about its success in getting the sort of media coverage it likes:
Significantly, journalists are now clearly and easily making these links by themselves, without background briefings or prompting, demonstrating that these ideas have been well socialised and accepted.
The Council used the so-called climate-fuelled floods as another political gimmick:
As well as releasing our flood report, we identified 10 key electorates for special focus. We worked proactively in these communities to socialise information about climate risks and impacts, spark conversations about climate solutions and support candidates with issues briefs and research resources.
When PM Morrison told the UN that Australia was doing its fair share on emission cuts, the Council’s photogenic CEO Amanda McKenzie went for Media Gold, accusing Morrison of talking “colossal bull****”. That insult
was featured across ABC News, SBS and news.com.au among others … Due to this heightened media attention, the Prime Minister was forced to respond, blaming activists and the media for misleading Australians. Thanks to the media moment we created, ABC’s Media Watch dedicated a segment to the story…
Here’s a link to that Media Watch segment. Watch it and wince as the national broadcaster makes a mockery of its chartered obligation to eschew bias as compere Paul Barry rounds up five climate-activist academics and presents them as “impartial experts”.
The Council widely distributed its “Climate Crap Checker” to voters, pretending that the following cogent statements are “crap” and referring electors to the hysterically green/left Guardian for verification:
♦ “Gas is cleaner than coal”
♦ “Coal and gas power keep prices low”
♦ “Renewables will cost jobs”
♦ “Renewables don’t work when sun doesn’t shine and wind doesn’t blow” and
♦ “What Australia does on climate change won’t make any difference.”
As reward for service, Labor’s climate minister Chris Bowen asked the Emergency Leaders to attend his first public meeting after swearing-in and then ran a joint press conference alongside ELCA about how climate change is “supercharging extreme weather” – it isn’t.
Post-election, a typically brutal Council project last December was to push-poll Australian flood and fire survivors about their mental health. It reaped 500 self-selected tales of sufferings to plant as “climate health disaster” media stories. Here’s a typical push-polling question, delivered to vulnerable parents:
Do you feel worried or anxious about climate change driving more frequent disasters?
♦ “My children are scared for their future, they most likely won’t have children of their own, as they don’t feel it is a safe place any more.”
♦ “I wish there was greater understanding of the looming climate crisis we are all facing – suspect we are so close to the tipping point and I’m grieving for the future our grandchildren face.” 
Many respondents – already Council supporters – came good with desired messages, such as:
The Federal Government [needs] to get real on climate – especially not to approve any more fossil fuel projects, which science is screaming out is the main driver of the increasing extreme weather events occurring all over Australia and the world.”
The report concludes,
The mental health burden of climate change on young people appears strongly exacerbated by well-founded fears that their governments are taking insufficient action to protect their future.
Let’s turn now to how the Council finances its 50-strong team. I suspect through Big Green donors, an informal coalition who years ago did a “friendly takeover” of the Australian environmental movement. The Council directors are certainly not short of a quid. The new chair is Carol Schwarz, daughter of retailing royalty Marc and Eva Besen. The Australian rich-listed the Besens No 49 this month at $2.45 billion.
Last year, Council total income of $8.3 million was split about 50-50 from its little and big-ticket donors. Since 2014, Council income rose modestly by 5-10 per cent a year. But filings at the Charities Commission reveal two mystery jumps in donations: up $2.1 million (63%) in 2020, and another $1.9 million (34%) in 2022. The Council’s 2019 donor windfall seems more than it knew what to do with:
This was a significant increase from the previous financial year … This funding will be allocated to a number of projects over the next two financial years.
It names donors above the petty amount of $10,000. In 2022 who should be adding financial muscle to the Council’s war against fossil fuels but the heirs to the Standard Oil cartel, originally run by John D. Rockefeller, whose ruthlessly-gained personal wealth ran to one per cent of America’s then GDP. His heirs have arrived at the Council via New York’s “Climate Emergency Collaboration Group, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors”. The Rockefeller collaboration is among “six of the largest climate funders in the international space” and is also backed by Ikea and the Hewletts of Hewlett Packard.
For local financial clout, the biggest name among donors is the Morris Family Foundation. Computershare founder Chris Morris was rich-listed 112th last month at $1.19 billion. The family’s tourism, resorts, aviation and hotel portfolio unhappily suggest a rather large carbon footprint. That will have to go by net-zero time. Another Council funder is wotif.com founder, Guardian Australia funder, Greens backer and anti-Murdoch activist Graeme Wood.
Also named is the ACME Foundation of Jeff and Julie Wicks. It has assets of $34 million and has dished out at least $11 million to climate activists as the Wicks strive to erase their fortune via virtue signalling.
Councillor/scientist David Karoly said the quiet bit out loud to the Australian Financial Review last October: “The ability to make money while simultaneously solving climate change can be an appealing proposition to people with deep pockets.”
The Climate Council’s directors include Kirsty Gold, wife of private-equity-fund tycoon Peter Gold, who has $2.5 billion invested for clients of Archer Capital. The Golds “invest capital in projects that accelerate climate solutions. The couple have also teamed up with other private green wealth investors to find solutions.”
Kirsty campaigned in an aqua T-shirt to help Zali Steggall unseat ex-PM Tony Abbot in Warringah in 2019, according to the SMH.
♦ Director Simon Corbell is CEO and Chair of the Clean Energy Investor Group, “representing institutional investors with wind and solar assets worth $9 billion across the national electricity market.” (Corbell used to be Labor’s deputy leader of the ACT Parliament).
♦ Councillor Greg Bourne, ex-CEO of WWF Australia, is Chair of Granville Harbour Operations Wind Farm near Zeehan in Tasmania, with 31 turbines reaching to a height of 200 metres.
♦ One-time Rich-Lister (1999: $87m) Ray Purves was on the Council board till 2021. For 20 years Purves Environmental Foundation has sprayed millions to climate-activist groups. Noted Purves’ flops have been Earth Hour and bankrolling Tim Flannery’s polemic “We are the Weather Makers” (2006). Try Chapter 21, The End of Civilisation?:
Could the day ever come when the taps run dry, when power, food or fuel is no longer available in many of the world’s cities?… If humans keep doing things the same way for the first half of this century, I believe the collapse of civilisation due to climate change is inevitable.
To my relief, Flannery suggested that “people will persist in smaller, more robust communities such as villages and farms.” We’re half-way to 2050 already, I’d better take a break to plant some maize.
Amanda McKenzie, Council CEO since 2013 inception, takes only a modest pay, sharing $496,000 with 22 other “key management personnel”. Council directors take no fees, but councillors, it seems, do, a fee-for-service practice dating from six months after inception.
Now let’s check out activities.
The Council’s Climate Media Centre has put more than 200 “trusted voices” through media training courses in 2021 alone. (AR 21, p29). Shoe-horned in as climate urgers are farmers, vets, surfers, “renters”, AFL players, small business people, Aboriginal identifiers and even “students and their parents” (move over, Thunbergs and daughter Greta). As the Council puts it,
Well- known sporting heroes, such as former Wallabies player, David Pocock, swimming star, Bronte Campbell and Australian cricket [Captain], Pat Cummins, asked Australians to go for gold on climate change … reaching Australian media once thought impossible.
The Media Centre helps its green pals and mayors in Gladstone, Hunter Valley and Latrobe to neutralise unease and discord about job losses by attempting to persuade local workers to love renewables. Its crew consists largely of ex-journos, including founder and boss Dinah Arndt, self-described as a “reformed” journo. They skite about persuading journos to add phrases like “climate-fuelled” when they lodge copy about any weather upset, and they warn journos to spurn what they brand “climate denialist” sources. As you might expect, the Lismore floods were sheer hell for residents of that often-inundated, low-lying town, but manna for the Centre:
The digital team produced an emotional video with Lismore flood survivors driving home the point: this is climate change. Then Climate Media Centre team member Emma Hannigan used her broadcast reporting skills to create a series of videos from ‘on the ground’ in northern NSW flood affected communities.
The Council secured more than 1000 media hits “and helped to cumulatively shift the discourse from no discussion around climate change at the onset of the disaster, to flooding being explicitly linked to climate as coverage progressed.” (AR 22, p8).
The Council sprints to issue media-friendly long reports on whatever is topical. These also go out “as educational resources in schools and universities across the country.” For a typical Council report on sport, “we worked with athletes with lived experience of climate impacts – such as playing games during heatwaves.” Apparently sport is impossible in hot countries, which will come as news to the Subcontinent’s cricketers and Brazilian soccer teams. The media cited this sport report 575 times. To clinch its argument, the Council warned of 50degC days in Melbourne by 2040, when CEO Amanda McKenzie will be about 57 and doubtless still forecasting fossil-fuelled doom.
By coincidence, I was looking at Bureau of Meteorology temperature raw data for Melbourne since 1856 (three-day heatwaves) and the trend is a mere 0.27degC per century. On the BoM’s creepily-adjusted ACORN series since 1910, the Melbourne trend is still only 0.83degC per century. Melbourne at 50degC in 2040? Why not go the whole hog and forecast 60 degrees?
When running the Youth Climate Coalition in 2008, Ms McKenzie forecast,
Melting is occurring so rapidly in the Arctic that we can now expect that there will be no summer ice by 2013, 100 years earlier than scientists had previously predicted – we have already changed the map of the world.”
You don’t say, Amanda. Arctic minimum summer ice last September was 4.67 million square kilometers.
The Media Centre’s main thrust just lately has been to discredit gas-fuelled electricity, organising yet another “drumbeat of media coverage” to shut down gas exploration (already perversely shut down in Victoria). The Council wants to frighten householders into swapping their gas cooktops and ducted heating for electrics. To “combat misinformation”, the Media Centre crows of having “trained many Australians on how to speak publicly about their opposition to the gas industry’s expansion, and has briefed journalists to bring them up to speed on the many dangers of gas.”
The Council undercut its crusade against cooktops by admitting in some fine print that the payback period for converting appliances to gas is 12 years in Melbourne, 16 years in Sydney and a vast 19 years in Perth, using high-end appliances. Thus, as a Perth boy, I wouldn’t be financially ahead of the game before 2043. Mind you, it had to admit its health-scare evidence was feeble:
Evidence of negative health impacts [from gas] in Australia is emerging, and while independent research … from here is limited, this is consistent with overseas studies [which themselves are much debunked].”
The Council is also gunning for your petrol car, blameable for “more than 60 per cent of Australia’s transport pollution”. The Council wants to bundle us into electric cars and buses, or mosey along bike lanes and footpaths. While not (yet) advocating coercion, the Council hopes to kill your car by lobbying for ever-tougher Fuel Efficiency Standards.
The Council mini-me’s push its messaging from multiple directions.
♦ The before-mentioned Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA) has 40 emergency workers using their credibility to lobby all levels of government, while “facilitating countless media moments”. The Council actually counted ELCA’s “countless” media mentions, citing 78,000 from the 2019-20 fire season alone. (AR 20, p16). ELCA people might be good at their emergency jobs, but their expertise doesn’t extend to the merits of reconfiguring Australia’s electricity grid and net-zero CO2 by 2035 or 2050. The Emergency Leaders also scamper around the UN’s useless COP conferences parading Australia’s fires and floods survivors as icons for the world media.
♦ Another Council success is its “Cities Power Partnership”, with about 175 councils, shires, cities and capitals signing up to push climate follies onto ratepayers. The Climate Council spends 10 per cent of its budget coaching these green-captured entities, leveraging into 69 per cent of the Australian population. These councils are now replete with “climate emergency declarations” and multiple “Sustainability Officers” on six-figure pay. The Climate Council can readily mobilise 17 local mayors to lament climate’s alleged role in the floods and fires (605 media hits). It has also packaged all ten Hunter Valley shires to spruik anti-emissions on the coalfields.
The Council claims credibility with the media through its supposed accuracy and sciencey output. I had hardly started the Council’s latest annual report before finding this discrepancy (p5): “…the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) documented the devastating consequences of accelerated climate change in its Sixth Assessment report, labelling this a ‘code red for humanity’.” It’s fantasy to suggest the 2049-page Sixth Report (Working Group 1) or even the politician-written 33-page Summary includes or “documents” any reference by scientists to a “code red for humanity”. That lurid phrase was hype from the UN’s secretary-general Antonio Guterres, who was president of the Socialist Internationale from 1999-05. His actual text continued,
The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable… And the decade-old promise to mobilize $[US]100 billion annually to support mitigation and adaptation in developing countries must be met.
Just last month Guterres came up with, “The climate time-bomb is ticking. But today’s IPCC report is a how-to guide to defuse the climate time-bomb. It is a survival guide for humanity.”  An actual climate scientist, Judith Curry, author of about 175 papers on atmospheric variables, condemns such “bumper sticker science” but it’s good enough for the Council to wave at its flock of tame journos.
I smelt another rat on the annual report’s p24: “Heat waves kill more Australians each year than all other extreme weather events combined.” Au contraire! a table in The Lancet estimating Australian deaths from hot weather versus cold weather found cold deaths were 6.5 per cent of mortality vs only 0.5 per ent from heat. That is, cold is 13 times more deadly than heat. Another study put cold at six times deadlier. The Council went on to brag about how it had (mis)educated journalists to link climate to deadly heatwaves, “putting pressure on governments.” The Council won’t tell you that global weather deaths have actually plummeted 99 per cent during the past century’s warming.
I went looking for evidence for the Council’s over-riding message about bad weather being “climate-fuelled”. Even in its “Supercharged Climate” report last year, its “evidence” is just hand-waving about lots of recent weather disasters (Reminder to the Council: weather disasters also happened in the past). In 2011 the IPCC published its rigorous study on weather extremes and CO2. It found so much natural variability in the data that conclusions might not emerge for 20-30 years, ie 2031-41, it said. The CO2 might even be reducing weather extremes, it added.
The IPCC’s latest Working Group 1 report, as distinct from political “Summaries” and the Council’s hype, found human influence on weather as follows: Heatwaves, yes: heavy rain, yes; flooding, no; meteorological/hydrological drought, no; ecological/agricultural drought, yes; tropical cyclones, no; winter storms, no; thunderstorms, no; tornados, no; hail, no; lightning, no; extreme winds, no; fire weather, yes.
Surprisingly, the Climate Council admits some fine print in its mental health report (p31) that “the influence of climate change on a single weather event can be difficult to isolate… climate change’s influence on Australian rainfall variability is more geographically and seasonally complex, and difficult to simulate in both global and regional climate models…”
Like other green spruikers and posturing academics, the Council has beclowned itself with doom-crying about Barrier Reef damage, which it has variously called dire, catastrophic, and irreversible. It forecast bleaching every year from 2044 leading to loss of the Reef and other shallow reefs worldwide. The GBR today is enjoying record coral cover and globally, coral reefs are stable. Other junk is everywhere in Council material, like the Council pretending Australian agriculture is in climate peril. Can’t they read?
Flannery’s anti-emissions team jetted for 228,510 kilometres last year “necessary to deliver some crucial elements of our strategy”. They squared the circle of virtue by purchasing carbon credits. But … but … only this month the Council lauded a Griffith University boffin for blasting offsets as crooked, dangerous and useless. Obviously, the Council will be swearing off jet travel from now on.
Tony Thomas’ will launch Mark Lawson’s new book, Dark Ages- the looming destruction of the Australian power grid (Connor Court), at Il Gambero restaurant, 166 Lygon Street, Carlton, noon to 2pm on Friday, April 28. The launch talks will be over pasta and wine ($30). To accept, email firstname.lastname@example.org
 The advanced turbines now being installed at the Macintyre wind farm, Qld., are only 5.7MW each.
-  Steffen: “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.”
 The Climate Council describes itself as “a beating heart for hope, optimism and enthusiasm”, I assume until the lights flicker out.
 Total staff in 2021-22 were 47, an 18% increase in an era of general media stringency.
 “The Morris Family Foundation supports the work of the Climate Council in Queensland to change the narrative on climate action and get past the polarisation that has hampered climate action for over a decade.”
 Apparently mis-listed as “Graeme Woods Foundation.” My emailed query to the foundation went unanswered.
 His fortune derived from the DCA health group and other ventures.
 The one-day and five-day heatwave trends are little different.
 For cheap appliances, the paybacks are 8, 13 and 15 years respectively.
 The large-scale study published in 2015 involved 384 locations in 13 countries. The Australian data was deaths from 1988 to 2009.
 “Projected changes in climate extremes under different emissions scenarios generally do not strongly diverge in the coming two to three decades, but these signals are relatively small compared to natural climate variability over this time frame. Even the sign of projected changes in some climate extremes over this time frame is uncertain”. P9
 Council: “Speak to farmers who can explain or show you firsthand how their farms and livestock – and the food they grow for us – is under threat.” Sure, it’s under threat from the Greens Party but not from climate.