Brendan O’Neill comments on the hysterical greenie obsession with uncovering the big oil links.
The old world of rigorous debate about issues has been replaced by the modern insatiable search for “hidden agendas”.
This can be seen most clearly in discussions about climate change.
Greens have become obsessed with discovering that sceptics are in the pay of Big Oil or some other evil entity.
They genuinely believe that proving an individual was once paid by a company or think tank to do some research is enough to rubbish everything he says.
[…]it stinks of intellectual cowardice. Instead of taking sceptics up on what they say in public, campaigners dig for dirt behind the scenes. It’s the old lowdown tactic of trying to contaminate the witness rather than grapple with his evidence.
Tim Blair calls out such tactics from the ABC’s Jonathan Holmes.
We saw a perfect example of this on last Monday’s Media Watch, which attacked Jennifer Marohasy’s connections rather than her views. Host Jonathan Holmes’s excuse: “Well it’s not Media Watch’s job to argue with Dr Marohasy on the science.” So he went chasing the money trail, eventually turning up the damning fact that (deep breath) a report written by Marohasy was commissioned by a think-tank which had a subsidiary organisation that once received $100,000 from a climate change sceptic group in the US.
One. Hundred. Thousand. Dollars. And, as even Holmes admitted, this was almost the entire amount of funding for the organisation that year.
For example, Bob Carter, a professor of geology at James Cook University, has found himself pilloried following revelations that the climate-sceptical Heartland Institute paid him a fee.
This came to light as part of “Fakegate”, the name given to Peter Gleick’s dishonest appropriation of internal Heartland documents, at least one of which is now suspected of being a fake.
Greens are cock-a-hoop over the Heartland-Carter revelation, believing it demolishes Carter’s arguments and reputation.
A professor of philosophy from Monash University told The Age, “We are well justified in dismissing his comments as cash for climate scepticism.”
I wonder if this Professor would feel well justified in dismissing the comments of certain WWF employees as cash for alarmism.
In late 2004, around the time that work was beginning on what would become the IPCC’s landmark 2007 report, the WWF launched a recruitment drive. It established a parallel body – the Climate Witness Scientific Advisory Panel– and then systematically targeted IPCC-affiliated scientists.
It’s not clear what the courtship process involved, precisely – or who joined in what year or in what order – but by late 2008 the WWF says it had recruited 130
leading climate scientists mostly, but not exclusively, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change… [see p. 2 of this PDF]
An eight-page document prepared in 2008 advised scientists whom the WWF was still wooing that there were “opportunities for further involvement in a number of other WWF activities” including “attendance at conferences, forums or workshops and interaction with the media.” Moreover, “future collaboration between WWF and research institutions” was a possibility.
It is difficult to believe that any self-respecting scientist would have anything to do with the Climate Witness Panel after reading those eight pages. The WWF states baldly, right up front, that the purpose of the panel is to heighten the public’s sense of urgency. That particular phrase is used four times on the final page.