Not satisfied with Australia’s appalling international standing and complete lack of federal policy on emissions reduction, a new super-group of some of Australia’s most senior and coal-connected climate deniers has formed, to lobby for Australia’s withdrawal from the Paris accord.
And it seems that the belated but welcome recent shift by leading mining and oil and gas groups like BHP, Rio Tinto and Woodside to embrace climate science, and urge action such as the carbon prices they fought so hard against, is too much for some of its former bosses.
Dubbed the Saltbush Club, the new group made its debut in – where else, but Murdoch’s Sky News and The Australian – and features the former heads of BHP, Jerry Ellis, and WMC, Hugh Morgan. It follows and presumably augments the parliamentary-based “Monash Forum” that is proud to wear its climate denial on its collective sleeve.
Saltbush, we are told, was proudly spawned “from a country farm-house in Queensland with no landline, no NBN and less than $3,000 in financial support,” the group aims to challenge “the whole idea of a consensus on man-made global warming,” according to the group’s founder and executive director Viv Forbes.
Specifically, it calls for Australia to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement – which it argues is part of an evil UN-based plot to transfer wealth from countries like Australia “to the so-called Less Developed Countries,” while also “advancing centralised control of people’s lives on a global scale.”
Alongside Queensland geologist and farmer Forbes, a well known climate denier, at least in the narrow confines of climate denialism, the Club boasts a board of those ageing mining and energy industry veterans and other career climate deniers, including Ian Plimer and Jo Nova.
As DeSmog Blog has noted, Forbes himself – as well as founding the Carbon Sense Coalition “to defend the role of carbon on earth and in the atmosphere” – has more than 40 years of coal industry experience, including with Burton Coal, Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, South Blackwater Coal Mine, Tahmoor Coal Mine, Newlands/Collinsville Coal Mines, MIM, Utah Goonyella/Saraji and Gold Fields.
Morgan, apart from being the former CEO of Western Mining Corporation, was President of the Business Council of Australia from 2003 to 2005, and served on the Reserve Bank of Australia under the Howard from 1996 where he remained until 2007.
Morgan also co-founded the Australian anti-Kyoto Lavoisier Group in 2000, and more recently, was a founding member of “Clexit” an hastily put together international group calling for governments to “abandon this suicidal Global Warming crusade.” We think they should stop right there with the acronyms.
Ellis, who is named as the chair of Saltbush Group, was at BHP for three decades and had various board roles on Newcrest Mining, Aurora Gold, the International Copper Association, the International Council on Metals and the Environment and the American Mining Congress.
Ellis is also former President of the Minerals Council of Australia – whose former operatives now hold key roles in the Coalition government,.and is currently on the advisory board of Anglo Coal Australia.
Interestingly, he was also once a Chancellor of Monash University, which is currently rolling out a sector-leading shift to renewable energy and sustainability, guided by a target of zero net emissions by 2030., another contrast with the so-called Monash Forum.
As for Nova and Plimer, RE readers will be well familiar with their names, and roles in the climate denying industry. Nova will be the media director of the Club.
According to Forbes, Ellis and Morgan are “supported by a large, skilled and experienced group of other Australians calling themselves ‘The Saltbush Club’.”
And as he said on Sky News (of course), the group’s main aim is to “change the climate of public opinion,” because – and here’s where he might just have a point – “that’s the only thing that drives politicians.”
Here’s what the other members of the Saltbush Club board have to say:
“It is clear that Australia’s push to meet the Paris carbon dioxide emission targets is leading to higher electricity prices and unreliable supply. We have lost the balance between working for environmental outcomes and working for economic outcomes. These things need to be balanced, and this balance is missing with the Paris Agreement. The world would be a better placed with strong economies generating money to spend on poverty, health, infrastructure and the environment.”
“People think the Paris Accord is just about commitments to lower CO2. It is really about transferring wealth via the UN to the so-called Less Developed Countries. It’s about advancing centralised control of people’s lives on a global scale. This climate alarm movement has got so far because of backing by Western millennials who have been indoctrinated during their education. Enjoying living standards unprecedented in world history, they have embraced alarmism as a new secular religion.”