The Murdoch media strikes again on climate change. And this one hurts.
In late 2009, then Business Spectator boss Alan Kohler was so rapt by the response to a daily column I wrote from the Copenhagen climate summit that he finally agreed to a suggestion I had been pushing for nearly two years – the creation of a specialised site that became Climate Spectator.
It became a powerful and influential voice about the emerging role of renewable energy technologies and the business impact of climate change, a role that was expanded, improved and enhanced when Tristan Edis took over as editor in early 2012.
Six years later, and just days before the world looks to repair the disastrous outcome of Copenhagen by trying to forge a new global deal in Paris, Climate Spectator has been shut down – an apparent victim of budget cuts and editorial indifference from its new owners, Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd.
It’s unfortunate, and very sad. The Murdoch camp has sacrificed one of their most popular columnists in the Business Spectator stable; another media title has folded; and an important voice has been lost in a country where the majority of mainstream media (with a few notable exceptions) expresses an ignorance and a hostility to new technologies that is quite astounding.
Tristan Edis did a magnificent job holding the government and industry to account, countering the misconceptions peddled by the mainstream print, radio and TV media, and even puncturing a few of the wildest claims of the green lobby.
Environment minister Greg Hunt would often carry a dossier of Tristan’s writing to conferences and media events, just on the hope that he could leap on some perceived error in his columns. Tristan’s constant line has been that Direct Action is a load of cobblers and accounting tricks. There is nothing that Hunt has done to prove him wrong.
Tristan was forensic in his criticism of vested interests – the utilities and government policy in particular – and was fearless in his rubbishing of the nonsense written by influential stable-mates such as veteran columnist Terry McCrann and others on the Murdoch pay-roll.
Now, that platform, and the voice of many other fine contributors has been lost. That competition gave us at RenewEconomy some grief, but it was good for us because it kept us on our toes. Our challenge now is not to rest on our laurels, so we will continue to rely on our readers for support, encouragement, advice and criticism.
RenewEconomy will continue, with the support of our readers – averaging more than 200,000 a month – our advertisers, our partners, and our donors, some of whom happily transfer $5 a month – or more – as a sort of voluntary subscription. We thank all of you for that support.
In the short term, I’m off to Paris, along with 6,000 other journalists who applied (but only 3,000 got in). Like Copenhagen, it should be fascinating, and mighty important. And you can guess the line that the Murdoch media will take on it.