Australian news, and some related international items

Michael Shellenberger mucked up the pro nuclear “climate action” propaganda

The environmentalist’s apology: how Michael Shellenberger unsettled some of his prominent supporters

The American environment and energy commentator’s piece in the Australian has found praise in conservative media , Guardian Graham Readfearn @readfearn, 4 Jul 2020  Few things engage a particular subset of conservative media more than an environmentalist having an apparent change of heart and dumping all over the “climate scare”.

Earlier this week, the Australian newspaper ran an opinion piece that fitted this narrative so perfectly that room was found on its front page.

The American environment and energy commentator and nuclear power supporter Michael Shellenberger was the provider.

“On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologise for the climate scare we created over the past 30 years,” wrote Shellenberger in his 1,700-word article.

A long interview on Australia’s Sky television, known for airing derisory views of environmentalism and climate change in its evening schedules, soon followed.

Though he had almost no profile in Australia before the piece, Shellenberger has been a contrarian voice on environmental issues and a critic of aspects of environmentalism for more than 15 years.

But his “apology for the climate scare” has unsettled some supporters of his who spoke to Guardian Australia.

His op-ed was first published three days earlier on Forbes, but was removed by the outlet.

Shellenberger claimed on social media he had been censored and told rightwing site the Daily Wire he was grateful Forbes was committed to publishing viewpoints that “challenge the conventional wisdom, and thus was disappointed my editors removed my piece from the web”.

Forbes told Guardian Australia the article was removed “because it violated our editorial guidelines around self-promotion”.

Before appearing in the Australian, the op-ed also ran on the website of Shellenberger’s thinktank, Environmental Progress, and on at least three other sites. The article heavily promoted Shellenberger’s new book, Apocalypse Never.

The article contained a list of “facts few people know” to buttress his claim that while climate change was happening, “it’s not even our most serious environmental problem”.

Among Shellenberger’s many claims was that climate change was not making natural disasters worse, fires had declined around the world since 2003, and the more dangerous fires being experienced in Australia and California were because of the build up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change.

Voices that have questioned human-caused climate change have embraced and applauded Shellenberger’s article.

At the same time, climate science experts have also offered qualified praise, while expressing concerns about the broader impact of the opinion article.

Respected MIT climate expert Prof Kerry Emanuel sits on a line-up of science advisers of Environmental Progress.

He told Guardian Australia he was “very concerned” about the opinion piece, and was consulting with other members of the advisory group before deciding whether to remain listed…….

He said: “For example, he states ‘climate change is not making natural disasters worse’ when there is plenty of evidence that it is.”….

One example of the more questionable claims in the opinion piece comes when Shellenberger claims fires in Australia and California were becoming more dangerous because of the “build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change”.

That claim is at odds with many studies showing higher temperatures driven by rising levels of greenhouse have already increased the risks of bushfires in Australia and will continue to do so in the future.

review of the academic literature produced earlier this year in response to Australia’s devastating bushfire summer found “human-induced warming has already led to a global increase in the frequency and severity of fire weather, increasing the risks of wildfire”. …..

According to the latest publicly available financial records, Environmental Progress earned US$809,000 in revenue in 2017 from gifts, grants and donations.

In the process of researching this article, Guardian Australia emailed questions to Shellenberger to clarify why Forbes had removed his article and who funded his organisation.

A third question related to a 2017 internal report from the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) which said the institute, which represents the nuclear energy industry, had “engaged third parties to engage with media through interviews and op-eds” and named “environmentalist Michael Shellenberger” as one of those it had engaged………


July 6, 2020 - Posted by | General News

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