Coal Use in China

I often comment on one of our local newspapers (if you can call it that – it is really just a mouthpiece of the editor), and once again I am doing so.

In recent months, probably close to a year, we have had regular contributions from a Viv Forbes who lives in Queensland. This particular person is a member of the climate denialist group “Carbon Sense Pty Ltd”.

Money trails unearthed by journalist Ben Cubby in the Sydney Morning Herald :http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/web-leak-shows-trail-of-climate-sceptic-funding-20120217-1tegk.html demonstrates where the misinformation comes from. 

Documents from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission show that a group funded by the Heartland Institute, via a thicket of other foundations and think tanks, provided the vast majority of the cash for an anti-carbon price lobby group in Australia in 2009 and 2010.

The Australian Climate Science Coalition, an offshoot of a conservative lobby group called the Australian Environment Foundation, received virtually all its funding from the International Climate Science Coalition, which has been financially supported by Heartland.

In 2010, the Australian group had an income of $50,920, and $46,343 of that came from the American Climate Science Coalition, an offshoot of the International Climate Science Coalition, the ASIC documents show. The amount of public donations received was nil.

I take particular offence to organisations like this, because they have power, money and influence to drive their own agenda. Viv Forbes is a Coal Miiner, but writes to newspapers all over the country with propaganda suggesting that renewables can never do as good a job as coal, and are too expensive. Hmmm

When Forbes has a bio like this:

Viv Forbes is the Chairman of the [denialist group] Carbon Sense Coalition, is the director at Stanmore Coal , has had 40 years of coal industry – Burton Coal; Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal; South Blackwater Coal Mine; Tahmoor Coal Mine; Newlands/Collinsville Coal Mines;MIM; Utah Goonyella/Saraji and Gold Fields.

He is also associated with the denialist group the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) and the Australian Climate Science Coalition (ACSC) [The ACSC doesn’t appear to exist anymore from what I can find]. 

Viv Forbes Bio - Stanmore Coal

Viv Forbes Bio from Stanmore Coal where he is a Director (current at August 2014) – In case he ever resigns and his bio vanishes from the ether of the web 🙂

How can he possibly be taken seriously when he states that Coal will save the world? Perhaps his bias has a little to do with the fact that he is a coal miner?

After a recent tirade to the local newspaper The Weekly Times, a fellow apparent denialist Mitch Geddes of Tennyson Point (near Gladesville in Sydney) wrote that China wasn’t reducing coal to cut emission due to global warming. Mr Geddes appears to runs a business “Glades Bay Project Management and Engineering Services”. Mr Geddes also appears to be heavily involved in the Liberal Party, and helped door knock with John Alexander during the last election. http://www.openaustralia.org/debate/?id=2010-10-28.44.1

It would be interesting to know if Geddes’s company is somehow now associated with property development, as donations from property developers is banned in NSW, (I don’t think it is in the Federal system) as there have been a significant number of Liberal ministers resign after corruption hearings by the ICAC in NSW. These Liberal Party MPs received big donations from property developers. 

Anyway a little bit of research on Google found that Mr Geddes might have been a mining engineer in a past life, apart from possibly being associated with White Energy (as an investor) which was involved with Cascade Coal.

Just check out the following submission and who it was signed by.

http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/planningsystem/pdf/southerncoalfieldinquiry_centennial_coal.pdf

The submission was signed by Mitchell Geddes TECHNICAL SERVICES MANAGER TAHMOOR COAL PTY LTD. And yes the signature is the same as seen on other signed documents found on the web associated with Glades Bay Project Management and Engineering Services run by guess who “Mitch Geddes” of Glades Bay Project Management and Engineering Services. 

Anyway back to the point.

I also found facts that completely contradict Geddes statement that coal consumption is reducing in China due to smog.

According to China’s National Development and Reform Commission, reducing emissions is a priority “In light of the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change and its worsening impacts, and the related issue of air pollution from burning fossil fuels…”

http://en.ndrc.gov.cn/newsrelease/201402/t20140218_579304.html

So we have Mr Viv Forbes – a coal miner (from Queensland), and confirmed denialist, indicating that Coal is the only way forward for the world, and that solar and wind cannot possibly be good for our society; then we have what appears to be an ex coal-mining engineer supporting him (amongst others in the past). 

This is not surprising since the organisations that Viv Forbes is involved with or associated with are Denialist groups: Carbon Sense Pty Ltd; International Climate Science Coalition. (links above)

The following article by journalist Ben Cubby in the Sydney Morning Herald is most revealing.

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/web-leak-shows-trail-of-climate-sceptic-funding-20120217-1tegk.html

It demonstrates where the money trail leads to and where the misinformation comes from. It also shows the complicity of the coal miners, oil producers and fossil fuel industry in propaganda. This is exactly what the tobacco industry did decades ago.

Prominent financiers of climate denial have come from the IPA in Australia (who founded the Liberal Party, and who John Howard made tax deductible – yep our tax dollars now fund climate denial!) and the Heartland Institute (America’s extremist political group – which also hosts forums where Australian Liberal Politicians attend).

The following paragraphs really sum up where climate denial comes from:

Documents form the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) show a clear link between the Heartland Institute in the US and The Australian Climate Science Coalition!

Over the years, the Heartland Institute has provided significant funding for the Denialist movement. Principally because regulating emissions would influence the activities of the big and powerful companies of the US. These companies FUND the Heartland Institute.

The US Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) – another anti-regulation, free market US think tank has been funded by ExxonMobil in the past, amongst others, to promote anti-science and misinformation on Global Warming. (ExxonMobil has since stopped funding the CEI due to public outcry over its anti Global Warming propaganda – however it is highly possible there is still some dirty funding going on – they have too much to lose.)

The CEI has also provided funding for Denialist conferences in Australia and NZ which have involved some members from the Liberal Party (such as then Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer and Environment Minister Robert Hill), along with the NZ and Australian Chambers of Commerce.

I might also point out that the Australian Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), Australia’s extremist free-market think tank, with VERY strong ties to the Liberal Party (instrumental in its formation), has strong connections to the Heartland Institute and the CEI, along with mining giants such as BHP Billiton, the Western Mining Corporation, Shell, Mobil and Woodside Petroleum. They are also funded by, tobacco giants Philip Morris and British American tobacco.

I really like this piece by the ABC. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ_Kbiwl2ok 

There are many more articles and reports on the IPA if you do some research. It’s a dodgy organisation that meddles with public policy by manipulation and misinformation. It should stop and it must stop if Australia is to become a democracy again!

Anyway back to climate change denialism. From reading the above the constant misinformation in the media, do you think that perhaps this continual propaganda is just away for the fossil fuel industry to maintain their hold on fossil fuel profits?

That’s it for now?

Greg.

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About Blog of Greg

I consider myself a thinker and I like to discuss everything in life with those around me. Mostly I am serious, sometimes I am funny, and occasionally I am rude. I like to wear my heart on my sleeve and say what I feel, or think! It is important to me to be honest about how I feel and why! I detest pretense, big egos and self importance. I believe that I am no more important than you, and similarly that you are no more important than me! [apparently I should reflect on this more often] This blog is a way of engaging people in different aspects of life; its goal is to present a different view of life and contribute to a broadening of our awareness. While this blog is essentially my opinion, I also understand that there are other opinions out there. Though I encourage discussion, I may “delete” comments that I find are unhelpful, argumentative, or offensive towards myself or another person. Often I write about politics – apparently that is an interest of mine – but I also like to write about other more personal things that affect us in our day to day lives. Along with this blog, I also write to politicians and newspapers; I often present a commentary on my blog about following comments or decisions. That way everyone understands what they have said – and sometimes of course how big a buffoon they are:) Please feel free to comment on my posts, as I would like to hear what you have to say. After all…. Your opinion is just as valid as mine!
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4 Responses to Coal Use in China

  1. Ella Veroude says:

    Greg – why is it that a life of experience in the coal sector somehow disqualifies somebody from commenting on the impacts of coal mining? Isn’t it to be expected that, if you understand something, through working with and around it, you would have a contribution worth weighing? Have you travelled to China in the last 8 years? If you have done so, you might have witnessed the smog issue China finds most pressing. It is not a good look for an advancing society to be walking around in face masks. These masks are not dealing in any way with CO2. CO2 is being exhaled through them. The masks are dealing with particulates. Isolated parts of Australia have also had this problem – think of Lithgow NSW. The township of Lithgow occupies a valley and the direct burning of coal in domestic fireplaces (for heating of house and water) created unacceptable particulate load, especially during unhelpful weather conditions. The domestic burning of coal has thus been wound back, and electricity is used instead, where the same coal is burnt, but with far greater pollution controls (bag filters and the like) so as to prevent the airborne particulates. Small communities, as are often found in Tasmania, still burn plenty of wood with naive belief that doing so, to the avoidance of coal, is environmentally friendly. This misguided idealism is actually doing harm. Greg, I applaud you for your initiative with this blog, but the debate about the impacts of fossil fuel use, and how we as a society might effectively respond to these, only becomes downgraded if we call “vested interest” too quickly when someone brings an alternate view. In your discussion about Viv Forbes and Mitch Geddes, it seems Mr Forbes is a geologist. This is a class of study that commands best knowledge of climate over the geological scale – a scale far more relevant than the decadal. It should be totally unsurprising that a geologist has been employed in the mining sector. This is no reason for demonising him. So too Mr Geddes, who seems to have written from a base of industry experience rather than “lounge chair quarterback”. Is the debate really improved by limiting it to those who think Julia Gillard is the smartest person in the room? Is it helpful to label people “denialist”? How do we accommodate those who believe in rising CO2, believe in climate change, believe in man’s impact on this, believe in the need to take steps in response, but don’t highly rate “Joe’s next iteration of a climate model” that fails to reproduce the climate experience of the past decade, let alone the next 10 or 20 decades? If you are quick to reject geologists as “vested interest”, why not reject the climate modeller, who survives on public funding to keep running iterations predicting gloom? Is not this interest equally vested?

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    • Blog of Greg says:

      Hi Ella,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment on my article with a well thought out response.

      To some extent, what you have stated is correct – and I agree – but unfortunately you aren’t aware of all of the facts, and so therefore, I can’t agree entirely . Below I will address why I have taken the stance that I have. Unfortunately I presently don’t have time to address everything you have commented on, buy what I have written will shed some light on Viv Forbes.

      You ask the question “why is it that a life of experience in the coal sector somehow disqualifies somebody from commenting on the impacts of coal mining?”

      Your question is a very valid point. The answer is that it does not disqualify them from commenting. However, there are a number of very important points here that you may not be aware of.

      1. Viv Forbes has never declared himself as working in the coal industry, but continues to spread misinformation, through media networks, continuously presenting a pro-coal view, while denigrating anything pro-alternative fuel. He presents himself as a member of the group “carbon sense coalition” to promote his anti climate-change agenda. The Carbon Sense Coalition (and the Australian Climate Science Coalition – which may have been a precursor to The Carbon Sense Coalition – I can’t remember), presents neither a balanced, nor scientific viewpoint on the use of coal, fossil fuel, or alternative fuel. A review of their website will demonstrate the anti-science nature of the organisation, and show that the information presented by it (and Viv Forbes) is neither scientific, nor balanced in its views.

      2. Viv Forbes was listed as a member of the International Climate Science Coalition, amongst others, which was funded by Exxon Mobil to muddy the waters on climate change. Exxon Mobil has since removed funding after negative publicity and a consequent drop in revenue.

      If you research the Australian Climate Science Coalition (ACSC), you will find some of where the funding for Viv Forbes and his anti climate-change agenda has come from. Viv Forbes is (?was – it may now be defunct) a member of ACSC. This was created by the Australian Environment Foundation (AEF) which was set up by the extreme free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs in Australia (IPA). The IPA has undue influence on Australian politics due to its vast financial backing by big business. I might also point out that the miners paid the Liberal Party $1.3 Million to get into government which resulted in a cut of $4 billion in tax to miners and an almost complete destruction of alternative fuel power generation/targets.

      Bob Carter, who is associated with Viv Forbes through various anti climate change networks, is working with the Heartland Institute, and “has a long string of affiliations with think tanks and organisations [around the world] which promote climate science denial or advocate a “do nothing” position on climate change. Some also promote skepticism and scare campaigns against renewable energy [as does Viv Forbes through the local rag The Weekly Times – whose editor/owner is a known denialist]. Some have been set up or have accepted cash from fossil fuel corporations”

      “Bob Carter is the Science Policy Advisor at the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne, the chief science advisor to the International Climate Science Coalition, a director at the Australian Environment Foundation, a member of the academic advisory council of the UK’s Global Warming Policy Foundation, an adviser to the Australia-based Galileo Movement, science adviser to the Science and Public Policy Institute, a patron of the UK’s anti-climate legislation group Repeal The Act, an advisor to the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), an advisor to the Australian Climate Science Coalition and an inaugural founder of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.”

      Every single one of these organisations is a climate skeptic/denialist organisation, whose role has been to muddy the waters on climate change and spread misinformation. Some of these were known to have been funded by ExxonMobil.

      http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/web-leak-shows-trail-of-climate-sceptic-funding-20120217-1tegk.html

      I have spoken out strongly against Viv Forbes’ statements in the past, as have others before me, because they present unscientific opinoins, spread misinformation, and try to push opinion in a direction that is coal oriented – which suits Viv’s position as a director of coal exports in Stanmore Coal (?current). Hence his continued push for a focus on coal mining and a destruction of anything alternative.

      I might also point out that Viv Forbes has been/is an advisor at the International Climate Science Coalition; money of whose have previously been traced to ExxonMobil and the Heartland Institute as listed above.

      An interesting fact is that the web sites of the International Climate Science Coalition, the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, and the Australian Climate Science Coalition are all hosted at the same IP address, by a single Internet service provider in Arizona – all have ties with Viv Forbes and Bob Carter – amongst other known denialists.

      One of the roles of the ICSC site, is to highlight news on climate skeptics from all over the world. It also propagates skeptics’ conspiracy theories on climate change.

      While I could go on and on about Viv Forbes, the reason that I have commented on him and Mitch Geddes, is not because they shouldn’t have a voice, and not because they shouldn’t have an opinion, but 1: neither have ever declared their financial interests or associated work positions, and; 2: neither have produced a single scientifically valid opinion or truth in their comments.

      You could also read:

      https://blogofgreg.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/climate-denial-in-the-local-rag/

      This is the entire reason why I took issue with both Forbes and Geddes in that particular statement.

      While I appreciate that you were trying to defend free speech, perhaps suggest that I was being biased, there is much more to this story behind the scenes. What I have presented above, perhaps sheds some light onto the bigger argument and why I have as commented as strongly as I have.

      I might also point out that I strongly support phasing out coal, and a total move towards sustainable power generation (and a sustainable everything else) and do not support coal mining or use in any manner at all.

      We can be entirely sustainable in everything that we do, but we have to want to work towards it and not be swayed by those with financial interests who promote misinformation – as Viv Forbes and others such as Bob Carter do.

      I am sorry I don’t have time to write further, but I hope you understand why I have taken a stand against both Viv Forbes and Mitch Geddes as I have.

      Thank you for your interest and time to comment.

      Greg.

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      • Ella Veroude says:

        Greg,

        If your goal is to phase out coal, how do you imagine a world without steel? How do you imagine those communities around the world in – and barely out of – poverty, continuing to survive without Australia’s (or the next country’s) low-cost energy coal exports to keep them warm and fed? I worry that many Australians, from a position of comparatively great wealth built partly upon access to low-cost energy, see it as an easy step towards higher-cost alternate energy – one which will only reduce standard of living by a quantum able to be foregone. But for those communities who cannot afford to lose anything more? I note you pasted what seems to be Viv Forbes’ ASX bio – this publicly available information hardly suggests he is hiding his background? Regarding Mitch Geddes, I see reference to him on an environmental matter: http://www.afloat.com.au/afloat-magazine/2012/november-2012/Mitch_Geddes_Letter_to_Afloat_-_Seagrass#.VWABoU-qpBc
        where the publication says: “Mr Geddes is a consulting engineer in the field of environmental impact assessment with a 30-year history of monitoring the health of the Parramatta River and a particular interest in causation and incidence of toxic algal blooms within the estuary.” Isn’t “environmental impact assessment” a class of study we welcome to the debate? Or do we just allow the maths gurus (who build the models) to control the space/funding? As for all your research about various industry groups helping to fund studies testing and disproving many of the global warming theories and claims… what matters is the strength of the argument. True “peer review” is effected when tossed to those who are perceived to have a counter interest. The “agreeathon” mentality never serves science. Testimony in law is also valued more highly when there is seen to be a counter interest. The credible “warmist” should always welcome having her work scrutinised by the credible “sceptic” – this is where gains are to made in the debate.

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      • Blog of Greg says:

        Hi ella

        You say:
        If your goal is to phase out coal, how do you imagine a world without steel? How do you imagine those communities around the world in – and barely out of – poverty, continuing to survive without Australia’s (or the next country’s) low-cost energy coal exports to keep them warm and fed?

        What an interesting statement. This statement is a classic and incorrect comment made by those who defend fossil fuel use, and put down renewables. The problem with this debate, is that facts are often misrepresented or distorted in order to try to confuse those who don’t understand the facts.

        I suggest you read this article for a start:
         Switch to fully renewable energy within reach: report. Sydney Morning Herald. April 3, 2013.

        As for povety:
        I might point out that coal is subsidised world wide to the tune of around $5 trillion dollars annually (I think this figure was presented by the UN recently). This sum alone is enough to bring most communities around the world out of poverty. In Australia, the mining industry is subsidised to the tune of $4 billion. Need we go on.

        Your suggestion that coal will reduce poverty is specious.

        Secondly, Alternative fuel is now competitive with fossil fuel power generation – particularly if you remove the coal subsidies. See the article above.

        China is building more solar power plants, and I understand will not be building any more coal fired power plants. Germany now produces significantly more than 30% (could be as high as 40% I can’t remember now) of its electricity with solar and wind sources – with this percentage continuously increasing.

        Therefore your statements are incorrect and appear to be a continuation of the common rhetoric presented by those who continue to push fossil fuels.

        You say:
        I worry that many Australians, from a position of comparatively great wealth built partly upon access to low-cost energy, see it as an easy step towards higher-cost alternate energy.

        In Australia, you can buy 100% alternative energy at the same cost as coal. See:
        http://www.powershop.com.au/

        Again your statement is incorrect.

        You say:
        – one which will only reduce standard of living by a quantum able to be foregone.

        Ella, when one makes a statement like this, it would be appropriate to present some research to demonstrate this fact. It sounds like complete rubbish as presented by denialists.

        And you say:
        But for those communities who cannot afford to lose anything more?

        Again please present some facts if you are going to debate.

        You say:
        I note you pasted what seems to be Viv Forbes’ ASX bio –

        Actually I think I got it off Stanmore Coals website, I can’t remember. The point is that as a coal miner who is pushing coal and spreading incorrect information while hiding behind a denialist organisation – don’t you think that he should declare his interests? This is my point.

        You say:
        this publicly available information hardly suggests he is hiding his background?

        However Viv Forbes DOES NOT state this in his constant barrage of misinformation to local papers – and this is deceptive! He hides behind the name of “Carbon Sense Coalition” – amongst others – and DOES NOT declare his coal interests. Hence why I and other object!

        My point with Mitch Geddes on the other hand, Mr Geddes presented misinformation, and I commented. Geddes also did NOT declare his interests in coal. This too, is deceptive. Hence why I objected.

        You say:
        Isn’t “environmental impact assessment” a class of study we welcome to the debate? Or do we just allow the maths gurus (who build the models) to control the space/funding?

        What a bizarre comment. Everyone has the right to opinion and to present it, but if they can’t declare their interests, and can’t present scientifically sound arguments – let alone researched and correct, then I and others have the right to criticise this. As for Maths gurus, I presume you refer to models, designed by scientists?

        Again, I have made it clear that Mr Geddes presented misinformation that suggested that China was NOT reducing coal use (perhaps because of his interest in coal), and I corrected him. Mr Geddes also did not declare his interest in coal, which is why I take issue with his incorrect statement. To do otherwise is deceptive.

        You say:
        As for all your research about various industry groups helping to fund studies testing and disproving many of the global warming theories and claims…

        What complete bollocks. When you have ExxonMobil funding misinformation (and proven to be misinformation) beside extremist groups doing likewise funded by fossil fuel intersts, there is NO study, but pure propaganda to muddy the waters. This was the same tactic that the tobacco industry put forward throughout recent decades.

        You say:
        what matters is the strength of the argument. True “peer review” is effected when tossed to those who are perceived to have a counter interest. The “agreeathon” mentality never serves science. Testimony in law is also valued more highly when there is seen to be a counter interest.

        Sorry Ella, you have just written complete rubbish. Peer review is entirely about other scientists looking at whether the presented facts are valid, and have been carried out correctly. It is NOT about counter opinions by skeptics. There is NO agreeathon, and your statement is completely incorrect. Science is NOT a democracy. It is a presentation of findings following studies. These studies can be shown to be correct during peer review. Your statements are completely incorrect. They can also be tested (and are constantly being tested) by other scientists to verify findings.

        You say:
        The credible “warmist” should always welcome having her work scrutinised by the credible “sceptic” – this is where gains are to made in the debate.

        Is this you? Do you consider yourself a credible sceptic? Most of what you have just presented is complete rubbish and doesn’t fulfil the criteria of educated debate, let alone scientific scrutiny. It is little more than incorrect statements and unscientific conspiracy theories.

        BTW: I studied science for 5 years and have worked in it for 3, I have lived science for the last 10 years and continue to do so. What is your background?

        I suggest you read the below link as it might shed some light on what a denialist is, and the tactics used. It also shows why those who continue to push their misinformation are deceptive and unscientific.

        A short section taken from Australasian Science on peer review scientific critique and denialists:

        The important part that I want to quote is the following on denialists and their non-scientific processes.

        “The process of error correction must also be applied to the contrarian critique. Plimer’s book Heaven and Earth has been critiqued by Ian Enting of the University of Melbourne, who lists a catalogue of errors (www.complex.org.au/tiki-download_file.php?fileId=91). Lomborg’s climate chapters and books have undergone similar critiques by Stephen Schneider of Stanford University, and others. Schneider writes: “Bjorn Lomborg’s chapter on global climate change is a clever polemic; it seems like a sober and well-researched presentation of balanced information, whereas in fact it makes use of selective inattention to inconvenient literature and overemphasis of work that supports his lopsided views”.”

        “US author Howard Friel’s book The Lomborg Deception is devoted to misattributions of cited literature in Lomborg’s recent climate book. Monckton’s lectures have been critiqued by Peter Sinclair, John Abraham, Barry Bickmore, Tim Lambert and others.”

        “Despite critiques pointing to egregious errors in contrarian studies, their proponents typically maintain the same arguments and positions. The failure of contrarians to respond to scrutiny with improved hypotheses sets them apart from science in not correcting error, and undermines the credibility of their case.”

        You could also read:
        https://blogofgreg.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/more-from-the-global-warming-denialists/

        Ella, if you are going to continue to debate this, please present scientifically and correct data, not rhetoric nor conspiracy theories.

        Regards,
        Greg.

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