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Archive for June, 2011

Notre Dame University and climate change

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Notre Dame University, with campuses in Sydney, Broome and Fremantle, is an Australian Catholic University. According to its website:

“Notre Dame follows the tradition and practices of Catholic higher education which, for centuries has offered leadership in university education. It is committed to a personalised education, underpinned by pastoral care and support for all its students. Degrees and courses are offered in the following disciplines: Arts & Sciences, Business, Education (Teaching), Health Sciences, Law, Medicine, Nursing, Physiotherapy and Philosophy & Theology.”

The richest woman in Australia (although located in New York), the mining billionaire Gina Rhinehart, with huge interests in coal mining etc., who has earlier attempted to influence public opinion against a mining tax and effective measures to combat climate change, now sponsors a lecture of the “famous” climate change denier Lord Monckton at Notre Dame University of Western Australia, a man without scientific credentials, but – whenever required – at the forefront of  the misinformation  campaign about climate change. She also bought a substantial share of Fairfax, publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, the only widely distributed Australian newspapers which so far have given more balanced information about climate change, although even these are fairly right-wing. Is the move of the previous editor of the Daily Telegraph, one of Murdoch’s misinformation sheets, to the Sydney Morning Herald the first fruit of Rhinehart’s efforts?

Is the public aware of the dangers to democracy which such developments are?

A letter protesting against inviting Lord Monckton, who had earlier in the USA referred to the distinguished Australian economist Professor Ross Garnaut as a Nazi because of his active involvement in climate change policy,  to present the lecture was signed by about 50 scientists and students, to date apparently without having achieved anything. Interestingly however, the famous Brisbane Broncos football club, according to the Sydney Morning Herald 1 July, has “withdrawn its venue from the Lord Christopher Monckton speaking tour of Australia after complaints from its members….. “..in 15 years he had never received so many complaints from members about a speaker”. It seems that the club can well do without the cash from Monckton’s sponsors.

Also according to the SMH, Australian industry is now pushing “to wipe out carbon price”. Even before details of the government’s plans are known, an alliance of some of the biggest Australian industry organisations is “prepared to spend at least Austr.$10 million” on an anti-carbon price campaign, following up on last year’s $22 million campaign against the mining tax which contributed to the downfall of the then prime minister Kevin Rudd.

(Read my earlier posts on the developments in the debate on climate change and the concentration of the press in Australia).