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« Expanding head | Main | CRU public inquiry petition »
Wednesday
Nov252009

Who's been spinning in my newspaper?

This is a guest post by Andrew K.

 

There is a piece on the Guardian's Comment is Free today by one George Marshall.

The heading and strapline say it all really:

Leaked email climate smear was a PR disaster for UEA

There was no evidence of conspiracy among climate scientists in the leaked emails – so why was the University of East Anglia's response so pathetic?

According to the profile on CiF, "George Marshall is the founder and director of projects at the Climate Outreach and Information Network. He posts regularly to the blog climatedenial.org"

This set me digging.I discovered that COIN was a registered charity, so my next port of call was the Charity Commission, to have a look at their accounts.

None have yet been filed, as the organisation is newly registered: Mem and Arts were incorporated on 21st December 2007 and they were registered with the Charity Commission on 26th March 2008 (though according to their own website they were founded in 2004).

Its charitable objects are listed on the Charity Commission website as "to promote any charitable purposes at the discretion of the trustees concerning climate change and its impact".

Their objects look rather more political on their "about us" page. The contact was listed as a Mr Tim Baster of Oxford.  Additionally there are two trustees.

Googling Mr Baster's name came up trumps.  The buggers are getting close on £700,000 from DEFRA over two years.

According to DEFRA's press release this is to "profoundly change the attitude of rank and file union members; generating visible collective reduction action, establishing a social norm for personal action, and creating a persuasive synergy and cross over between personal action, work-placed programmes such as 'Greening the workplace', and the emissions reduction targets of employers."

The other awards on the press release merit a look too.

 

 

 

 

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References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (27)

Without breaking step the good Bishop did smite the venal warmist with his crosier.

Bravo.

Nov 25, 2009 at 7:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterDiogenes

The unions fund the Labour party, the government rewards the unions with our cash. Carousel corruption. Round and round, everyone's a winner, except us - we're bled dry to fund this obscenity, and we tolerate it...

Nov 25, 2009 at 8:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrankFisher

Oops, noticed guest post. Well done Andrew K, following the money is exactly the right way to investigate these people. I wonder how much tax-payer's money the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition receives.

* Friends of the Earth * People & Planet * Action Aid * Greenpeace * Christian Aid * CAFOD * Tearfund * Sustrans * Practical Action * Woodland Trust * Oxfam * RSPB * UNICEF * UNA-UK * Wildlife Trusts * WWF * World Development Movement * Women's Institute * Tolerance International * UNISON * Peace Child International * Surfers Against Sewage * Concern Worldwide Scotland * National Trust Scotland * COIN * Islamic Relief * NUS * Speak * Medact * Viva * 999 Planet in Peril * Airport Watch * Ethical Consumer * Environmental Justice Foundation * Campaign to Protect Rural England * Envision * Low Carbon Communities * We CAN * Green TV * Carplus * Women's Environmental Network * Shared Energy * Medsin * Progressio * Come Off It * Operation Noah * Plant Life * Cap and Share * Save Our World * A Rocha * Planet Positive * Internuncio * MRDF * Campaign Against Climate Change * Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust * IFEES * The Salvation Army * UK Youth Climate Coalition * Association for the Conservation of Energy * Church of Scotland * Edinburgh University Student's Association * Justice and Peace Scotland Justice and Peace Scotlan * Centre for Alternative Technology * SCAN * Cambridge Carbon Footprint * Desertec * Commitment For Life * Glasgow University Student's Representative Council * IQ2 Green Festival * Spokes * ACTSA * SCIAF * SEAD * Mercy Corps Scotland * Heriot Watt University Students Association * Take Global Warming Seriously * Glasgow Eco-renovation Network * Climate Friendly Bradford on Avon * Friends of the Earth Scotland * Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations * Health In Your Environment * Jewish Community Centre for London * Scottish Seabird Centre * Scottish Episcopal Church * Christian Ecology Link * SAMH * Scottish Action on Climate Change * The Iona Community * Transform Scotland * Portsmouth Climate Action Network * Earth Restoration Service * Make Poverty History North East * Linlithgow Climate Challenge

Nov 25, 2009 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterDiogenes

OT but have you seen this hilarious video :

Hitler vs AGW

Nov 25, 2009 at 9:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterThortung

CiF pulled commenting on that article within one day.

Hmmmmm.

Nov 25, 2009 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

C'mon you lazy British bastards, sign the petition!

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/HADLEY-LEAK/

Do you want to pay trillions of pounds for a fraudulent cause so that the rich fascist elite can be the only ones to eat meat, drive cars, and have kids? Next, the AGW zealots will tell us "NO MORE SEX FOR YOU PEONS. CREATES TOO MUCH HEAT & CO2. BAD FOR GLOBAL WARMING."

Nov 25, 2009 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Z.

In what sense can this be a legit charity when schools apparently can't be?

Nov 25, 2009 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

You can see how the spin machine is co-ordinated across all government departments and public bodies if you look at one of the leaked documents - "Rules of the Game"

Nov 25, 2009 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterBen

I note the Guardian has snipped several comments and now closed comments altogether. It's a shame because I was just going to post up a comment about it. Something like this:

"George Marshall is the founder and director of projects at the Climate Outreach and Information Network. Its charitable objectives are listed on the Charity Commission website: "to promote any charitable purposes at the discretion of the trustees concerning climate change and its impact".

What is the source of its charitable funding? A gob smacking £700,000 grant from DEFRA over two years. So this is nothing more than part of a government spin operation, funded by the tax-payer. I have applaud Mr Marshall's so blatantly sanctimonious contribution to the discussion. The hypocrisy is truly wonderful."

To be honest I'm pretty disgusted by the whole mainstream media, especially the way they are attempting to manipulate discussion on this issue. I get the impression they really are caught between a rock and a hard place: loyalty to one's friends/ideals v allowing public debate/commentary.

We live in interesting times.

Nov 25, 2009 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

I found this on the Naked Capitalism blog.

"From his editorial command post at **** (and through organizations such as the ****, in which he figured prominently), **** did much to create and refine the fiercely combative **** style. That style emphasized not balance (viewed as evidence of timidity) or the careful sifting of evidence (suggesting scholasticism) but the ruthless demolition of any point of view inconsistent with the **** version of truth, typically portrayed as self-evident and beyond dispute.

Spot on, eh? The Climate Alarmists to a "T". Actually, the thugs in question were "neo-conservatives" but what the hell?

Nov 25, 2009 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

Mr Baster seems to have spent his life involved in leftist causes. This from the COIN website:

Tim Baster, Executive Director, Climate Outreach and Information Network
Tim was a grassroots trade union campaigner in the construction industry in the late 70s and 80s, fighting against the privatisation of directly-employed labour in local authorities and the use of 'labour only subcontracting', which led to poor health and safety conditions and lower wages.

In the early 1990s he worked at the Refugee Legal Centre - a free representation unit for asylum seekers appealing against the refusal of asylum by the Home office - successfully representing many asylum seekers before the UK Immigration Courts.

In the late 90s as the level of detention rose dramatically, he set up an award-winning Human Rights organisation, Bail for Immigration Detainees, which sought to ensure that detained asylum seekers in the UK had access to judicial oversight of their detention consistent with the Human Rights Act. This work included an innovative litigant-in-person project for detainees who lacked access to legal representation due to cuts in the legal aid budget.

In 2006 he started working with the Campaign against Climate Change. He joined COIN in February 2007.

Nov 25, 2009 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterPiggies Hollow

The Campaign against Climate Change?

"What do we want!"
"Climate Stasis!"
"When do we want it!"
"NOW!"

Well boys and girls, I suggest you talk to God about this 'cos there ain't anyone else who can help.

Nov 25, 2009 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin B

I will change stripes from a skeptic to a warmer if Phil Jones can publicly replicate his own temperature record without "fudging" the results while being taped and broadcast live in front of an audience of skeptics .


"Expose the code"
"Bust the Anti-Trust Climate Team"
"Busted not Robust!"
Shiny
Edward

Nov 25, 2009 at 5:36 PM | Unregistered Commenteredward

Well, who'd have thought it? A "Card-Carrying" Lefty writing in the Guardian? We'll be having pictures of a topless lass in The Sun next!

Nov 25, 2009 at 6:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

Well after the brief period of Glasnost in Tuesday's Grauniad, I see that today's (Wednesday's) printed edition is back to form. The UEA affair is buried deep within in less than half a column, opposite a much bigger piece mithering on about supermarket products not doing enough about reducing their carbon whatever blah blah, and the UEA piece is basically just parroting the official line. No investigative journalism here then. Read all about it; get your Pravda here....

However, there is one thoughtful article here, in response to George Monbiot's bit about farmers having to replace their diesel tractors with electric, written by someone who (unlike George) gives every impression of actually knowing something about tractors:

John Hewson

Nov 25, 2009 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeE

Marshall's several Web sites promote, without room for dissent, the religion of global warming.
I wrote a post about George Marshall's "Swiftboating the Climate Scientists" (See http://theindependentview.com/index.php/swiftboating-the-climate-scientists/) after a comment I posted was rejected via email from George where he wrote (likely a form letter), in part:

…I have decided not to accept your com­ments. My blog is con­cerned with “accept­ing cli­mate change” not about it’s exis­tance. “I am there­fore not pre­pared to accept post­ings from peo­ple who do not accept the real­ity of cli­mate change.” Denial of cli­mate change is like Hol­caust Denial but “I do not wish to draw a strong comparison.”

“At present though there is not one — I repeat not one– lead­ing sci­en­tific insti­tu­tion that agrees with what you wrote to the blog."

Nov 25, 2009 at 7:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Weaver

@Matthew:

I see he knows about as much then about spelling as he does about scientific open-mindedness and the scientific method. (Even worse if this is a form letter). At least he is open about the crass association implied by use of the word "denial". Most of them would probably "deny" that this was their intention (pun intended).

Nov 25, 2009 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeE

Pardon the long comment, but here is the full form email from George:


Dear contributor to Climate Denial,

I appreciate the time and trouble you have taken in writing to my blog and so I therefore feel it is only fair that I explain why I have decided not to accept your comments.

I have had a lot of skeptic replies to my post about the UEA hacking. Some I have allowed because they raise a legitimate point that this may be an 'inside' job not a hacking or that the behaviour of the scientists might not be acceptable. Fair enough. Some of you made valid comments which I would have accepted but then could not resist going into a little rant about climate change itself which disallowed your comment- I did not think it was ethical to edit your comment, except in one or two cases. And some went off an a tangent about the details of the Swift Boat smear which has little to do with this issue.

So I do not mind having debate from people, but the central premise is this: the blog is concerned with the challenges of communicating and accepting climate change. It is not about the existence of climate change, which I consider to be strongly supported and evidenced by of over 20 years of intensive analysis.

In essence the UEA e-mails may raise legitimate issues about the way that the scientists talk and manage information and dissent. However the personal conversations of a few scientists do not change the scientific basis behind climate change which has been conducted in full view, publicly accessible documents and through a thorough review process.

I am therefore not prepared to accept postings from people who do not accept the reality of climate change. I am fervently in favour of free speech and open debate, which is why I would always defend the openness of the internet as a whole and the expression of a full range of views on climate change- including your own.
As you know there are many many sites representing your point of view to which you are free to contribute.

However. a personal blog is not a debating forum: it is an unpaid personal project based around a personal point of view - just as a newspaper has its own editorial line. I am not happy with my site being used as a sounding board for people with whom I fundamentally disagree. This policy extends to people who do agree about human induced climate change but who I regard as being extremist in their views or who express themselves rudely or aggressively.

You are very welcome to start your own blog if you wish to share your views with a wider public. And, for those who carp about censorship I would point out that no skeptic site has ever accepted my comments either. Nor would I expect it to.

Can I also say that I am deeply concerned that there are still a substantial number of intelligent and thoughtful people, like yourself, who wish to put time and energy into arguing against the overwheming evidence. I am not going to argue any of the evidence here - it is constantly being published - but I would urge you to extend your healthy scepticism to all sides.

On the Royal Society's website http://royalsociety.org/landing.asp?id=1278
you will find not only innumerable well referenced reports about climate change, but cogent counter-arguments against the main denial arguments. This is not my view- frankly, I would not expect you to accept what I might say- it is the official consensus position of one of the most respected scientific bodies in the world. The Royal Society position is regularly supported and endorsed in joint statements by the national scientific academies of every major nation in the world. Can I just rephrase that: every single major national scientific institution in the world agrees on this. I am staggered that you can disregard this level of combined authority.

I should add on this point that the term 'climate denial' is appropriate. Denial is a recognised psychological process by which we manage information that challenges us but we are not prepared to accept. I am aware of the resonance with the term 'Holocaust Deniers' but do not wish to draw a strong comparison: Holocaust Denial is the refutation of an established historical fact and deeply insulting to millions of people (myself included). Climate Change Denial is the refutation of a scientific theory which is very well supported by data. These are not the same thing, nor is the intent behind them.

In particular I would like to ask you, as someone who is interested in contributing to a debate , one key question: what do you think would be required for you to accept that greenhouse gas emissions are creating dangerous changes in global climate? If we are to be open minded, we always have some point at which. however reluctantly, we change our minds.

If you asked me that question: what would be required for me to accept that greenhouse gas emissions are not creating dangerous changes in global climate I would answer this- if any leading scientific institution (I do not mean an individual academic, individual piece of research, or some report from a US think tank- I want a conclusion from a recognised specialist body such as the Royal Society above) came out and argued, with well prepared supporting evidence, that climate change was not being caused by fossil fuels then I would be prepared to change my mind.

I must confess that I would find it challenging to change my position: I have invested a great deal of time and energy into this field, but I would also be delighted to know that there was one less problem in the world. Let's face it: there are plenty of other worthwhile things to do in life.

You are very welcome to send me anything that meets these criteria and I will fully reconsider my position. At present though there is not one - I repeat not one- leading scientific institution that agrees with what you wrote to the blog. However, I am reasonable- I don't want them all to shift, just one.

To date I have been sending this challenge out for two years and no one has been able to respond.

So, as things stand, I prefer to follow expertise and judgement in my decisions. A similar evaluation of the respected expert judgement has been my basis for decisions whether to give my children the MMR jab (I did), whether to smoke (I don't), whether to join a local campaign against mobile phone masts (I didn't), whether to eat fresh food and get exercise (I do), whether to get smoke detectors fitted in my house (I did), whether to drink in moderation (I do) On any of these issues I am quite open to changing my mind by the same criteria.

So again, I ask you. what is your personal tipping point at which you might change you mind? Is it some degree of extreme weather, a new scientific conclusion, the views of someone whose judgement you respect for being impartial and well grounded? All I am asking is that you keep an open mind, which means recognising that your views could change, just as I do.

You have already shown that you are a bold and independent thinker by holding a view that is contrary to the large majority of other people- so I have every confidence that you can take the brave step of changing your mind if you see a good argument for doing so.

I regret that I will not be able to continue any correspondence, but thank you for reading this letter.

Yours

George Marshall,
Director of Projects
Climate Outreach Information Network

COIN is a charitable trust, registration number 1102225. It supports
initiatives and organisations that increase public
understanding and awareness of climate change.

--
George Marshall,
Director of Projects,
Climate Outreach Information Network,

George Marshall contacts in Wales
[Personal information snipped]


Main COIN Office
Old Music Hall, 106-108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JE.
Telephone 01865 403 334
E-mail info@COINet.org.uk
Web: www.COINet.org.uk

COIN is a charitable trust, registration number 1102225. It supports
initiatives and organisations that increase public
understanding and awareness of climate change.

Nov 25, 2009 at 8:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Weaver

Personally, I would never trust any organisation that used a phrase like: "creating a persuasive synergy", but maybe that's just me.

WRT to Monbiot and his electric tractors, that just confirms that he has even less technical knowledge than I had previously thought. What next, electric 747's..?

Nov 26, 2009 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Re George Marshall's 'Dear John' e-mail: It's admirable in some ways but it hinges on a big (and, alas, common) non-equivalence. A disbelief in 'dangerous changes in global climate' does not equal a belief that 'climate change [is] not being caused by fossil fuels'. Marshall's two-year-old challenge probably hasn't been answered because it doesn't make any sense.

There are a lot of these people about. They are so in love with their own sense of fairness, so keen to be seen to reach out to their opponents, that they never quite get around to wondering whether their opponents might have a point. Essentially, it's self-congratulation disguised as egalitarianism.

It becomes nauseating after a while.

Nov 26, 2009 at 11:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterVinny Burgoo

George Marshall: Sounds very noble somehow.

But:

If he is going to have a blog, which allows comments, he should not censor the comments. If he wants to have an uncommented blog that's another thing entirely. A conversation with himself. I'm sure psychologists would have a field day with that one.

I note that while claiming to support free speech, he reverts to "authority". Total contradiction.

He asks you you to keep an open mind while being careful to keep his own mind closed.

Pretends to be open "you are welcome to send me...blah blah..." then makes an impossible condition:

"At present though there is not one - I repeat not one- leading scientific institution that agrees with what you wrote to the blog..."

...er, well, it might not agree at the moment, but if the view were allowed to be expressed somewhere...?

He sounds like a boring little conformist, to be honest.

Nov 27, 2009 at 1:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikeE

Is he from Kansas?

Nov 28, 2009 at 4:23 AM | Unregistered Commentermojo

Re Mathew Weaver, George Marshall e-mail:

Definitely a form letter, I have the identical e-mail and was going to post it here until I read yours!

Dec 3, 2009 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterDennis Ambler

Oh come on fellows- The fact that we are a charity is neither here nor there- we are just trying to engage the public with same information as that provided by every major scientific institution in the world; that can be found in every school and university curriculum; and is built into the policy of every government department. It's not like we are some fringe.

So you may disagree as mush as you like with the majority, but you have to recognise that it is a majority and that the fact that charities are also involved is irrelevant...of sorry, and every church, and every major FTSE business...still, maybe we're all wrong. Nothing, to be honest, would make me happier than to be wrong.

And we are hardly a money making conspiracy: after 20 years in this business I earn scarcely more than an entry level primary school teacher. That DEFRA grant has to go a long long way.

I hope that Bishop Hill will kindly publish this comment (this posting was largely about me after all)...but, as I say to people I refuse, it is his blog, so I respect his right to refuse comment to

George Marshall- founder, Climate Outreach Information Network

Jan 2, 2010 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Marshall

George

Nothing you say detracts from Andrew's point, which is that COIN is a fake charity. How much do you receive in voluntary donations from the public?

Jan 2, 2010 at 5:01 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Hi there, nice to see a fellow biker post their thoughts. I'm really impressed by your post, I
really enjoyed the post before this post also, it just so happens I was talking to someone about
the same thing the other day.

Jan 13, 2010 at 11:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuffing Envelopes Home

I think it is a good organization

Apr 15, 2010 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered Commentergerovital

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