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« Another unthinking BBC correspondent | Main | Lewis on the SciAm article »

SMH - the voice of the hidden vested interest

The Sydney Morning Herald is giving much publicity to the anti-Lomborg rantings of someone called Professor Ray Wills.

Adjunct Professor Wills, who has been a spokesman for the university on climate change issues for the past seven years, said there was a lot of disquiet among the university ranks about the centre.

"The appointment tarnishes the reputation of the university," he told Fairfax Media.

"It's like appointing Brian Burke to look after your economics.

But take a look at Professor Wills' CV. As the article correctly notes, Wills is an adjunct professor: someone who turns up to give a course once in a while. He actually makes his living from his roles in a series of businesses, all within the subsidised green sector.

So in fact the calls to silence Lomborg are coming from a man whose livelihood depends on Lomborg's message not being heeded. The Sydney Morning Herald is essentially giving Wills a platform to protect his flow of public subsidy while pretending that he is an academic.

Very virtuous, I must say.


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Reader Comments (57)

Turkeys do not look forward to christmas, adjunct Turkeys especially so.

Apr 24, 2015 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

If Lomborg is so bad it will be a trivial exercise for someone of his acumen to take down all his new department's output with scientific critique, thus demonstrating the foolishness of having Lomborg there.


Or is he just plain chicken? *squawk*

Apr 24, 2015 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

The solution to this problem of green vested interests having their own propaganda dept is obvious, make GLOBAL greenery like a religion (as if it isn't one already) or like sex, the business only of consenting adults, nothing to do with government, which should concern itself only with the LOCAL environment.

If people fear a bit more CO2 in the atmosphere then create less of it yourself (as if), campaign to persuade others to follow this path, build churches (windmills), raise funds privately, etc ... just don't expect any state funding.

Problem solved. I offer this policy to whatever right-of-centre political party emerges from the Tory/UKIP fiasco.

Apr 24, 2015 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Willis, another green weasel purloining taxes to line and furnish his own lair. As I said before, to me Lomborg is a total believer in the warmist claptrap, man made CO² blah, blah but I am beginning to feel sorry for the lad, and if we dismiss his core beliefs, he does have some good things to say.

What causes this effusion of spiteful vitriol, to me is quite astounding, Lomborg, is entitled to say and think whatever he likes - in my book, I could certainly never hate him - he seems like an affable and cultured man, I bet he is a good laugh too. No, I reserve my contempt for the eejit politicians and the lying ranks of climatology related experts pseudo-science and climate necromancy men such as; Dave the green to66er, Miliberk, Clagnuts, Deben, Yeo, potatoED, Huhne whom I still revile, the nutters of the UN junkets Figures, Pachauri, Penn State clowns, UEA lickspittels, Met Office shills, EU madmen and certain journalists who do know better but refuse to climb down off their high horses....

I wonder if and when, as he teeters on the brink of revelation - he finally recants - will 'they' in their infinite wisdom, arch priests of the green robes, eco warriors and he socially inadequate adolescent mob twatterati.....will they seek the death sentence for 'apostates' and then immolate Moonbat?

Apr 24, 2015 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

The climate hypesters seem to be sincere hypocrites- somehow blind to their lucrative vested interests while busily assigning motives to those with whom they disagree.
Notice that the outraged Adjunct does not offer any sort of intellectual argument, only ad hom. I wonder if he was too busy billing for his day job to be bothered?

Apr 24, 2015 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Could the Sydney Morning Herald do a better job of winning public sympathy and support, by publicising some of the success stories of public funded climate science? They have had a lot of money, and the public would love to know about the benefits.

Attacking someone simply for saying it may not be as bad or expensive, as feared, does seem a bit negative.

Apr 24, 2015 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I am suggesting that the more unpleasant the hateful, bile-spitting vitriol is, the more likely they know how wrong they truly are! As it invariably is the case, the one doing the loudest shouting is the one in the wrong!

Apr 24, 2015 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Lomborg makes perfect sense, arrived at by rational analysis. That alone is enough to raise the ire of the Green/Left.

But that he should be given government grant money to talk sense is absolute anathema. Government grant money should be reserved for promoting the treasured emotional narrative of 'climate action' and 'climate justice' NOW.

Given the level of vitriol aimed at Lomborg already (most of it utterly wrong, for he believes that CAGW is a problem), expect some 'tolerant' Green/Lefties to 'demand' (they never 'request') that his research centre be defunded or axed in the near future.

Apr 24, 2015 at 2:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

My dictionary defines "adjunct" as "something incidental or unnecessary". How appropriate...especially for an alleged academic.

Apr 24, 2015 at 3:03 PM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

@ Rick Bradford.

I thought I read somewhere of a student union-type group demanding the Uni' decline the grant! The response to anything anti-agenda from across the Green spectrum is often pure poison and perhaps reveals far more of their mind-set than they realise.

Apr 24, 2015 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

When shall we get the burning of the books, then the new CrystallNacht?

Apr 24, 2015 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Here is a blog post from a "real" UWA faculty member:

Dave Pannell is a long-serving faculty member in Agricultural Economics and represents academia in a much better light.

Apr 24, 2015 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob

Here is a blog post from a "real" UWA faculty member:

Dave Pannell is a long-serving faculty member in Agricultural Economics and represents academia in a much better light.

In case the post moves down, here is the direct link:

Apr 24, 2015 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob

"the calls to silence Lomborg are coming from a man whose livelihood depends on Lomborg's message not being heeded."

Or, as Upton Sinclair noted, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

Apr 24, 2015 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

If you ask questions about fossil fuels and Africa, they try the 'how dare you' trick. But look at them go after Lomborg, and Tol, for saying things other than climate could be important.

Followers of the climate debate need little education on Lomborg, or why this appointment is so idiotic.


...debunked quasi scientific arguments ...


...the rent a gob of choice for climate deniers ...

The funding for this exercise in stupidity ...


This is little different to a lung health research centre being funded by a tobacco brand.


Sputtering rage, courtesy of: Brendan May is Chairman of Robertsbridge, a global sustainability advisory firm.

To have Bjorn Lomborg set up a 'Consensus Centre' in youthful UWA, where Obama gave a speech against the advice of the Australian government touting the 97% figure - a masterstroke.

Apr 24, 2015 at 4:01 PM | Registered Commentershub

I seem to recall that Ambrose Bierce defined Positive in his Devil's Dictionary as being mistaken at the top of one's voice.

Apr 24, 2015 at 4:17 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

Thanks for that link to Dave Pannell's site. The comment by Josh Dowse struck me as typical of the problems that people like Lomborg face.
Dowse explains in detail Lomborg's argument that the $180b p.a. that Europe is spending on Kyoto-based policies, which if successful (my emphasis) would avoid temperatures rising by just 0.002°C translates to 3 cents of avoided costs for every $1 spent. Kyoto-based policies – ie a price on carbon – are therefore a waste of money.
Which makes sense to me.
Lomborg argues that we should invest heavily in low-emission R&D and that if we spent just half the Kyoto amount doing so, we could bring in the technologies needed to keep emissions stable, and avoid global warming. People would use the new technologies not because they were being forced to, but because they would be cheaper than coal. As soon as we reach that point, the problem will be solved. For every $1 invested, we would get $11 worth of the benefit of avoided climate change costs. Isn’t that better?
And that also makes sense to me.
But Dowse is insistent that Lomborg is wrong and we should do both which suggests to me that he is missing the point, as are others. Also that his understanding of money is a bit agley. If you have spent all your Kyoto money on something that is going to leave you with 3% of your original capital then you don't have any left to spend half of it on something that is going to give you an 1100% return while still leaving half your original capital to something more productive with.
I suspect that too many of the eco-idiots (a) don't like Lomborg because he poured cold water on a lot of their pet obsessions 15 years ago and (b) don't trust the idea that "climate", like everything else on earth, has to be subject to prioirities.
And I sure as hell wouldn't want Dowse looking after my housekeeping budget!

Apr 24, 2015 at 4:40 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson, please do not confuse Global Warming Alarmists with common sense. You know full well that it is a subject outside their understanding.

In the UK we have the National Lottery, where people can choose to gamble in the hope of winning a Jackpot. The profit goes to good causes.

In the world of climate science funding, people are forced to pay, for fear of something bad, and all the profit goes to climate scientists, who maintain the fear, that something bad may happen. In climate science, this is known as a very "positive" feedback loop.

Apr 24, 2015 at 5:03 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf charlie
I'm sorry; I still keep having these bouts of sanity but I am trying to overcome them, honest.
Not all the profit goes to climate scientists. Some goes to people like Jeremy Grantham and Cameron's father-in-law.
Though I suspect my reason as to why the eco-nuts really, really hate Lomborg is pretty close to the truth.
Not so much that he was a skeptical environmentalist as that he was an optimistic one. Unalloyed pessimism has been the order of the day for them for most of my lifetime. The idea that things might not be as had as they envisaged enraged them immensely!

Apr 24, 2015 at 6:59 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

"The appointment tarnishes the reputation of the university," he told Fairfax Media.

I thought that was the university that Lewandowsky was at?
Surely the only way now can be up.

Apr 24, 2015 at 7:21 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

Mike Jackson, yes indeed!

Some Green Luvvies lost their faith in Father Christmas, until Jeremy Grantham appeared, and ever since, life in their little world has been happy, just provided they don't look outside, and do as they are told. A bit like Stalinist USSR really.

Apr 24, 2015 at 7:27 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

This reminds me, in the Hoskins/Stern - Grantham - hedge fund chain of command what is the "official" relationship?

I know the obvious sceptical one, but is there another one that allows the BBC to "do an SMH" every time these guys spout there views on air?

Could the BBC be successfully complained to for giving unchallenged airtime to the advantage of a commercial interest?

Apr 24, 2015 at 7:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

"Complained to", yes.
"Successfully", no.

Apr 24, 2015 at 7:33 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

graphicconception, how is this University supposed to beat University of East Anglia's Catastrophic Ruination Unit, if they do something sensible?

Some climate scientists had been hoping for a merger between UEA and UWA, because on paper, they looked close.

Apr 24, 2015 at 7:44 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Our climate models are WRONG: Global warming has slowed – and recent changes are down to ‘natural variability’. So that's why I lit another log fire.

Apr 24, 2015 at 8:57 PM | Registered Commenterperry

Perry, I hope you lit your fire using recycled political manifestos. It would be such a waste to bin them, when they burn so well.

It is the best way of getting free energy out of the political process.

Apr 24, 2015 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Good one, GC; Catastrophic Ruination Unit. Well, they have certainly catastrophically ruined their own unit.

Thanks Rob for Pannell. Steve McIntyre links to an old post of his.

Apr 24, 2015 at 9:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I noted at WUWT( that Matthew England, Chief Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, was given the opportunity by the Australian Science Media Centre to bag Lomborg at the end of a press conference to promote his NCC commentary. He grabbed it with both hands.

This can be listened to at the end of Main point is Lomborg is and economist, has no expertise in atmospheric physics and isn't therefore a climate scientist and therefore shouldn't be paid any mind, let along given any public money.

I doubt the irony struck England (who has as far as I know no expertise in economics or public policy) of him spending much of the question time in the briefing extolling the essential nature of some public policy response to what he believes is happening in the climate.

Thinking about it it would be good if we could all agree that climate scientists should stick to their knitting and leave the policy to those more qualified.

As an aside, as I read some of the recent papers like England's commentary and think about the problems with them, I'm increasingly taking the uncharitable view that their authors must be completely aware of their weakness but are deliberately papering over the cracks. In other words the papers are for the PR not the science.

To finish the rave I'd have to say that this is consistent with the only reasonable interpretation of Lewandowsky 's recent efforts (by way of example). Perhaps climate science should now just be regarded as a branch of marketing and journalism.

Apr 24, 2015 at 9:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterHAS

HAS, climate scientists have been left alone with their knitting for too long. They have produced a unicycle. Only this unicycle is special, as it has no saddle or pedals, and they now want credit for inventing the wheel, they were given 30 years ago. Obviously none of this was their fault, and it would have been easier if they had been given a level playing field, so that the wheel did not move everytime they let go of it.

Apr 24, 2015 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The SMH has been a ratsnest of alarmists for years. Their holding company owns half of the company that runs Earth Hour. They even had a risibly named "Carbon Economy Editor", whatever that means, for a while. This guy (Peter Hannam) is now the deputy editor and churns out non-stop propaganda along predictable lines.

They also hate the Abbott government with a passion. As I mentioned on the Lomborg thread, there are bitter culture wars underway against the government, and the SMH and its sister Fairfax publications are in the lead, alongside the ABC.

So, no surprises for this Aussie in the head post.

Apr 24, 2015 at 11:50 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Remember folks, the climate models create 40% more energy than reality. 94% is supposed to go into the oceans, the rest, 5.7 W/m^2 into the atmosphere, now supposedly into the oceans as well as 'missing heat'. None of this energy exists.

So, the IPCC claims imaginary future heating from imaginary energy. It's the science of the madhouse.

Apr 25, 2015 at 12:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Watch them destroy themselves.

The end is always the same for extremists. All that changes is how many of the rest of us they exterminate in the process.

Apr 25, 2015 at 12:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute


Obama's speech was at UQ.

Apr 25, 2015 at 12:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterDocBud

UWA is a bit of a climateer hotspot, famous for Prof Lewandowsky before he exported himself to Bristol.

At Jonova's for a long time we had two UWA climateers who used to see it their duty to oppose anyone who might trespass from the IPCC line. They were conspicuously poor at backing up their rhetoric with data and analysis, but is was quite clear they were using their uni email accounts as one was sprung by Anthony.

Apr 25, 2015 at 1:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterBruce of Newcastle


Yes, it might well be a retort to Obama. It might also be an attempt to get some sanity into the warmist side. The putrid garbage flung day in, day out by the SMH, The Guardian, The Age (SMH's equivalent in Melbourne) and the ABC (a second rate copy of the BBC).
On the other hand I note that the circulation of the SMH, The Age are dropping much faster than other newspapers.
The ABC had to claim that its audience had not dropped - "proof" being that nearly 48% listened/viewed its output for 5 minutes or more a week. ( What the figures would be without Antiques Roadshow I can't hazard a guess.)

Apr 25, 2015 at 1:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

Golf Charlie seems to be suffering the yips today- unlike professional turkeys, adjunct turkeys work for free

Apr 25, 2015 at 1:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

"They also hate the Abbott government with a passion. As I mentioned on the Lomborg thread, there are bitter culture wars underway against the government"

johanna, with Abbot's administration, the attacks it's not only those external media forces you mention is it?

The puerile mentality of the eco-nutters, as the paucity of their puny arguments falls on the mainly deaf ears of the Aussie public the greens go on the attack and in vicious tone. Prime minister Tony Abbot is in the way, for a bloke who I reckon is doing his level best, the scale and volume of the opprobrium takes your breath away.

But it is worse for Abbot, some of the attacks, the anti Abbot whispering - briefing against Abbot comes from within his own political party! A bloke who thinks he's so bloody clever and is too bloody clever for Australia's good. A pol, in the form of an oleaginous political operator and man of total corporate cronyism, he is poison and very bad news for Australia but he has some very powerful friends outside of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull is the cuckoo in the Australian Liberal party nest and with friends like Turnbull you have all the enemies you need.

Abbot like Lomborg must be feeling friendless - in Australia just like it is here in Britain the green blob have and wield political influence and power which is inconsistent with their relatively few numbers or, indeed talent and intellect. All right thinking men and women in both nations need to ponder on just why it is - that the greens command such leverage when all they have to offer is nebulous philosophy, dysfunctional energy policy, a pack of hyenas scrabbling for the guvmint $£ and which financially speaking severely damages both Aus and the UK, all of it a miasma of climate lies and obfuscation.

And yet, the greens like a bad stench in the air around a swamp - they're still around. What Abbot must do there, so we must do here in the UK - don't go after the crocs, just drain that bloody swamp and turn the public money hose off.

Apr 25, 2015 at 6:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

SMH is an alarmist propaganda machine run by people unhinged by anything whatsoever to do with our PM Tony Abbott. No surprises here.

Apr 25, 2015 at 8:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterMichael in Sydney

The hilarious think about Wills' statement "It's like appointing Brian Burke to look after your economics." is that he likely voted for Brian Burke, repeatedly.

Apr 25, 2015 at 8:31 AM | Unregistered Commenterharry

Russell 1:51 demonstrating that an absence of facts, is all that is required to lecture on climate science.

Apr 25, 2015 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

doc, you are correct and I was wrong. Obama's speech was in UQ not UWA.

The Lomborg consensus thing is pissing off Australian academics who believe in the brand value of the 97%

The mere fact that Lomborg’s franchise-style “consensus” centre is here is an indictment on the climate politics environment in Australia. The centre subverts the term “consensus”, which is otherwise famous for the 97% of climate scientists who have verified the fact of global warming.


This article is full of chuckles:

Apr 25, 2015 at 12:51 PM | Registered Commentershub

"It's like appointing Brian Burke to look after your economics."

Oh look, lefties preaching us about economics..

Not that the National SOCIALIST Adolph Hitler's economics worked out well
Or Stalin's 20M starved Ukrainians
Or Mao's smash a bird policies that killed 20M
Or Eastern European economies for 50y behind the iron curtain
Or Fidel's cuba and Chavez venezuela..

And for all those decennia, our parasiting lefty marxists were preaching at the western campus how good these economic policies were...before they converted to greeny warmism.

Apr 25, 2015 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenusNotWarmerDueToCO2

Yeah, Athelstan, Turncoat is absolutely toxic. He is the git responsible for the banning of incandescent light bulbs here when he was a Minister several years ago. And, among other epithets, he is known as the Member for Goldman Sachs (his former employer) because of his support for carbon "market mechanisms" which would offer rich ticket-clipping opportunities to his banker buddies.

The politics of environmental issues are very difficult for any Western leader to manage, short of giving in to all the demands of the insatiable green movement. The political parties, schools, universities, public service - all the major institutions have been infiltrated by activists who never let up.

Apr 25, 2015 at 1:19 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

From shub's link, here's what one green advocate/uni bod' thought, can you feel the pain?

Mike Swinbourne

logged in via Facebook

Not only do I not have any sympathy for Lomborg, I have nothing but absolute contempt and disgust for our government in the way they have done this. Another idiotic captain's call from the worst national leader in the history of this country.

To give money away like this - after crying poor and defunding many independent advisories bodies - is hypocrisy of the highest order. Bastards. Just..... bastards

Oh dear, someone is upset sounds like someone's cushy government stipend has been blocked, alack "the BASTARDS" - how those sucking at the taxpayers teat cry foul and with their bustiers and petticoats all in a twist.

See the left wing and green blob squealing!

How very amusing it all is, I wonder how many private sector businessmen have complained, in fact has any sane voter not funded via the government shilling - called out Abbot for reining back the green lunacy - I'll hazard a guess - nary a one!

Apr 25, 2015 at 1:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.


"Adjunct," w.r.t. professorships, simply means "not on a tenure-track," or better "part-time." Not uncommon for the vast majority of undergrad teachers to be adjuncts.


Apr 25, 2015 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

Athelstan the green/left always squeal, when they don't get what they have decided they are entitled to, all paid for by other people's hard work.

The other people, who do the work, have to be described as greedy, because they have to be forced, to pay for others lifestyles.

Obviously the green/left could work, but it would interfere with their chosen lifestyle, lecturing other people. Besides, what better way to prepare for political office?

Apr 25, 2015 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Why doesn't Ray Willis just resign from the University, to show his utter disgust? That's what any sensible person would do, isn't it?

Apr 25, 2015 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoobeedoo

"It"s a bit like appointing Brian Burke"

I expect the SMH was thrilled when Tim Flannery was appointed, knowing that his expertise would allow Oz to concentrate its resources where they were needed most, expensive climate science approved projects.

Fortunately the majority of Australians have longer memories, than the SMH

Apr 25, 2015 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"their chosen lifestyle, lecturing other people. Besides, what better way to prepare for political office?"

in one gc.

Apr 25, 2015 at 7:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

For readers not full on with the arcaniae of Australian politics, Brian Burke was a Western Australian State Premier of the Labor persuasion. He was subsequently found to be involved in various financial scams relating to his mates. It's a long story.

Hence harry's very apposite comment above - that those who now compare Lomborg's supporters to Burke's probably voted for Burke.

As has been discussed on other threads, the so-called "left" picks up and discards history as required.

Apr 25, 2015 at 7:51 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

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