This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
The Galileo Movement is a a climate denier lobby group set up to oppose carbon pricing, based in Australia. On its website the group states that "our objective is to expose misrepresentations pushing a 'price on carbon dioxide'." In August 2011, the Scientific American magazine openly derided the group, describing it as "drawing from a deep history of denial and distortion" and relying on irrelevant facts while omitting pertinent ones.
Founded ostensibly by retirees John Smeed, an engineer, and Case Smit, a hygienist, the group launched its website in May, 2011. The group's patron is conservative Australian broadcaster Alan Jones.
The group blames global warming on anything but man-made emissions: variations in solar radiation, ocean-atmosphere oscillations, deviations in the Earth's orbit, and mountain-building continental drift and associated volcanic eruptions -- all dismissed by mainstream science. It warns of "climate police" having the right to intrude into people's lives in Australia, and suggests that the global warming "movement" has parallels with Hitler, Stalin and Mao who convinced their people to murder their fellow countrymen. Its "panel of experts" include News Ltd blogger Andrew Bolt, denier blogger Jo Nova, and prominent deniers William Kininmonth, Bob Carter, Ian Plimer, David Flint, and Christopher Monckton.
Sources of funding are unknown, although Smeed and Smit claim to be funding the Movement themselves. Smeed and Smit organised and underwrote the 2010 Australian tour of climate sceptic, Christopher Monckton, forking out the $115,000 cost.
However, the month before Smit told the Noosa News that Gina Rinehart, the Chairman of Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd (HPPL) and its coal subsidiary Hancock Coal, had agreed to fund part of the costs of a tour to Australia of climate sceptic Christopher Monckton. Smit, one of the tour organisers, said that they wrote to Rinehart when the organiser of the Perth leg of the tour could no longer help out. Smit said that "She said, ‘I’ll get my office to organise it’. So Gina Rinehart’s office is the contact for the Perth event."
The Galileo Movement's primary aim is to oppose any price on carbon dioxide emissions, or any carbon tax or carbon trading scheme in Australia.
In December 2011, the Galileo Movement bought 300 copies of Ian Plimer's controversial denialist book, How To Get Expelled From School - A guide to climate change for pupils, parents and punters and offered them to Australian schools for free. Case Smit stated that any fair-minded school should be open to hearing "both sides of the argument".
On its website the Galileo Movement states that its "independent advisers" include:
- Professor Tim Ball
- Warwick Hughes
- Fred Singer
- Richard Lindzen
- William Kininmonth
- Bob Carter
- Ian Plimer
- David Archibald
- Peter Ridd
- Garth Paltridge
- Vincent Gray
- Jennifer Marohasy
- Jo Nova
- Des Moore
- John Nicol
- David Flint
- Andrew Bolt
- John McLean
- David Evans
- Christopher Monckton
Phone: 1300 766 715
Articles and resources
- The Galileo Movement "The Galileo Movement", Galileo Movement organizational website, accessed May, 2011
- Fischer, Douglas (2011 [last update]). 'Galileo Movement' Fuels Climate Change Divide in Australia: Scientific American. scientificamerican.com. Retrieved on 17 August 2011.
- Fischer, Douglas (2011 [last update]). Why Carbon Dioxide Is a Greenhouse Gas: Scientific American. scientificamerican.com. Retrieved on 17 August 2011.
- Galileo Movement "Patron", Galileo Movement website, accessed May, 2011
- Giles Parkinson & Sophie Vorrath Green Deals: Solar strikes back, Climate Spectator, blog, May 19, 2011
- "Abbott meets lord of the climate sceptics", Courier Mail, February 03, 2010. The story states that "The $115,000 cost has been picked up by two retirees, scientist Case Smit and engineer John Smeed". (This is an AAP story).
- Owen Jacques, "Billionaire backs Monckton tour", Noosa News, January 26th, 2010.
- Gardiner, Peter (2011 [last update]). Geologist's climate call challenge | Sunshine Coast Environment | Environmental News in Sunshine Coast | Sunshine Coast Daily. sunshinecoastdaily.com.au. Retrieved on December 22, 2011.
- "Malcolm Roberts's declaration of interests", Conscious.com.au (Blog), May 17, 2011.
- Galileo Movement, "Independent Advisers", Galileo Movement website, accessed May 2011.
Related SourceWatch articles
- Bob Beale, "You are just plain wrong about climate change, Mr Jones", Sydney Morning Herald, June 1, 2011.
- Ian Enting "How climate science deniers spread doubt for political ends" Climate Progress Jul 4, 2011