Sunday, March 8, 2015

Anthony Watts, CFACT and the Cornwall Alliance

Sou | 4:33 PM Go to the first of 16 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts allows his anti-science blog to be used to promote wacky conspiracy theories about climate science, One World Government, New World Order and other weird stuff. He also posts articles by CFACT and the Cornwall Alliance. These two organisations have linkages as described in an article at ThinkProgress back in 2010. There was an article at WUWT a while back in which CFACT was promoting the Cornwall Alliance.

I'm not suggesting that Anthony Watts is part of the Cornwall Alliance or CFACT. He claims to be Catholic and I doubt the Catholic Church would have a bar of the Cornwall Alliance. He is obviously sympathetic to the politics of CFACT and the Cornwall Alliance or he wouldn't be publishing their nonsense.

CFACT and the Cornwall Alliance

The Cornwall Alliance poses as a pseudo-religious group, targeting real religious organisations. It appears to promote a strange "belief" that humans can wreak havoc with the environment and their god will protect it, but if they upset the economy their god won't protect them.

CFACT is a right wing lobby group that operates from a PO Box in Washington DC. Its about page states it was founded by David Rothbard and Craig Rucker. David Rothbard has been described as "a driving force behind the Cornwall Declaration".  On the Cornwall Alliance website, there is an article by David Rothbard and Craig Rucker, in which they state that CFACT actively participated in the development of the Cornwall Alliance Declaration on Environmental Stewardship. That "declaration" is a thinly disguised political statement arguing that government shouldn't regulate to protect the environment. For example:
...We aspire to a world in which liberty as a condition of moral action is preferred over government-initiated management of the environment as a means to common goals....
...We aspire to a world in which widespread economic freedom—which is integral to private, market economies— makes sound ecological stewardship available to ever greater numbers.

Contrary to its pretended aims, CFACT does not support protection of the environment. Its policy officer argues against environmental regulations.

Right wing lobby groups and front organisations

Today at WUWT, Paul Driessen, has another article protesting the requests for funding provided by various interests in relation to climate and climate science. So I thought it might be interesting to see how CFACT itself gets its money.

According to the US Secretary of State Charity Program page, CFACT contracts ClearWord Communications Group, Inc. as its fund-raiser. This fundraising organisation is listed on the SOS Charity Program website as raising funds for the following groups and right wing front organisations, many of which are connected in one way or another. (Check the links).

You might argue that the fact this fundraising organisation predominately raises money for right wing lobby groups and front organisations is merely market specialisation. It was the commonalities between many of these organisations that I found illuminating.

CFACT cares for small government at the expense of the environment

The CFACT "about" page is full of contradictions:
In 1985, the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) was founded to promote a positive voice on environment and development issues. Its co-founders, David Rothbard and Craig Rucker, believed very strongly that the power of the market combined with the applications of safe technologies could offer humanity practical solutions to many of the world’s pressing concerns.
It states some laudable aims:
At the heart of CFACT, our goal is to enhance the fruitfulness of the earth and all of its inhabitants. CFACT accomplishes this through four main strategies:
  1. Prospering Lives. CFACT works to help people find better ways to provide for food, water, energy and other essential human services.
  2. Promoting Progress. CFACT advocates the use of safe, affordable technologies and the pursuit of economic policies that reduce pollution and waste, and maximize the use of resources.
  3. Protecting the Earth. CFACT helps protect the earth through wise stewardship of the land and its wildlife.
  4. Providing Education. CFACT educates various sectors of the public about important facts and practical solutions regarding environmental concerns. 

What are the pressing concerns and what does it "believe" about them. The "issues" are also listed on the CFACT "about" page, and range from air quality to waste management and from childhood obesity to "chlorine" and malaria.

Their concerns includes climate change and air quality and water quality. Yet if you read what their policy officer Paul Driessen has written, rather than have a concern to have clean air, CFACT advocates to bring back smog.

Rather than advocate to mitigate climate change, CFACT spreads disinformation.

It seems clear that the real agenda of CFACT is small government bordering on anarchy. Of all the "issues" it purports to have a position on, the one common element is anti-regulation. This is in keeping with the part of its "about" page where it talks about the "power of the market". It is in contradiction to its "about" page where it claims to "promote a positive voice on environment and development issues". Almost every article is negative, not positive.

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  1. Well researched and written Sou.

    Leaving politics aside for the moment, Planet Reality has a religious foil for Cornwall Alliance and CFACT and Jim Inofe's fellow travellers and her name is Katharine Hayhoe. She's a brilliant communicator, a solid scientist who's authored more papers than I can count and is an evangelical christian.
    Katherine (Rock Star) Hayhoe should become the scientific front-person on all the Sunday shows, and cable news. As much as we all love Bill Nye, America is not only deeply religious it has a large fundamentalist observance, and that reality must be dealt with.
    It would be a big sacrifice for Hayhoe and she may have to take leave from Texas Tech but I think she can make a significant dent
    in religion-based denial.
    Needless to say she would require a grant if she took on this onerous duty.

    1. So half delusional is better than totally delusional? This statement is symmetric as the evangelicals will mistrust her science and we atheists wonder about her rationality and judgment by her believing in unsubstantiated fairy tales.
      We all suffer from cognitive dissonance to a certain degree. Consider the wife beater who does it because he loves her! But what you are proposing is that I start to believe in her delusional religious claptrap because she can talk about the science rationally.
      This is what you are asking her fellow religious people to do. It will not work for me and it will not work for them.
      There is only one answer. A decent education that equips people to analyse all the available evidence.
      Otherwise it is like teaching Quantum Mechanics to my dog! bert

    2. So half delusional is better than totally delusional?

      Yes. Absobloodylutely Bert!

      Bert you misunderstand America's attitude to religion and that's OK because you live in a country where 3 of the last 7 prime ministers were atheists and nobody gave a shit. American religiosity is radically different.

      That a member of congress let alone a member of the executive could be an announced atheist and get elected is utterly preposterous.

      Ex Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell used to do highly attended speaking tours of the US to reinforce the Inhofeian dogma that AGW was a hoax.
      In 2011 the appalling Pell delivered the second annual address to the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Two years later Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis. A year later he acknowledged AGW without any caveats. I guarantee to you Bert that we will not hear another word from Pell on the subject.

      In the US however, the prelates are in revolt against science. Ratbags like Cardinals Burke and Dolan and Bishop Cordileone are in the vanguard of that revolt and there is little push back from their congregations.

      Bert, Catholicism is the least of America’s AGW policy problem but it’s a useful illustration of the effectiveness of cultivating (at the very least) a half delusional society.

      In 2010, at a soccer selection event at my son’s Jesuit school, I met a bloke from NYC who had just become CEO of Risk at a major Australian bank. He was impressive. He supported the Fed’s QE, TARP (why wouldn’t he?) and (with reservations), Obama’s Stim. He was Keynesian-Light.

      Any lengthy conversation I have inevitably touches on AGW. This CEO of Risk said he was not bothered because I checked my bible and god’s got that covered

      Bert, there is a very good chance that that Risk exec no longer thinks that god’s got that covered because his Pope would like him not to think that.

      Heyhoe does not argue like you or me and that’s why she has to be the American face and voice of science. She understands the roots of religious denilaism that is best explained to we atheists by that brilliant musical The Book of Morman.

      Turn It Off

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. That Book of Mormon link is broken.
      Try this

    5. !Can you tell me. Do you argue with two year olds? They do not have any knowledge or experience,
      As for Catholic Cardinals they are just upset that their willies do not rise in glorious unction anymore. To the sight of young naked boys.
      I had a different problem with a Christian Brother. He picked on me while no one was around and I beat the shit out of him. He started the violence. Poor sad twit he did not know I grew up in Collingwood!

    6. Bert your experience re religious orders does not inform this discussion.

      Science needs to influence policy because policy is woefully inadequate and science can only do that by bringing the fundos along with it.

      It's no use holding debates between Bill Nye and Ken Ham or slagging off religion when most of the US population perceives religion as more real than daylight.

      There has recently been a breakthrough in US public affairs TV climate coverage
      and Hayhoe,
      the christian voice of science,
      on TV screens,
      all of the time
      available at the drop of a hat,
      to place climate policy in a christian perspective will improve policy.

      Shit of a job though.

    7. You are quite correct the USA is doomed to mediocrity for a very large part and it is driven by their endemic apathy. A bit like AUS!
      I have been there for my work in a previous life. I used to go to Chicago to the biggest Synchrotron on the planet. They were so sure they had the best. I pointed out they were totally wrong. Brute force was not a panacea for excellence . After four years of pointing out their errors. They finally built a beam line to my specifications. Needless to say it worked.
      All that works is science. We do not need a sky god for our morality.
      I would believe Christians if they were a bit more like JC . He tolerated the poor and prostitutes.
      He could turn water into wine. What is there not to like? bert

  2. Hmmmm... Any news about when God is going to get his finger out and stop climate change? Does the divine plan involve turning pollutocrats into pillars of salt?

    1. Cut him some slack will you Millicenent? God's flat out dealing with family issues. His half-brother Trevor has been hitting the piss again.

  3. it can be fun to ask for a real world practical example of how free markets with minimal government regulation have ever acted to protect of improve the environment.

    In fact the difficulty is finding any past case where an industrial product was found to be harming the environment, or even people directly, (Lead Asbestos, SOx tobbaco DTT, CFCs...) where the required reductions was not directly opposed by free market forces.
    Some of the hard line libertarian dogmatists will claim that regulating such things is bad even if the result is increased death and disease.

    1. And they will claim it doesn't need to be regulated because it's really not that bad for you.

    2. It only hurts when you get your thumbs between the bricks!

    3. The old camel jokes are the best, Bert :-)

  4. So, where is CFACT's main office located? Sodom or Gomorrah?

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.


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