Graham Readfearn

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Graham Readfearn is an independent journalist based in Queensland, Australia, with 20 years experience as a reporter and writer on newspapers, magazines, radio and online.

In Australia, Graham's features, stories and commentary on climate change and sustainability issues have been published on The Guardian, G Magazine, ABC Environment, The Drum and Crikey.

In his native UK, Graham worked on daily regional newspapers for five years at The Gazette in Blackpool and The Yorkshire Post in Leeds. His campaigns highlighted major malpractices at a chemical reprocessing factory and helped secure better payments for war pensioners.

A long-running campaign to increase the levels of physical education in UK schools was quoted in British Parliament and won him the regional sports writer of the year award from Britain’s Sports Writers’ Association.

He moved to London and the BBC’s national 24-hour news and sport radio network FiveLive to work as a broadcast journalist, script writer and producer.

During two years there, he was part of the team producing the live rolling coverage of the New York September 11 attacks and was studio producer as news broke of an IRA bomb in London’s Ealing suburb. In the wake of British race riots, he conceived and co-produced a live three-hour programme on multicultural issues from Europe's largest Indian curry restaurant.

After a career-break to travel the world he returned to the UK as a freelance feature writer covering social affairs, youth issues, regeneration, social enterprise and sustainability for national magazines and newspapers.

After moving to Australia in 2005, he was a feature writer for Queensland's main daily newspaper, The Courier-Mail, where he launched his first environment blog, GreenBlog, writing more than 650 posts and moderating in excess of 14,000 comments.

He likes chickens (he's got six), his kids (he's got two), his wife (just the one), coffee and other things - although not necessarily in that order.

Graham writes the Planet Oz blog on The Guardian and occasionally blogs at www.readfearn.com

Denialist Blogger Anthony Watts Posts Error Strewn “Aerial Survey” of Climate Scientists’ Homes

Climate science denialist blogger Anthony Watts was sure he had a gotcha moment with some of his most hated figures caught red-handed.

Mysteriously popular blogger Watts had wondered how many vocal climate scientists “practice what they preach” when it comes to how they power their homes.

So Watts carried out what he described as an “aerial survey” but what others might call “looking at maps on Google” to look on the roofs of famous climate scientists to see if they had solar panels.

Watts was reacting to research finding that Americans were more likely to follow advice on cutting fossil fuel energy use from climate scientists who had also taken personal steps to decarbonize.

Imagine Watts’ delight to find the homes of celebrated scientists like Professor Michael Mann, Dr Jonathan Overpeck and Dr Kevin Trenberth, all bereft of photovoltaic panels. What hypocrites, right?

So Watts wrote a blog post with photos of the scientists' homes and then published it. What followed was a comedy of errors and corrections - a true car crash of climate science denial bloggery.

Were Historical Pictures of Great Barrier Reef Degradation Really Misused, as The Australian Newspaper Claimed?

The Australian published a convoluted story recently about the Great Barrier Reef and the claims of a scientist over some old pictures.

I've written a few stories about the reef recently - including this piece looking at a recent dodgy editorial in The Australian. But anyway, over the weekend The Australian published a story about Professor Peter Ridd, of James Cook University, who had apparently been disciplined for criticising colleagues and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) for using some old pictures of reef near Stone Island to show how coral cover had declined over time.

Conservative Funders of Climate Denial Are Quietly Spending Millions To Generate More Partisan Journalism

Millions of dollars have been pouring into conservative media outlets and student journalism projects from the same groups funding climate science denial, a DeSmog analysis has found.

Analysis of IRS tax filings shows the funding groups, including some linked to the oil billionaire Koch brothers, are trying to combat a perceived left-wing bias in media with cash to ideologically-aligned projects.

Many of the funded journalism projects also produce stories that claim human-caused climate change is either a liberal hoax or that policies to mitigate it, such as promotion of renewable energy, are an unnecessary drag on the economy.

DeSmog found that two linked funds — Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund — have been a key source of cash for organisations attacking climate science and opposing policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The Australian Newspaper Misrepresents Science In Great Barrier Reef Bleaching Editorial, Says Scientist It Quoted

Almost a quarter of corals on the iconic Great Barrier Reef have died because of record ocean temperatures driven by global warming.

Those are the bare facts, according to the Australian Government’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).

The coral bleaching that swept across the reef system this Australia summer, hitting hardest the most pristine northern section, affected 93 per cent of individual reefs along its 2300 kilometre stretch (1430 miles).

Scientists have pointed out how those corals that survived the bleaching will be weakened and, to recover, they will need all the help they can get. That means big reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and local pollution.

The news has swept across the globe.  Pretty much every major media outlet in the world has told its viewers and readers about the bleaching and shown them the spectacular and confronting images of bleached white coral. Now, the images show dead coral.

Introducing America Rising Squared, U.S. Republicans' "Creepy" New Assault on Climate Action

In a video posted to Vine, respected author and climate change campaigner Bill McKibben turns for just a second or two to eyeball the person holding the camera, before turning his gaze back to the front of the room. There is no context to the video.  Nothing is said.

In another video taken in Australia, McKibben is shown speaking to an audience, but the context is again removed.  His words are replaced with music.

To most people chancing upon the videos, the two clips would seem incongruous and pointless.

But the Vine channel belongs to CoreNews.org — a website that is the public facing arm of a new politically-motivated attack on environmentalists and climate change campaigners operated by well connected political advisers and researchers.

Lasting only a few seconds, the videos were an attempt to put a shot across the bows of McKibben and his supporters, of which there are many. A promise made weeks earlier by Republican Party activists to follow him around with a video camera — wherever he might go — had apparently begun.

The videos were taken by so-called “trackers” working for America Rising Squared (AR2), an operation that has sprung from the new wave of attacks on climate activists that has become a mainstay of the US political machinery.

Richard Branson's Virgin Group Gives Platform to Climate Science Denier James Delingpole on Official Podcast

When is it OK to invite a known climate science denialist with extremist views onto your show – especially if that show happens to be part of the corporate outreach for one of the world’s most recognisable brands?

Well, firstly, you’d want to know something about climate change, or have an actual expert or two on hand.

If that person has a record of being wrong, then it might also be a good idea to point out to your listeners that most of the statements by your guest could be wrong, irrelevant or confused. 

Alternatively, get a proper expert on the show and ignore the pleas of the fringe calling for “balance”. Failure to do this could risk confusing your listeners and exposing them to misinformation.

Unfortunately, this is not a hypothetical situation. As I’ve written on The Guardian, this week global brand Virgin Group — home to some 60 companies with annual revenue of about $24 billion — released its latest Virgin podcast.

"You Have Been Fooled": AGU Reopens Exxon Sponsorship Review After Stinging Letter From Sen. Whitehouse and Rep. Lieu

The world’s biggest earth sciences organization has agreed to reconsider its decision to retain cash sponsorship ties to oil giant ExxonMobil after being told it had been “fooled” in a stinging letter from two members of Congress.

In the letter, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representative Ted Lieu, both Democrats, told the American Geophysical Union (AGU): “You have been fooled.  Whatever position AGU chooses to take, you should not take it based on self-serving representations by ExxonMobil.”

Last month, AGU announced its board had voted to continue a relationship with ExxonMobil.  Now that decision is under review.

Marc Morano's Climate Hustle Movie "Amateurish" and "Not Very Watchable" Says Filmmaker

So here’s a few quotes Marc Morano likely won’t be including on posters to promote his climate science denying “documentary” Climate Hustle.
 
“It’s not in the same class as Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth.”
 
“This is a very amateurish film.”
 
“Not very watchable.”
 
“Not good film making.”
 
All these quotes come from Los Angeles-based filmmaker, author and communications consultant Randy Olson — one of the few people to have seen the film who doesn’t think climate change science is a global scam.

Bill Nye the Science Guy Takes On Climate Denialist Joe Bastardi the ‘Goebbels’ Guy

You might have heard that quote from outspoken American author Upton Sinclair, who once wrote: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
 
The quote is often used to illustrate how people’s allegiances can sometimes gum up their cognitive ability or just cause them to ignore truths inconvenient to their cause, or their customer’s cause.
 
TV presenter and science advocate Bill Nye “the Science Guy” dusted off Sinclair’s 1935 quote in a new video, in which he challenged climate science denialist and weatherman Joe Bastardi to two $10,000 bets. Nye bet Bastardi, a regular guest on conservative media, that 2016 would be one of the top ten hottest years on record. 
 
He also bet Bastardi that the current decade would the hottest on record (Nye was responding to this November 2015 from Bastardi, published in the Patriot Post).

Scientists Asked to Boycott Major Conference After AGU Votes to Retain ExxonMobil Ties

Scientists are being asked to boycott the next major meeting of the world’s biggest earth sciences organisation after it voted to retain relationships with ExxonMobil.
 
The American Geophysical Union last week rejected calls from members to break ties with ExxonMobil over the oil giant’s history of funding and supporting climate science misinformation.
 
AGU members have been voicing their dismay at the decision, which ignored the concerns of more than 200 scientists, many of them AGU members, calling for the relationship to end.
 
AGU’s board said it would accept sponsorship from ExxonMobil for a breakfast event at its Fall Meeting in December – an event the oil company had previously sponsored.
 
But Professor Charles Greene, of Cornell University, told DeSmog: “This is far from over. There can be little doubt that this will lead to the biggest shake up in AGU’s history. There is a lot more at stake here than $35,000 for a graduate student breakfast.”

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