The big guns of the mainstream media can be relied on to spread climate Armageddon fear based on the latest ‘scientists say’ modelled fantasies, but elite billionaire funders are taking care to spread the word across all communications in the public square. With steadily falling advertising revenue, the U.K. local press is in the firing line with targeted stories pushing the collectivist green agenda available free of charge. A new start-up called the Local Storytelling Exchange (LSE) aims to use “community engagement” to shape a collective narrative of support for a green transition. Local stories are “amplified” and placed across national, regional and local print, radio, TV and digital media. It will perhaps not be a great surprise to learn that this operation is another string to the bow of Extinction Rebellion paymaster Sir Christopher Hohn, and his funding through the European Climate Foundation.
There is a vast amount of money available from a few billionaires to curate a climate catastrophe agenda and promote global Net Zero. It buys influence and power within large sectors of the media, politics and academia. The Daily Sceptic has investigated numerous bodies receiving large sums of money from a small number of elite billionaires. The LSE promotes itself as a tiny start-up, but it names six team members with considerable past media experience. A recent job advertisement to expand coverage in the South East offered a 12-month contract for a “global witness” of £64,000 per annum, or £38,400 for a three-day week. Needless to say, all of these operations would cease to exist without elite billionaire backing. Sir Christopher Hohn, alone, is estimated to pour £200 million a year into various bodies influencing journalists, politicians and academics.
The LSE has also attracted backing from the Sainsbury Family Trust and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. The latter operation attracted some publicity in 2020 when it gave a €1 million “humanity” prize to the Swedish climate hysteric Greta Thunberg.
The LSE money helps pay for “experienced journalists” to “collaborate with local and regional media to tell engaging and inspiring tales of action”. Spoon-feeding this type of copy into local media is obviously intended to build local and national support for Net Zero measures. “By placing the stories and spokespeople from our regions into national news we help to show how the stories of the transition are normal and everyday,” notes the LSE. The stories are said to direct attention towards the benefits of a fairer transition, “whether that is lowering fuel bills thanks to community heat pump initiatives, or building a legacy for the next generation by returning farmland to woodland”. Quite what the benefits of being colder and hungrier are is not immediately apparent from this statement.
From cycling GPs and eco churches to the miner’s son running the world’s largest offshore wind farm, our diverse and powerful stories highlight the people behind the green transition, says LSE. At its website it lists six examples of “our stories” that have appeared in local media. But the true source of these stories does not appear to be shared with the local readers of the publications. All six articles are by-lined with a staff reporter.
Targeting local audiences is an obvious growth area for climate alarmists seeking to promote the collectivist Net Zero economic and societal reset. The Cornish coastal town of Bude has been given £2 million from the National Lottery for a Bude Climate Partnership programme, in addition to £3 million from the U.K. Government to look at how it can “adapt” to a changing climate. That amount of money can obviously buy a lot of fearmongering, and when there is climate alarmism to be spread, the state-dependent BBC is never far from the frontline.
In a recent article, the BBC said Bude faced an “imminent threat” due to rising sea levels. Images produced by the U.K. Environment Agency for Crooklets Beach show cafes and the car park under water in about 30-years’ time. According to investigative journalist Paul Homewood, this silly make believe was ultimately based on computer models fed with an implausible temperature rise up to 4°C within 80 years. The scare-mongering from the BBC was all based on a rise in sea levels between 2020 and 2060 of 9.75 mm a year. Notes Homewood, the actual sea levels have been rising in the area by just 1.94 mm a year, with no acceleration throughout the record. The areas said to be at risk of flooding are observed to be a good metre or so above sea level.
Local flooding is an easy and lazy climate scare to produce. U.S.-based Climate Central is backed by substantial billionaire money and targets local media with ready-to-publish climate change material highlighting local landmarks allegedly due to disappear beneath the waves. In the past, the Wiltshire Times reported that the flood water would lap the steps of Gloucester Cathedral, sited at an elevation of 19 metres. The Dorset Echo, meanwhile, informed its readers that the waters would soon be lapping around the village of Lytchett Minster, a mere 17 metres above sea level.
Climate Central draws support from numerous wealthy funders including Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, and the green investor Jeremy Grantham. Through a Climate Matters offshoot it also targets American local weather broadcasters. As a result, there is said to be “a coast-to-coast network of TV weathercasters who believe that educating their audience about global warming is as crucial as telling them when to bring an umbrella”. Kaitlyn McGrath, a meteorologist at WUSA9, notes that to a lot of her viewers, “it’s lost on them how much Climate [Matters] really is doing”.
Around the world, elite money is helping curate journalists to insert climate alarmism copy into their published work. In just a couple of years, the Oxford Climate Journalism Network, drawing past support from the European Climate Foundation, has tried to encourage 400 journalists to raise their alarmist game. To “hit closer to home”, the course directors tell participants to pick a fruit such as a mango and discuss why it wasn’t as tasty as the year before due to the impact of climate change. Past speakers include the geography lecturer Saffron O’Neill, who is on record as speculating on the need for “fines and imprisonment” for expressing scepticism about “well supported” science.
She made these comments in the activist blog Carbon Brief, an operation that is funded by – well blow me down with a feather – the European Climate Foundation.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.