Stewart Franks

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Stewart Franks
Quote: "[The IPCC] It is actually run by a very small group of about six to eight leading members of the IPCC who all agree that scaring people about climate change is very good for their careers." Stewart Franks, 2009, talking to a Parliamentary Committee on Climate Policy in Australia.

Learn more from the Center for Media and Democracy's research on climate change.

This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Coal barons
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Stewart William Franks is a professor of engineering at the University of Tasmania, Australia. He is a global warming sceptic and denier who regularly appears on television and radio to put the sceptics' and denialists' case. Franks is a hydrologist, not a climatologist, although he likes to style himself as a "hydro-climatologist" because, as he himself says, "nobody knows what that is".[1]

Franks is a "proud member" of a right-wing, corporate funded think tank called the Institute for Public Affairs.

Coal industry funding

Despite repeatedly denying[2] that he has received any funding from polluting industries, Franks in fact received AU $85,000 in 2006/7 from Macquarie Generation, a state-owned corporation selling electricity on the National Electricity Market in Australia and one of the largest CO2 emitters in Australia. This corporation operates two of the largest coal-powered stations in New South Wales (consuming a combined total of 13 million tonnes of CO2 producing coal per annum) and is part of the national energy industry.

On at least two occasions, in a major newspaper[3] and on national TV,[4] he denied receiving any funding from polluting industries, despite receiving money from Macquarie Generation.

He was forced to admit this funding when questioned by a parliamentary committee, but immediately claimed the money went to a "student" and not himself.[5]

Climate change denial

Franks uses the familiar arguments of the denialist camp:

  • Climate change is due to La Niña and El Niño, not CO2
  • We cannot be sure the warming will be dangerous, so we should do nothing
  • We need to know more about planetary albedo and how it changes before we can take any action on CO2
  • The computer models used by climate scientists are abused by them for their own ends. "They just plug the gaps to give them results that they want. That is that CO2 is bad for the planet—according to the models, not according to the observations thus far."[5]
  • There is insufficient data on climate change and CO2 to establish any cause and effect
  • Many climate scientists have not tested the hypothesis of CO2-induced global warming and are only going along with the majority opinion to further their careers
  • Action on climate change should be delayed because it may lead to more expensive energy for developing nations, which will impact on global poverty
  • Australia has always had climate extremes and reducing CO2 will make no difference to that, and people have been brainwashed into believing it will.

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  2. Stewart Franks quite frankly puzzles. Blogspot (2009). Retrieved on 2011-04-09.
  3. Matthew Warren (March 2007). Rebels of the sun. News Corp. Retrieved on 2011-04-28.
  4. Channel 7, Weekend Sunrise show, 13 February 2011
  5. 5.0 5.1 SELECT COMMITTEE ON CLIMATE POLICY - 15/04/2009 - Emissions trading and reducing carbon pollution. Australian Government (2009). Retrieved on 2011-04-09.

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