The Lavoisier Group
In Australia the Lavoisier Group was formed in 2000 to cast doubt on global warming theory and oppose measures being taken to prevent global warming.
The group claims climate change is the "greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the Australian public" and, according to its treasurer, Harold Clough, agreeing to the Kyoto Protocol could result in consequences such as "total power blackouts three dys a week" or "closing down all agriculture".
Its membership includes some high profile businessmen (many from mining giant Western Mining/WMC) and politicians:
- president, Hugh Morgan, former CEO of Western Mining and former president of the Business Council of Australia (BCA),
- past president, Peter Walsh, former Labor minister for finance 1984-90,
- vice-president, Ian Webber, a former WMC director and Managing Director of Chrysler/Mitsubishi Australia
- secretary, Ray Evans (pictured), former executive officer of WMC
- treasurer, Harold Clough, a board member of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and a director of Clough Ltd, an engineering and construction company servicing the mining industry, and
- “ex-ALP and Liberal powerbrokers” Gary Gray and Tony Staley.
Other leading supporters of Lavoisier include Arvi Parbo, formerly managing director of Western Mining and chair of Alcoa of Australia and BHP.
Ray Evans' paper for the Group entitled ‘Nine Lies about Global Warming’ starts with ‘1. Carbon dioxide is a pollutant.’ The paper was circulated by one of John Howard's cabinet ministers to everyone in the South Austrlaian Liberal Party state executive.
Evans describes the groups membership 'as a "dad's army" of mostly retired engineers and scientists from the mining, manufacturing and construction industries'.
The Lavoisier Group shares the same post box number and phone number as the Bennelong Society, formed to opppose Aboriginal land rights, and the anti-union HR Nichols Society. Morgan and Evans from WMC played a major role in the establishment of all three front groups and Evans is president of the Bennelong Society.
The Lavoisier Group has a small budget and major companies are reluctant to openly donate money to such an extreme group, however they fund the climate denial scientists (through fellowships, travel costs, and projects) whom the Group draw upon.
Patrick Hodder, concluded in his honours research 'that the arguments of the Lavoisier Group, and the way they have been replayed in certain sections of the media, has been useful in allowing the [Howard] Government to retain a skeptical position on climate change over the past decade and still appear prudent and mainstream'.