Flat White

Climate warriors, heroes and idiots

9 September 2021

4:01 PM

9 September 2021

4:01 PM

Former Wallaby great David Pocock was interviewed on ABC Radio National by Fran Kelly last week. He was invited onto RN Breakfast to promote his new initiative in the ‘battle against climate change’, a website,  The Cool Down. He is appealing  for sportspeople to add their name in support of putting pressure on the Australian government to adopt a 2050 net zero emissions policy. Pocock thinks government should listen if sports greats speak out, in the mode of those Hollywood types who believe that if film stars and others in entertainment add their voices to various issues governments will be forced to obey. 

The late, great George Bernard Shaw saw through this about 100 years ago when he wrote to T E Lawrence “Like all heroes, and I must add, all idiots, you greatly exaggerate your power of molding the universe around your personal convictions.” Is Pocock some modern-day Lawrence of Arabia and if so, are there any idiots? 

Pocock has long been an ‘environmental warrior’ and proudly wears his activism — including arrests for breaking the law in pursuit of his convictions — as a badge of honour. There is no questioning that he genuinely believes what he says. However, when asked by Kelly why sportspeople should speak out, Pocock stated “when it comes to action on climate change, we (meaning Australia) are ranked last – dead last”. Well, that is what climate alarmists would say and Kelly, ever sympathetic to the alarmist cause, never questioned Pocock on his facts. 

For an alarmist to be wrong with the facts on climate change is nothing new. The IPCC reports over the years have similarly been wrong – dead wrong — whether they are talking about the Himalayas being devoid of snow, polar bears being threatened with extinction or global temperature rising in accordance with the ‘hockey stick’ theory.

Alarmists generally are not so interested in the facts as having fellow travelers and as George Bernard Shaw says, molding the universe around their personal convictions. 

Which is what Pocock wants to do. Pocock’s new initiative The Cool Down already has the signatures of more than 250 eminent sports identities who are willing to lend their name and reputation to Pocock’s personal convictions on climate change. I wonder if these are ‘the idiots’ George Bernard Shaw imagines? 

The Cool Down website is very simple and any idiot could traverse it. There is the list of those sports people who have signed on and it is truly replete with high achievers in Australian sport. There are some interesting bedfellows. From what I know of them, I struggle to imagine Peter Fitzsimons and Ian Chappell being together on much at all. Fitzsimons would probably attach his name to anything if there was an audience or a group that reflected glory. Conversely, Chappell has always given the impression he is nobody’s fool. But there they are together both signing up in support of Pocock’s cause. 

It doesn’t cost anything to enlist in The Cool Down which brings to mind my mother’s advice that one cannot expect value where there is no cost. Enlisting requires only your name, email address, postcode and sport. Perhaps one should add a certain gullibility, FOMO or attraction to bright lights. You are told because of climate change ‘sports future is more uncertain than ever’. There is no explanation that supports this threat. But then should there be? You are told “Australians have always punched above their weight on the world stage and that now is the time to do it”. Do what one could ask. And you are reminded that to safeguard sport Australians must cut emissions by half by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050.

There is no explanation or information to support these alarmist claims, nor what individual sportspeople should do. Hand in their cell phones? Stop global travel to compete? Given staging the Olympics generates equivalent to the annual emissions of half a million vehicles, why should this event continue? Were Australia to achieve the 2030 target and the rest of the world not, would Australia be the only place in the world for sport? These claims from Pocock’s organisation have all the appearance of at best, being a deal too good to be true or at worst, waffle. And it is the deal that is too good to be true, or waffle that most commonly lures the gullible, the elderly and the intellectually impaired into signing over their name for others to use. 

There is no explanation on Pocock’s website as to what signatories can or should do. There are no meetings, tasks, AGM’s or reports. There are no contact details as to where the organisation is based. There is a list of those who make the decisions, write the press releases and in whose care lie the good name and reputation of signatories including Pocock and his wife Emma as co-founders. Pocock’s ‘generals’ are eminent in their own right, with half a dozen ‘directors’ and half a dozen ‘strategic advisers’. There is no apparent avenue for signatories to elect these people or aspire to their roles. In effect, The Cool Down appears merely a front to gather the contact details of eminent sportspeople and those who would like to be associated with eminent names. 

The site is also an apparent front for another Pocock inspired organisation named Frontrunners which claims to ‘work for the future of sport in a changing world by being part of the solutions to the climate and environmental challenges facing all of us”. There is no explanation as to what Frontrunners does that attests to that claim.  

How do 250 and more sports luminaries sign over their name and reputation to an organisation that offers nothing of any tangible substance? Neither The Cool Down nor Frontrunners explain what exactly they do. Launching websites, marketing and promotion needs financial backing. Pocock and his co-directors and strategic advisers must be getting funding from somewhere. If it doesn’t come from those who sign up, then who or what is funding it and why? The profiles of the founders, directors and strategic advisers include some with obvious political links. Emma Pocock worked for several years in the office of Sarah Hanson-Young, the Greens Senator and is listed as a “graduate” of the Greens pet think-tank, The Australia Institute. Is this initiative of Pocock’s merely a front for political purposes? Who would know? 

Those who lend their name to others also lend their reputation. Lending reputation is not the same as lending books. One cannot have second thoughts after more lies are exposed or more arrests follow. Every word and every action of an organisation or from those who lead the organisation is owned by those who have lent their name in support. And the loan is for the long term.  

It hasn’t cost signatories to The Cool Down anything in dollars to join. However, where any organisation is loose with the truth or acts irresponsibly, the cost only becomes evident much later for those who belong. 

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