Green groups rolling in cash
ENVIRONMENT and activist groups have become a financial juggernaut with the top campaigners generating a combined income of $ 100 million a year.
The power of the green groups is now considered so strong that even the mining industry claims it is being outgunned.
The significant part of the funds, which are mostly taxpayer subsidised, is spent on campaigning and a major target is the mining industry, particularly Adani.
It’s a no- holds- barred war between the two sides, but the activists groups have shown themselves to be far more agile and more capable of raising funds and influencing public opinion through social media.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the activists were able to sway public opinion and force politicians to take populist decisions in areas like renewable energy.
He said until recently the public was generally not aware of the negative implications of renewables.
“So it does have a very significant impact on the way people think and that reflects back on the way politicians think and the pressure politicians come under to often take what could be broadly called populist decisions that don’t have a basis in fact or science and decisions that impact on peoples’ lives and jobs or the price they pay for energy,’’ he said.
“For instance, the belief that we can live without coal. They have successfully driven a disconnect between reality and practicality.
“Not one of the people say they would go without a car and there’s a tonne of coal in every car.
“They have successfully through chanting the message day in day out changed people’s beliefs and attitudes.’’
He said the industry had not spent anything like the green groups and that had been a decision on economic grounds that had overlooked the power and influence that was now impacting economically on resource companies.
Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy countered by saying it was only the powerful vested interests that were propping up the “dying’’ coal industry.
“It’s of no surprise that people are willing to chip in to ensure the Great Barrier Reef has a future and we shift quickly to jobs in renewables. Our campaigns for clean energy are powered by people, unlike the corporate influence of the polluting fossil fuel giants,’’ she said.