An Open Letter to Chris Kenny

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Dear Chris Kenny,

I am writing to let you know that you and I can never be friends. This statement is not to imply that you have ever shown any desire to be my friend. You don’t know me. But I know you. And I can tell you, that we will never be friends.

I was unsure whether to write this letter, as I know you get enjoyment out of opportunities to call people names. The last thing I want to do was give you enjoyment. What made up my mind, and motivated me to finally get this letter written, is the knowledge that one day, in the next 25 to 100 years, future generations of Australians will read this letter when they Google such keywords as ‘who was responsible for inaction on climate change?’, and ‘how were our forefathers talked into believing morons in the media rather than climate scientists?’ and ‘why is it too hot to go outside for 6 months of the year?’ That’s the beauty of the Internet. Your stupidity, your arrogance and your selfishness will never be erased.

I wanted to let you know that your contribution to the events surrounding the failure of humanity to adequately protect future generations against the catastrophic effects of climate change has not gone unnoticed. I know you haven’t worked on your own, but you have done your best, and for that reason, you should be acknowledged.

I do concede that you have not been the worst offender. Your involvement has, characteristically, been haphazard and rather lazy. But it’s the cynical way in which you refer to the science of climate change, and to the good people in our society who work very hard to convince a much too easily deceived population that the science is as settled as the science of gravity, which leads me to choose you as this letter’s recipient. If you don’t understand, which I suggest is a result of your inadequate intelligence, I will try to explain just how dangerous and stupid a person you are.

You, on your own, would not cause me to make the effort to write this letter. But you, unfortunately, are not alone. You are one man that represents idiocy and recklessness the world over. And, in a statement that I am ashamed to say will probably undeservingly make you feel good about yourself, you do influence others. I don’t agree with most of your opinions, but you actually can be quite fair and reasonable on most topics. This just makes your attitude towards climate change even more dangerous. Through your Tweeting and your TV appearances and your work with News Ltd, you give other people who set out to find some reason for inaction, an excuse for such inaction. They justify their own stupidity by agreeing with yours. This is a disgrace. The fact that you are not ashamed is also a disgrace.

It is common at your workplace, The Australian, for journalists and commentators to misrepresent the facts about climate change. Coincidentally, you and your colleagues share the same views as your boss, Rupert Murdoch, and the political parties that you and your boss campaign in support of; for instance, the Republican Party in the US and the Liberal National Coalition in Australia. The thing is, when journalists such as Graham Lloyd misrepresent the science of climate change, they are sometimes forced to write corrections. But, you can’t be faulted on facts because you don’t use any. What offends me about your writing is that your overriding attitude towards climate change can only be described as flippant. You act like anyone who is worried about climate change is an ‘alarmist’. You never outright deny climate change. What you actually do is worse. You pretend it’s some great big joke. You act like those who worry about it are stupid. You lark around as if you are smarter than everyone else. You carry on with this bullshit about the science not being settled. Well guess what Chris. You’re wrong. The science is settled. And I’m alarmed. Climate change is alarming. Scientists are not talking about possible events way off in the distant future that you are too selfish to care about. They are reporting what is happening right now. And if you’re not alarmed, then frankly, you’re obviously not very bright.

Is there a greater immorality than patronising and belittling the very people who are trying to avert a disaster on a scale of which humanity has never seen? You call our country’s top climate change scientist ‘alarmist’ when he explains the devastation that climate change will cause. You call world leaders ‘alarmist’ when they describe the seriousness of the problem. You accuse the public broadcaster of bias when their journalists accurately report climate change science. Strangely, in some moods you appear to conclude that the planet does need saving. So why are you not alarmed? You seem quite interested in voters’ concerns about day to day cost of living. Do you ever consider the cost of living on an uninhabitable earth?

Another inexplicable argument that you’ve trotted out to criticise the government’s Climate Commission is that their ‘emotive language’ won’t encourage people to ‘take the issues seriously’, and instead this group of preeminent scientists should try discussing ‘facts’. For someone who describes himself on his blog profile as taking an ‘unashamedly rationalist approach’, you do a great job of sounding completely irrational. The Climate Commission’s language is emotive because the facts are incredibly scary. There’s nothing the Climate Commission can do to sugar coat it for you. Scientific consensus is fact. I would have thought if people don’t understand how serious the issue is, they will never be convinced to take it seriously. What is there not to understand about this concept?

I also note that you like to recycle other overused excuses for inaction that people like you the world over are using as the perfect reason for maintaining a dangerous status quo: there’s no point acting unless China and the US act first. If there was ever a more pathetic, wimpy argument for doing nothing about the biggest challenge our country, and our world is currently facing, I’ve not heard it.

Is there anything more abhorrent than a man who is paid to give his opinion, purposely downplaying the risks of climate catastrophe that he has no academic understanding of, and obviously no ability to comprehend? Or worse, do you actually fully understand the risks, but your pay cheque at News Ltd means more to you? If this is the case, I pity you Chris. I really do. Is your determination to doggedly reject any policy of a left wing government, and to blindly support every policy of those on the right, enough to cause you to willfully ignore the urgent action that is needed, and to oppose any policy that aims to help reduce the damage? Left wing and right wing voters will be affected by climate change. This is not a political challenge. It’s not a policy debate. It’s far more important than the political affiliation of any political party in the world.

Whatever you say about Tim Flannery on your blog (which I note gets very few comments and Facebook likes for a mainstream site. This is no doubt ‘alarming’ for your ego), he will always be a more intelligent, braver, harder working and a more respected human being than you are. And infinitely more qualified to talk about climate change than you. When Flannery tells me that I should be concerned about climate change, and when he describes the environment that we will be faced with if we do nothing about climate change, I am dismayed. When I see this environment unfolding before my eyes, I am appalled. Do you have any qualifications in science Chris in which to base your opinion that the science is not settled? You might like to do science experiments like this one, but I’m pretty sure this didn’t improve your brainpower.

Let me try to describe this to you in words you will understand. It’s like I’m sitting on a plane and there’s turbulence. I’m not worried, until I see the cabin crew turning white and rushing around. Then the captain gets on the cabin speaker and I can hear the fear in her voice as she tells passengers to put on their life jackets and to get in the brace position. You’re sitting next to me. You’re telling everyone to stop being so stupid. You’re laughing. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Rupert Murdoch and the plane manufacturers have already contributed generously to your favoured political party’s next campaign. So obviously only alarmists would be horrible enough to panic people into thinking there is something seriously wrong and that urgent action is needed. The smoke coming out of the engine is just a scare tactic. So we should all order another scotch and stop our bleating. As the plane goes down, you can still be heard ranting that no money should be spent making sure planes don’t crash, as it might affect the cost of international travel.

Well guess what Chris. You’re wrong. And it’s not just so called elitists like me who care about climate change. (Notice how I pre-empted your first most likely put-down that you use whenever you criticise people who don’t vote for your political party?) Climate change should alarm our entire population. It seems to worry your old boss, Malcolm Turnbull. Not enough for him to show enough moral fiber to actually cross the floor in support of action on climate change. But still, he’s a bigger man than you. Future generations don’t care which political party you are campaigning for in your newspaper blog. They’ll only care how it was, and whose fault it was, that people weren’t alarmed enough to do something about climate change before it was too late.

People who experienced the South Australian, Victorian, Tasmanian and New South Wales 2012-13 bushfires are alarmed. Those who watched the 2009 Victorian bushfires are alarmed. The victims of the 2010/2011 Queensland floods are alarmed. The people affected by countless other natural disasters that are concurrently happening all over the earth as I write this letter are alarmed. We should all share this alarm and use the fear to motivate us to do something to limit the damage. My act of limiting the damage today is to implore you to shut the fuck up about climate change. History may prove this activity to be fruitless. But at least I care enough to try.

You are wrong. You are irresponsible. And you’ll never be my friend.


  1. Victoria
    can I suggest that you are kidding yourself if you think that humanity has any ability to make a change to the climate for some very simple political reasons. Resistance is futile and the only wise course of action is to adapt to the changes as they happen, to think otherwise is the worst kind 0of foolish hubris.

      • How is my pragmatism irrational Trev?
        Can you honestly say that humanity can agree for long enough to follow the AGW prescription with enough consistency for it to be filled?
        Because without a global effort the “mitigation” dreams of the AGW proponents can never work even if they are right about the science which I am unconvinced is the case.

    • So how does one adapt to changes of increased floods and bushfire risk? Put your house on stilts and Lock yourself in your air conditioned room?

      • We can raise building standards, and we’re going to have reduce building in flood zones and bushfire zones. We’re going to have to spend more on fighting tropical diseases, more for food, more on dealing with refugees. More on emergency services. More on air-conditioning. Our train systems/electrical systems/etc etc will have to be built to operate under higher temperatures. So will our roads. We’ll need roads that don’t melt at 45 degrees. We’re going to become less productive because it’ll be more common for it to be too hot to work outside – or anywhere not air conditioned. We’re going to have to spend a packet on seawalls. We’ll survive, but it’s going to cost a couple of percent of GPD – every year. That’s more than it would cost to prevent climate change, and we’re all going to pay – the big polluters are pushing these costs onto all of us, and it’s people like Chris Kenny who are helping them to do it.

      • My point is Ben that none of the mitigation schemes stand a snowflake in hell;s chance of working so rather than spending any treasure or time on something that will have no effect then we should divert any funds that we are going to spend on this “problem” on issues that actually arise if and when they arise. But there is always more than one way to address problems. for instance you talk about it being to hot to work outside on some days well then maybe its to take a leaf out of the book of countries where the practice is to start very early in the day work until the temperature becomes too high and have siesta during the time when working outside would be intolerable.

    • “…..the only wise course of action is to adapt to the changes as they happen..” Have you thought through what you’re saying here Iain? Consider the situation for the overwhelming mass of humanity who wont have the resources to “adapt” as the situation deteriorates. What is to happen to them?

      And then of course there’s ultimate arrogance in the assumption that, no matter what happens in the rest of the biosphere, humanity can engineer solutions that will ensure survival. I’m sorry Iain, but it’s just humbug.

      • Ed
        I live on a mountain so no worries about flooding here and as for bushfires well we do have a bushfire plan.
        the question that you need to ask your self is can the AGW mitigation schemes be made to work at a political level in the sort fo time scale that the alarmists claim is necessary? Frankly I can’t see how it can be made to happen If you know otherwise then please explain how it can be done.

        We are a resourceful animal Trev so what makes you think that we won’t survive? The may certainly be some human population collapses in some parts of the world (africa springs to mind) due to disease war and social collapse but that may not be such a bad thing in the long-term.

      • Iain
        What a bleak future you paint for the planet. Let’s see if I can summarise your position.
        1. We can do very little to influence other nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s a waste of time trying. This is likely to remain the case, no matter what circumstances may come along to confront the planet’s human inhabitants.
        2. “We’re all right Jack” because we’re resouceful and can use technology to “adapt” to any altered conditions. In doing so, we need have no concern for anyone else or anything else on the planet.
        3. Those in underdeveloped nations (i.e. those who are “resourceless”) should have the decency to die out in large numbers. This will in turn reduce humanity’s impact on the rest of the planet.

      • Trev

        1. We can do very little to influence other nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s a waste of time trying. This is likely to remain the case, no matter what circumstances may come along to confront the planet’s human inhabitants.

        Do you have any reason to think that I am wrong in this? In my fifty six years on this planet I have seen lots of war and conflict and very little sustained co-operation yet sustained co-operation is what is needed fro the AGW panacea to work.

        2. “We’re all right Jack” because we’re resourceful and can use technology to “adapt” to any altered conditions. In doing so, we need have no concern for anyone else or anything else on the planet.

        When I say that “human beings” I mean all of humanity at a species level you seem to think that I mean Just Aussies which I don’t.

        3. Those in underdeveloped nations (i.e. those who are “resource-less”) should have the decency to die out in large numbers. This will in turn reduce humanity’s impact on the rest of the planet.

        I may have a rather pessimistic view of third world countries but my pessimism is supported by the facts on the ground. It gives me no pleasure to see such a bleak future for these dysfunctional societies and I would hope to be wrong but with Pandemics like HIV raging through Africa I can’t see anything except population collapse happening there within in the next century.

      • Dear BettyThanks for your question. There are lots of potvsiies here, gaining experience in commercial work will stand to you. Moving to straight acting can be at times difficult but most definitely not impossible (Milla Jovovich). I would suggest trying to get a few short films under your belt, maybe fringe theatre or attend one of the larger theatre open days (this maybe aged restricted though). I would also suggest keeping up the commercial work as your working with directors who maybe looking to shoot straight drama projects ..and your paying the bills.

    • Agreed that we’ve left it too late to prevent all change – some adaption will be required.

      But we can influence the amount of change.

      What if it’s cheaper to reduce the amount of change than to adapt by so much? Do you think we could then agree to do it?

      We’ve done it before – think CFCs.

      • Do you really think that we have a chance of preventing anything Ben?
        if the money spent on prevention is going to be entirely wasted because it won’t have any effect then why spend that money at all?
        Its a total lie that spending on mitigation now will be “cheaper” because its based upon a false assumption about the effectiveness of such measures

      • David
        I have always acknowledged the variability of the climate the thing that I have consistently question is the extent to which human agency can legitimately be a causal reason fro any perceived changes. But my belief or otherwise in the AGW proposition is rather moot when it comes to effectiveness of the prescriptions offered in answer to the “problem” I don’t have to be either a “climate scientist” or even a believer to understand the nature of global politics and the impossibility of the “cure” EVER getting enough support to have any effect at all.

  2. Victoria what can I say, apart from sock it to him over climate change. For your open letter is absolutely fantastic and yes I agree with you. Sceptics like Chris Kenny, who are a was a once upon a time person, has now diminished any sort of notoriety, like advising any government has now passed his use by date.

  3. I take it you didn’t have any electricty running today, used your car, or breathed. All these events lead to production of CO2.

  4. chris keeny is a cultural warrior. the fact aren’t important. He will get off (literally) on the fact that people are talking, and writing about him.

  5. Good article Victoria, it is well considered and written persuasively. You are right to observe the way in which those on the right of the political divide lobby against the climate science as a matter of principle. This is a regrettable situation as there will be no winners. It is as if climate science is not like other sciences. You’d never see Kenny and his ilk reject any other discipline evidence based science. Can you imagine him saying ‘I refuse Dr Smith to take these pills you have prescribed for me for my medical condition because I don’t believe the Science is settled!’. Kenny’s position is clearly absurd.

  6. Balanced journalism has all but disappeared under News Ltd. Chris Kenny is an example of a man who will do anything for money, He can’t be that dumb

  7. Chris Kenny is a hired mouth. If Murdoch has a rush of sense to the brain and accepts the proofs of climate change, Kenny will shamelessly do a 180 degree turn and find some way to dress it up as honesty or based on “new evidence”. Wouldn’t mind betting he and others are already working on their scripts – “my reasons for changing”. It won’t make him a different person though. You can never trust a mercenary.

  8. Nice effort Victoria

    Chris Kenny, is, as others have said, a hired gun. This mouthe for hire has been on his shingle for much too long for him to be anyone’s friend.

    His nonsensical and derivative meme-talking has been rebutted in too many more august places for me to bother responding to it here. I do note with amusiment his claim to be “suspicious of group think” despite being a spectacular example of someone mouthing ideas that come direct and unamended from filth merchant central.

    Anyhoo, if it’s ever worth responding to trolls — not sure that it is — you have responded well.

  9. Kenny, like Bolt, intersperse the odd rational comment among the rote arguments. I assume this is to setup their ‘get out of goal’ cards when the weight of public opinion moves against them and threatens their exaggerated self perception. A great letter Victoria, I agree with the ‘You’re So Vain’ reference – so apt for Kenny, I always imagine him smirking while he’s punching out those tweets.

  10. I notice Kenny’s blog is called “Goodly Fabric” which he derived from a quote by Parkes about free government. There is an earlier usage of the term in Dryden’s great satirical poem Mac Flecknoe (1687) which is a mock epic describing the ascension to the throne of dullness of a new prince.
    Flecknoe, the abdicating monarch, enumerates his successor’s qualities and then adds:

    Besides his goodly Fabrick fills the eye,
    And seems design’d for thoughtless Majesty:
    Thoughtless as Monarch Oakes, that shade the plain,
    And spread in solemn state, supinely reign.

    An entirely accurate summation of the denialist position.

  11. A wonderfully written & well-crafted letter to a bombastic, ill-mannered, ignorant dolt, Victoria. Thank you.

    As a matter of interest Murdoch’s News Corp is “committed to minimising its envronmental impact, growing sustainably & inspiring others to take action”. Here is a link to their efforts overseas in making their businesses more energy efficient & in their words ‘grow our business without growing our carbon footprint’..

    In the light of this I wonder what Chris Kenny has to say about the efforts of News Corp as opposed to the rubbish spouted by him & others at News Ltd? Is his boss right to do one thing overseas & encourage his journalists to trash talk re climate change science here in Australia?

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  13. My mechanic has advised me, not to use any of that SkS fuel in my Holden-together not so Australian vehicle anymore. She has advised, it is not safe for my environment and will cause headaches, nausea if I breath in any of that bulldust from LNPHALL.

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  15. Thank you Victoria, for writing what most of us are thinking. We must listen to the scientific community now regarding Climate Change, and ignore Chris Kenny as much as possible.
    I personally don’t find it that hard to ignore him as firstly, he blocked me years ago, and secondly, I refuse to subscribe or buy any Murdoch product. They’re just propaganda.
    Well done, I’m glad you’ve spoken out.

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