GREEN activists are planning to undermine a conservative-run climate change forum in Warrnambool next week, The Standard can reveal.
A leaked email has shown that former Greens candidate Lisa Owen developed a strategy to discredit a climate speech night organised by the Australian Family Association (AFA).
Retired meteorologist William (Bill) Kininmonth has been secured by the AFA as its guest speaker for the Warrnambool event which focuses on the federal government’s carbon tax.
Mrs Owen called on environmentalists to attend the function and speak out against “the climate change denier William Kininmonth”.
“Our aim for this event is to have his visit rebranded and the truth of his funding exposed,” she wrote in the email.
“We don’t need a lot of people to attend the night as we don’t want to make a large crowd for The Standard’s photo opp (opportunity).
“After the event, so as not to advertise it, we need at least three letter writers to report on the event or to comment on the visit in Saturday’s (The) Standard.”
Mr Kininmonth was the head of the Bureau of Meteorology’s National Climate Centre for more than a decade.
He is now an advisor to the US-based Science and Public Policy Institute, a lobby group of which high-profile British peer Christopher Monckton is also a patron.
AFA state president Terri Kelleher said everyone was welcome at the forum and encouraged attendees to ask questions.
She said any disruption would be pointless.
“All we are calling for is freedom to discuss the issue, freedom of thought and expression — things (Mrs Owen) is clearly not interested in,” Mrs Kelleher told The Standard yesterday.
“Bill Kininmonth is eminently placed to discuss climate given his 38-year-career at the Bureau of Meteorology, working at a senior level of that organisation for some time.”
Mrs Owen said she wanted to present a science-based opposing voice at the meeting and claimed the forum would spread misinformation.
She said Mr Kininmonth was used by mining and tobacco companies to “promote climate change denial”.
“We have to stand up for science-based fact, even if (the meeting) is only attended by three old conservative men and a dog,” Mrs Owen said.
“I do think they are spreading misinform-ation. We will be there in some form, even if it is for nuisance value.”
Mrs Owen could not confirm if she would attend, although she believed her supporters would have some presence at the forum.
Local organisers have said that heckling and interruptions would not be permitted during Mr Kininmonth’s speech.
Mr Kininmonth was unavailable for comment yesterday.
The forum will be held at Emmanuel College’s Ardlie Street hall on March 14.