Glencore bankrolls coal propaganda

No real surprise. Via The Guardian:

The multinational mining giant Glencore spent millions bankrolling a secret, globally coordinated campaign to prop up coal demand by undermining environmental activists, influencing politicians and spreading sophisticated pro-coal messaging on social media.

An investigation by Guardian Australia can reveal the covert campaign, dubbed “Project Caesar”, was orchestrated by world-renowned political operatives at the C|T Group, the firm founded by Sir Lynton Crosby and Mark Textor.

The C|T Group used teams in Sydney and London to further Glencore’s interests across the globe, including in Australia, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the project and documents seen by Guardian Australia.

Project Caesar began in early 2017 with an annual warchest of between £4m and £7m. Glencore has confirmed the project’s existence but said it moved to shut it down last month to “ensure alignment” with its recent decision to limit coal production for environmental reasons.

The campaign aimed to engage key politicians, both to gauge their views on coal and attempt to convince them of its continuing value.

Intelligence was collected about key coal detractors, including Greenpeace and, detailing their budgets, social media reach, and issues that could be used to embarrass or undermine them.

A sophisticated digital campaign was mounted to help shift public sentiment towards coal, using messaging informed by research, focus groups and polling conducted in multiple countries.

Campaign teams helped set up online grassroots groups to push positive messaging about clean coal technology, attack renewables and criticise the Australian Labor party. The practice is commonly known as astroturfing.

One source with knowledge of Project Caesar said it was linked to Energy in Australia, a Facebook group and website that attacks renewables, while supporting high efficiency, low emissions (Hele) coal plants through data, memes, graphics and video.

Posts blame renewables for blackouts in South Australia and Victoria, link renewable subsidies to “Saudi billionaires”, and stress a link between solar, wind and rising power prices. The group celebrated the formation of the Monash Forum, a group of federal MPs who speak in support of coal, including Coalition MPs Craig Kelly, George Christensen, and Tony Abbott.

Other posts warn of widespread blackouts due to the planned closure of theLiddell power plant in NSW, and tell followers that wind turbines are “desecrating our Diggers’ graves” in France, using photoshopped imagery of wind farms towering over an Anzac memorial. The wind farm, which was only in planning stages at the time, never went ahead.

Project Caesar also had a significant traditional media component, seeking to amplify and spread pro-coal voices and messaging in mainstream media sources.

The project had an overarching strategy of shifting the emotion and tone of the energy debate to favour coal by using arguments that were personally relevant to its target audience. Its messaging was centred on themes of cost, reliability and family security.

The campaign contrasts with Glencore’s more recent statement that it would cap global coal output, in part due to investor pressure to act on climate change.

It also potentially contrasted with the aims of another C|T Group client, the Liberal party, whose then leader Malcolm Turnbull was attempting to forge ahead with new reliability and emissions reduction guarantees, which would have reduced Australia’s reliance on coal.

At least one group was listening, at The Australian:

Six Queensland Nationals MPs have reignited the Coalition’s civil war on energy policy, demanding that Scott Morrison put his shelved “big stick” laws to a vote in budget week and fast-track a decis­ion on the underwriting of a new cleaner coal plant.

The energy rebels have signed a letter to Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, challenging his authority with written demands calling for “immediate” ­action to address “unsustainable Queensland electricity costs”, after he failed to avert the deferral of the legislation to bring energy companies to heel.

Sooty fingerprints all over.

Houses and Holes
Latest posts by Houses and Holes (see all)


    • Strange Economics of offshoringMEMBER

      Glencore is also a leading user of the Cayman Islands, etc.
      Tax pay no, lobbying funds yes.
      Its Australian assets of Mt Isa Mines was bought with the brilliant financing plan of increase profits by
      1) Buy Australian tax paying company, 2) move ownership offshore, 3) move to transfer pricing 4) pay 0% instead of 30 % tax.

      • This is exactly the reason why I think mining no longer has the effect on Australia’s economy as it once did. The profitable mines are mostly foreign owned and are in maintenance mode rather than active expansion mode – and any profits are sent offshore. Australia only gets a cut during the investment phase where they have to pay local workers.

      • Very true SE.

        WW to be fair the CEO Vince told all shareholders not to sell at give away price. The brokers and major shareholders sold out.

        Always thought that the lover of all things Swiss, our very own drsmithy worked for the Swiss based Glencore as the canteen guy at Project Caesar. Et tu Brutus.

    • I wonder why a trial was not done on the impact of cigarette smoking in the 1950s.

      Get 5 chimps at Melbourne Zoo to smoke every day for 10 years and get 5 chimps at Sydney Zoo to not smoke. Check the lungs after 10 years.

      You can see vested interests ranting against stem cells today. Ms Kristy Cruise said she had multiple sclerosis and went to Moscow to destroy her faulty immune system and build up a new immune system with the help of stem cells. She said she has been cured and the vested interests say “there is no proof that stem cells work”!

      • Humans are driven by self-interest. When your career / salary depends on it ..


  1. “Folks I’m pleased to announce that a new truckload of Laramies with their smooth good taste and rich tobacco flavour is already heading towards Springfield and the driver has been instructed to ignore all stop signs and crosswalks.”

  2. Denis413MEMBER

    HnH, for interest, what’s your solution to replace base load power if coal is a no go?

    • there are a squillion hills around Melbourne and Sydney you could stick wind turbines on
      if you were serious
      but so far only a dozen or so.
      I dont think there is an answer to coal as base load.

      • If we were serious wind could do the job
        If I could get 150 turbines off shore up here, easily supply the gold coast
        anything coal or nuclear risks being knocked off by an emergent technology
        which could be installed at substation level.
        anything other than wind solar faces a huge risk from disruption.

      • WTF! Wind turbines on every hill? More than enough visual pollution in the landscape as it is.

    • bolstroodMEMBER

      Liquid salt is a proven and working solution for storing energy produced by Solar during day light and releasingit at night.
      does that cover base load ?

      • salt It is not yet proven
        last i heard the proposal in SA was good for 48 hours to keep a tomato plant running
        the co is listed as 1414 degrees i think is the name
        BAse load is base load, for as much as can be supplied for how long it takes
        there are plenty of times we can have not sufficient wind in this nation for say 7 days
        nor intermittent solar for equal periods, i’m struggling for power today cos of the clouds this morning
        this cf plant in the hunter will probably get the nod
        as will a similar plant in VIC, and QLD

      • bolstroodMEMBER

        I like pumped hydro to , but what happens during long droughts ?
        There will be a mix of generation techneques,, wave , tide that are in there infancy.
        But the fuels that we can not afford to use any longer are Coal , Oil and Gas if we are to have a future.

  3. bolstroodMEMBER

    Wiley there are lquid salt generators operating in Spain and Califoria , have been for some time (years )Ross Garnaut and Tony Windsor were in the press at the Spanish facility.
    Don’t take everything that Glencore says as the truth

      • bolstroodMEMBER

        We have not begun to consider tidal and wave energy.
        Why ?
        Because unlike coal, oil, gas , nuclear, there is no constant demand for fuel, therefore nothing that can be held over society for a premium price.
        We really must get over this sort of blackmailing and build a society / economy that benfits the Common Good.
        or we will fail as a species.

    • The biggest costs to solar (ignore the unprocessed toxic waste) is the enormous amount of land required. Using a recent example, to match a 1200MW plant (call it nuclear or hydro if it makes you feel better) for five to six hours a day, mid summer, using tracking technology, requires 30kmsq!!!

      • bolstroodMEMBER

        There is no shortage of the best sort of land here or around the world, in fact we are increasing the area all the time with our agribusiness model of food production and land clearing…
        they are called deserts.
        What is 30 sq. klm. or 3000 in a country this size?
        I refer you to my comment above for other alternatives to solar, but solar will be a major part of our power mix from now on.

      • Doubt it… wind, yes, but large scale solar with current tech, no… too dirty. No storage.

  4. I have seen a UK green think tank use similar techniques, funded by some massive big pockets! See no difference to them and Glencore, its not like one is on the side of right, and therefore all methods are permissible???

    The real message gets lost somewhere in translation.

    I wouldn’t take the high road H&H, you quit willingly trot out fictional figures that you know are wrong! Its a very grubby tactic. In your mind you justify it saying public opinion needs to be changed, by any means. That the means justified by the end goal…

    I actually like the idea of truth. Simple, effective. Saves a lot of time.

    • I would also say, one of Glencores coal team has spilt the beans (assuming the above facts are true), because there is no way anyone could find out those facts investigating – impossible in fact! Given that person has just lost their job, a bit of payback is in order… However, lets be honest, they didn’t mind the job when they were getting their 30 pieces of silver!

      Whose bread I eat, whose song I sing…