There is a deep-rooted connection between UK climate science deniers and those campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union.
On 23 June 2016 the UK will vote in the EU referendum on whether Britain should remain part of the European Union. The 'Brexit' vote comes after Prime Minister David Cameron promised in his 2015 Conservative Party election manifesto to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership in the EU before the end of 2017.
Since then, the link between climate science deniers and Eurosceptics has become more pronounced. In February 2016, it was revealed that Lord Lawson's climate denying Global Warming Policy Foundation had moved its headquarters into the same building as Brexit campaign groups 'Business for Britain' and 'Vote Leave', along with a slew of other right wing organisations including the TaxPayers' Alliance.
The Brexit-climate denier overlap stems from a common neoliberal ideology that fears top-down state interventions and regulations which are perceived as threatening values of individual freedom, economic (market) freedom, or the sovereignty of national governments. Under this logic, we must reject both the European Union and most climate policy.
And the influence of this small group extends beyond the walls of their 55 Tufton Street address - just a stone's throw from the Houses of Parliament - to include prominent politicians and traditional British media outlets. It begs the question: If the climate-euro sceptic bubble is successful on Brexit, what will then happen to British climate change policy?
LATEST NEWS ON BREXIT CLIMATE DENIERS
By Megan Darby, Climate Home News
The UK government has excluded climate change from a proposed post-Brexit green watchdog, raising concerns about enforcement of climate laws when the country leaves the EU.
In a consultation document, the department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) outlined plans to establish a body that could issue “advisory notices” if the government fell short of its duty to implement environmental law.
It would not be empowered to take the government to court, nor would it cover “matters related to climate change”, which Defra argued were covered by existing bodies, principally the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
Revelations continue to emerge about Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that has found itself embroiled in a scandal around data privacy and electoral manipulation.
Three whistleblowers have gone public in the Guardian and Observer to outline how Cambridge Analytica used Facebook data to influence the outcomes of the US presidential election and Brexit referendum.
DeSmog UK has previously mapped how the company ties to climate science denial through its Brexit and Trump connections. Now, Nafeez Ahmed over at Motherboard has outlined how Cambridge Analytica has ties to the fossil fuel industry.
Do Brexiters and climate science deniers have a problem with women?
DeSmog UK has previously drawn links between climate science denial outfits based out of offices at 55 Tufton St, just around the corner from parliament. And research has shown that the impacts of climate change and Brexit will both affect the UK’s women disproportionately.
Yet, there is only a small percentage of women in leadership roles at organisations pushing for Brexit and to dampen the UK’s climate commitments, a DeSmog UK investigation reveals — and women who do speak out against these agendas are often subjected to horrific sexist abuse.
It has been a long, drawn out, process since the 2016 referendum, but a year today the UK is due to leave the EU. Amidst ongoing negotiations, fears of weakened environmental regulation and reduced ambition on the UK’s climate change policy continue to cause concern.
In this last leg of negotiations, the UK and the EU are due to agree a framework for their future relationship — a crucial phase for Westminster, which will aim to show the UK can retain its foreign and economic influence post-Brexit.
Yet, hardline Brexiteers’ strong position in Theresa May’s cabinet have left the door open for free-market and pro-deregulation ideologues to influence government policy. As DeSmog UK has previously shown, there are deep-rooted connections between those advocating a hard Brexit and climate science deniers both in the UK and in the US.
With the October 2018 deadline for a final Brexit deal looming, the fate of environmental regulation therefore deserves close attention.
By Arthur Neslen, Climate Home News
The British government pushed to weaken EU controls on biomass energy in December, even though the technology will undermine efforts to contain global warming for up to half a century, according to research released today.
Despite its imminent Brexit, the UK successfully rewrote a proposal to almost quadruple the potential size of wood burning plants before they had to meet efficiency criteria, according to documents obtained by Unearthed, and shared exclusively with Climate Home News.
Almost 70 MPs have been identified as backing a shadowy parliamentary lobby group pushing for a hard Brexit. In keeping with ideological links previously identified by DeSmog UK, it’s perhaps no shock that there are a number of politicians known to spread disinformation on climate change on the list.
Described as “an aggressive, disciplined, and highly organised parliamentary and media operation”, the European Research Group (ERG) is lobbying for a hard Brexit. It hit headlines earlier this week after being accused of misusing public money.
Long operating in the shadows, Buzzfeed has published a long list of MPs it has identified as being members of the group.
As 2017 came to a close, warnings of the catastrophic impact of climate change intensified. Devastating floods and hurricanes have highlighted the vulnerability of some communities around the world and the rise of carbon dioxide levels in the atmospheres shows efforts to tackle climate change urgently need to be ramped up.
In the UK, ongoing Brexit negotiations have brought no more certainty on the future of environmental regulation, while the government continues to support new and old fossil fuels industries.
From the endless stream of news surrounding Brexit and Trump to devastating extreme weather events across the globe, 2017 has been a monumental year.
So, as the final days of 2017 wrap up and everyone attempts to have a moment of brief relief before kicking off 2018, DeSmog UK takes a look back at the headlines and events that have streamed across everyone’s screens and impacted our everyday lives.
Two of Prime Minister Theresa May’s special advisers met with a libertarian US think tank founded by climate science denial funder Charles Koch last winter, but Number 10 Downing Street will not say why.
The failure to disclose the details of the meetings with the Cato Institute raises questions about whether there is a loophole regarding disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act.
DeSmog UK can reveal that on February 16 special advisors Chris Brannigan and Jimmy McLoughlin attended a lunch hosted at the Cato Institute in Washington D.C. According to the think tank, trade issues were discussed.
Former environment secretary Owen Paterson made the rounds with some of the top climate science deniers on a tour of the US this autumn to promote a “special relationship” post-Brexit.
The Shropshire MP travelled to Washington D.C. in October, DeSmog UK can reveal, where he met with infamous climate science deniers Lamar Smith, James Inhofe, and Myron Ebell. He also gave speeches at both the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the Heritage Foundation – two libertarian think tanks known for promoting climate science denial and working against environmental regulations.
Paterson’s visits are the latest in a string of meetings between pro-Brexit UK politicians (such as international trade secretary Liam Fox) and US climate science denial groups.