Brexit Climate Deniers

There is a deep-rooted connection between UK climate science deniers and those campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union.

brexit climate deniers

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? 

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By Kyla Mandel • Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - 07:59
Andrea Leadsom speaking at a KPMG panel discussion

Whoever becomes Britain’s next prime minister will be tasked with many critical energy and climate policy decisions – from ratifying the Paris Agreement to phasing out coal.

Currently, in a surprise to many, Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom is among the top three contenders along with Home Secretary Theresa May and Justice Secretary Michael Gove.

And perhaps one interesting indicator for how each candidate might approach energy and climate decisions as prime minister is to look at the those declaring their support for each of these individuals.

So, from Lord Lawson and Owen Paterson to Boris Johnson and Amber Rudd, who’s backing the top Tory leadership contenders?

By Guest • Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 10:49
Cameron versus Farage Brexit campaign advert

The Remain campaign was an object case in bad communications, one from which there is much to learn, argues George Marshall, director of projects at Climate Outreach, a charity working to increase public understanding and awareness of climate change.

The tragedy for the Remain campaigners is that the principles of good engagement were already well known, not least from the field of climate change communications.  

Mistakes are forgivable, but there is no excuse for stumbling down a path that is already littered with the wreckage of previous attempts to motivate public opinion – or then, as your support haemorrhages, doubling down on a losing strategy.

By Will Yeates • Monday, June 27, 2016 - 23:39
Andrea Leadsom infront of an oil well

With Andrea Leadsom, the UK’s Energy and Climate Minister and prominent Vote Leave campaigner, poised for promotion, how could leaving the EU affect UK energy and climate policy?

The question of who might make up the new government, and what the implications will be for the environment, is on many people’s minds.

By Guest • Monday, June 27, 2016 - 16:05

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup originally published at DailyKos

On Friday, we made a joking reference to how right-wing politics and climate denial operate within a single, metaphorical room. In light of the Brexit vote, it seems appropriate to remind everyone how climate denial in the UK is similarly closely tied to other politics, by operating out of literally the same building. 

Last January, Kyla Mandel at DeSmog UK made the initial connection, showing how many climate deniers are campaigning for England to leave the EU, including many names common to this column, like Matt Ridley and James Delingpole. Then the building where these two policy circles intersect was mentioned last February, when the Independent revealed that the Global Warming Policy Foundation/Forum is one of many groups that call a single townhouse at 55 Tufton Street home. 

By Kyla Mandel • Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 00:01
Boris Johnson

Many are trying to answer the question of what the UK’s energy and climate change policy might look like if we leave the EU. So, what do those behind the Brexit campaign have to say on this subject?

As it turns out, there appear to be only two relatively clear strategies on energy and climate policy put forward by the groups campaigning to leave the EU.

One of these was published in August 2014 by Business for Britain. However, this document has since quietly disappeared from the group’s website.

Meanwhile, the scenario proposed by Fresh Start, a group of about 100 Eurosceptic MPs, was published in 2012.

By Kyla Mandel • Monday, June 13, 2016 - 00:00
Mapped: The Cosy Climate-Euro Sceptic Bubble Pushing for Brexit and Less Climate Action

There is a deep-rooted connection between UK climate science deniers and those campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union, new mapping by DeSmogUK can reveal.

Tying together this close-knit network reveals how organisations residing behind the doors of Westminter's 55 Tufton Street share many of the same members and donors.

And the reach of this small group of Brexit climate deniers extends beyond this Westminster building to include prominent politicians such as former London Mayor Boris Johnson, Justice Secretary Michael Gove, and Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom as well as traditional British media outlets.

Perhaps the epitome of this nexus between climate science deniers and Brexit campaigners came last week when former environment secretary Owen Paterson delivered a speech at this very same address.

By Guest • Friday, June 10, 2016 - 00:58
Drax power plant

By Paul Ekins, professor of resources and environmental policy at University College London.

The UK imports around 6% of its electricity through undersea cables linking it to the European mainland. These links help Britain deal with the ebbs and flows of renewable energy generation, and give the country a “safety net” in case things go wrong.

Europe’s electricity network shows just how interconnected nation states are these days, and energy offers many insights into wider issues raised by the EU referendum.

The first is that national sovereignty – if that means the ability of a nation state to promote its best interests – is not necessarily best achieved at a purely national level. The UK has had lots of influence on the EU’s energy policy over the years, on everything from liberalising EU energy markets to the more recent push to ditch fossil fuels for renewables.

By Victoria Seabrook • Friday, April 22, 2016 - 05:47

The United Kingdom will be “undoubtedly” better able to tackle climate change if it remains in the EU, leading environmentalists urged during a debate last night.
They were speaking at a talk on the EU’s influence on UK environment, organised by environmental charity Friends of the Earth (FoE) and ‘Remain’ campaigners Environmentalists for Europe.
Stanley Johnson, Co-chair of Environmentalists for Europe & former Conservative MEP (and father to pro-Brexit Boris Johnson) said Brexit poses a threat to environmental law in the UK.
“A whole lot of legislation will come unpicked,” he said.

By Kyla Mandel • Tuesday, February 9, 2016 - 00:01

Climate science denier Lord Lawson’s appointment as chairman to the Vote Leave EU referendum campaign group has caused further division amongst Eurosceptics as the campaign’s leading Labour MP Kate Hoey and the Green Party’s Baroness Jenny Jones both withdraw support for the group.

Both Baroness Jones (pictured) and Hoey continue to support Britain leaving the EU but will not endorse Vote Leave to be the officially designated ‘Out’ campaign.

As Baroness Jones wrote on Twitter: “Will vote to leave #EU but can’t work with an organisation with so little judgement as to put Lawson at its head.”

By Kyla Mandel • Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 04:30
Climate science denier Lord Lawson continues to gain prominence in the Brexit debate as he is appointed as the temporary new chairman of Vote Leave.

At the same time, two so-called ‘controversial’ board members are dropped from the eurosceptic group.

Vote Leave’s chief executive Matthew Elliott and its campaign director Dominic Cummings were demoted, along with the group’s former chairman John Mills.