roger bate

How US Senators’ #WebofDenial Helped Spawn and Sustain Climate Science Denial in the UK

Read time: 5 mins
Senator Whitehouse describing the Web of Denial in the US Senate

In the 1990s, personnel from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) were flying across oceans to stoke climate science denial.

In 1995, in what is thought to be the first conference promoting climate science denial in Britain, the CEI’s then president Fred Smith joined another US guest from the Atlas Economic Research Foundation for a series of talks that undermined warnings about the impacts of fossil fuels on the climate.

Now more than 20 years on, Democratic Senators from across the pond have completed a blitz of speeches describing the fossil fuel funded “web of denial” – with organisations including the CEI featuring heavily in their forensic analysis.

This “web of denial” has held back action to cut greenhouse gas emissions while confusing the public on climate change. 

How One UK Climate Denial Think Tank's Links to ExxonMobil Led to its Downfall

Read time: 5 mins

This DeSmog UK epic history post examines the demise of one UK free market climate-denying think tank after its funding was linked to ExxonMobil.

Chief executive Rex Tillerson’s decision, made in the ExxonMobil boardroom in Texas, to turn off the flood of funding to free market think tanks resulted in an immediate crisis for Julian Morris and his colleagues at the climate sceptic International Policy Network (IPN) near the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London.

The oil company had donated $95,000 to the libertarian IPN in 2006, but further funding was in serious jeopardy. According to accounts filed by the charity, “the trustees of IPN UK concluded that the institute’s objective would presently be best achieved primarily through the provision of support to IPN UK’s sister organisation and others, rather than acting directly.”

How the Free Market Friendship Between Julian Morris and Roger Bate Came to an End

Read time: 4 mins

This DeSmog UK epic history post recalls the falling out between long-term friends and free marketeers Julian Morris and Roger Bate.

The free market International Policy Network (IPN) was launched amid much fanfare in 2001 with Julian Morris and Roger Bate at the helm. Almost immediately John Blundell, the director of the Institute of Economic Affairs and IPN board member closed down the Environment Unit.

The war against climate science was about to embark on a new journey, with a purpose built think tank ready to take to the front line. The IPN would try and convince the world that free market economics - and climate denial - were in the interests of the poorest people and the most impoverished countries.

The IPN tried at first to keep its funding from ExxonMobil and British American Tobacco secret, fearing journalists would not take them seriously if the vested interests of their financial backers were known. And it was only a few years before Morris and Bate apparently fell out - with Bate being the first of the three men to leave for the United States.

Morris and Bate were long-term friends and started a company together, and were known to most people in the sceptic community as a brilliant double act. 

Can You Guess What Climate Deniers Said of the IPCC 20 Years Ago?

Read time: 5 mins

The DeSmog UK epic history series recalls how the war between the climate sceptics and the IPCC heated up as they tried to cast doubt over the science.

The climate sceptics were ever ready to attack the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) following its second report, released in 1995. They well understood the political dangers that confronted them.

Frederick Seitz, (pictured) then chairman of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) – which argues against the existence of climate change – demanded that IPCC chairman Bert Bolin draft a statement immediately saying that the IPCC had “not been able to quantify the magnitude of the greenhouse gas”; he even took the extra step of drafting the proposed letter, ready for Bolin to sign.

What You've Always Been Getting Wrong About Big Tobacco Funding Climate Deniers

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The DeSmog UK epic history series marches on as Roger Bate continues to court the tobacco industry. He was a man on a mission. This is part two of an epic history double-feature.

How a Tobacco-Funded Think Tank Recruited Scientists in the Attack Against Climate Change

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The DeSmog UK epic history series continues with the first in a double-bill feature on how the European Science and Environment Forum joined the sceptics’ vitriolic attack on climate science.

Roger Bate, head of the Environment Unit at the free market think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), was an extremely energetic man.  

Not only did Bate (pictured) help to organise the first major climate denial conference in Britain, hosted by the IEA in 1995, but he also established his own think tank, the European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF), by turning the contacts he made into funders and contributors.

The Secret Love Affair Between Roger Bate and Big Tobacco

Read time: 3 mins

Our latest DeSmog UK epic history post reveals how the once-hidden romance between Roger Bate of the Institute of Economic Affairs and Big Tobacco became a public affair.

The relationship between the young Roger Bate and the Big Tobacco companies is intriguing.

Bate was recruited as head of the Institute of Economic Affairs’ (IEA) Environment Unit. As such, he midwifed British climate scepticism, offering to place stories in the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal as a representative of a health charity.

You'll Never Guess Who Attended Britain's First Major Climate Denial Conference

Read time: 7 mins

DeSmog UK’s epic history series looks back at the conference that marked the first major event where climate sceptic views were promoted in England.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Britain's first major climate denial conference. You'll never guess who attended – and who paid for it.

In October 1995, John Blundell – the newly appointed director of free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) – opened his second major conference Environmental Risk: Perception and Reality at the four-star Stakis St Ermin's Hotel on Caxon Street in London.

The advertised speakers included Blundell’s old friend Fred Smith, the founder of the Koch-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), who had flown over from the United States along with the coal-funded sceptic scientist Dr Patrick Michaels.

You Will Never Guess Who Was Really Behind Britain's First Climate Denial Propaganda...

Read time: 2 mins

A humble pamphlet is the subject of DeSmog UK’s latest instalment in its history series. This pamphlet would prove critical in the relentless critique of climate science.

Julian Morris, research fellow at the Atlas Foundation – a libertarian think tank founded by Antony Fisher – started work on the infamous pamphlet Global Warming: Apocalypse or Hot Air? in 1994.

Along with Roger Bate of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in London, the two co-authored the humble red pamphlet that would prove instrumental in attacking the science of climate change.

This Is The Exact Moment An Oil and Tobacco Funded Think Tank Imported Climate Denial To Britain...

Read time: 8 mins

The DeSmog UK epic history series investigates how Thatcherite John Blundell challenged the young Roger Bate to set up an Environment Unit within free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Future historians interested in establishing how Britain became a chief cheerleader of scepticism only 30 years after Thatcher led the world on climate change science and policy will have to begin on the morning of 1 January 1993.

It all began at the offices of the free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Lord North Street (pictured). Here, historians will discover that it was John Blundell, a diehard Thatcherite and the IEA’s new director general, who undid this part of Thatcher’s legacy.

Almost as soon as he arrived in Westminster to head up the IEA, Blundell called the young, erudite Roger Bate into his new office and “challenged” him to establish a new Environment Unit within the institute.

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