john blundell

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.

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.

Britain's First Climate Denier Was Bag Carrier for Oil Baron Charles Koch

Read time: 3 mins

DeSmog UK’s epic history series continues with a peek into the intimate friendship between free-market libertarian John Blundell and the Koch brothers.

Without… Charles and David Koch… without their far-sighted commitment, we would not be here today and we would not be witnessing a world-wide move toward freedom and free markets,” John Blundell once wrote.

The free-market libertarian had just been recruited as the new director of the free-market Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). Handing in his notice at the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) – a hardline neoliberal think tank funded by oil billionaire Charles Koch – Blundell booked a flight to England.

That Time a Tobacco Tycoon Halved Funding to a Think Tank That Dared Fire His Chosen Boss

Read time: 5 mins

DeSmog UKs epic history series recounts the moment when John Blundell was recruited into Antony Fisher’s free-market think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs.

The free-market libertarian John Blundell (pictured) was at home in Fairfax, Virginia, when late one afternoon he received a phone call from his old friend Mike Fisher, the younger son of Antony and a trustee of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), from London.

There had been a putsch at the free-market institute and the trustees were recruiting a new leader.

How Two Young Students Took the Climate Denial Bate

Read time: 4 mins

DeSmog UK’s epic history investigates how the former Institute of Economic Affairs director general, John Blundell, recruited British students with a flair for free market economics to the US for internships at Koch-funded think tanks.

By the early 1990s John Blundell was a well established founder and supporter of several American free-market think tanks. So to help grow the neoliberal network, he organised eight-week paid internships in the United States each year for 30 British students who had demonstrated flair and a keen interest in free market economists.

Blundell asked the think tanks such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), supported by the Kochs, to take on some of the young hopefuls. “Fred Smith at CEI agreed but only if he could have Roger Bate,” Blundell confirmed.

How Free Market 'Baptist' Fred Smith Sold Out to the Big Oil 'Bootleggers’

Read time: 4 mins

In the second part of our Fred Smith story - part of our history series - DeSmog UK investigates his prohibition era-inspired solution to attacking climate science.

Fred Smith, founder of the Koch-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), was frustrated that oil companies were almost universally failing to recognise the climate agenda as a threat.

But he soon came up with a plan to rid organisations of the stigma of being publicly linked to oil companies in the campaign against climate science.

How Former Environment Protection Agency Staffer Fred Smith Took Cash from Exxon and Koch–Then Exported Climate Denial to Britain

Read time: 4 mins

John Blundell and Fred Smith - both funded by oil baron Charles Koch - worked closely to export climate denial to Britain. This is part one of Fred Smith's story as part of our History Series.

John Blundell played a direct role in the growing climate denial movement in the 1980s and ‘90s. As President of the Charles Koch Charitable Foundation he was a critical funder and supporter of definitive American climate denial think thanks. And it was not long before he turned to those closest to him to build the foundations of British climate denial.

One such ally and beneficiary of Blundell’s rise to power was his friend Fred Smith, a rotund white whiskered libertarian and long-time ally of the International Energy Agency.

The Kochtopus Spreads its Tentacles To Strangle Climate Science

Read time: 4 mins

DeSmog UK tells the story of how the ideologically matched and politically inseparable Blundell and Dr Fred Singer became close and controversial allies, in our epic history series.

One evening John Blundell arrived at the Hickory Farm neighbourhood watch meeting in Virginia, and to his surprise discovered he was living close to Dr S Fred Singer, who he had met on the free market think tank circuit.

Singer was with his new wife Candice Crandall, who Blundell had met separately as a press officer at the Koch funded George Mason University (GMU).

Blundell: The Missing Link Between Oil Baron Charles Koch and British Climate Denial

Read time: 5 mins

John Blundell is welcomed into the inner circle of the Koch elite at at time of inner-family squabbling and political scandal. He soon gains insight into an empire run by obsession and apparent deception. This is part two of DeSmog UK’s history of Blundell and Charles Koch.

Blundell was offered a well paid job at the Institute of Humane Studies (IHS) in April 1982 - a hardline neoliberal think tank funded by the oil billionare Charles Koch.

He resigned as spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses and as a councillor at a London borough and moved to California in the United States with his wife Christine and their three-month-old baby boy, Miles.

Chick Lit Star Dana Is Living The Dream - Her Husband Is Every Climate and Cancer Campaigner’s Worst Nightmare

Read time: 6 mins

The beautiful and talented Dana Bate is living the American dream - her second populist chick-lit novel is currently arriving in bookstores across Britain and the United States.

But never judge a book by its cover. Behind her gleaming smile and professional friendliness hides a very American nightmare.

Dana is frantically publicising the latest in her oeuvre, A Second Bite At the Apple or The Stall of Second Chances, travelling across the US in December and a setting out on a “UK blog tour” which leads us right up to Christmas.

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