institute of economic affairs

How the Climategate Email Hack Laid the Foundations for the Fake News Era

Read time: 8 mins
I wish this were fake news poster

DeSmog UK’s first editor, Brendan Montague, shares his personal experience of investigating climate science deniers at the time of Climategate.

Lord Lawson stepped to the curb hailing a taxi. We had both been at an event in a swish Fleet Street hotel discussing illegal phone hacking by journalists. I had followed him out onto the pavement and asked whether the hacking of scientists' emails from the servers of the British university had been unethical — as well as criminal. “It was a whistleblower,” he scowled. The black taxi took off, leaving me in a cloud of diesel.

BBC Updates Editorial Guidelines to Improve Scrutiny of Thinktank Pundits

Read time: 3 mins
BBC building

The BBC has altered its editorial guidelines after persistent calls for the organisation to improve transparency around the commentators to which it gives a platform.

The broadcaster has now added “think tanks” to a list of groups that it says presenters and producers should “not automatically assume … are unbiased”.  “Appropriate information about their affiliations, funding and particular viewpoints should be made available to the audience, when relevant to the context,” the guidelines say.

The change could have significant ramifications for representatives of anti-regulation, pro-Brexit think tanks and campaign groups based in and around offices at 55 Tufton Street, including the UK's principal climate science denial campaign group the Global Warming Policy Foundation, on which DeSmog has extensively reported.

Priti Patel

Priti Patel

Credentials

  • Economics, Keele University. [1]
  • Postgraduate study in British government and politics, University of Essex. [1]

Background

Read time: 7 mins

Liz Truss

Liz Truss

Credentials

  • B.A. Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Oxford University. [1]

Background

Liz Truss became the UK's International Trade Secretary in July 2019 and is a Conservative MP for South West Norfolk. [2]

Read time: 10 mins

Mapped: The Anti-Climate Lobbyists Infiltrating Boris Johnson's Government

Read time: 5 mins
Boris cabinet map

Boris Johnson has named his first full cabinet, and his appointments will have had one set of lobby groups rubbing their hands with glee.

His selection includes a large number of people with ties to 55 Tufton Street, the Westminster address that is home to a large collection of pro-Brexit, anti-regulation, anti-climate action campaign groups. Boris’ cull of Theresa May’s government means many Tufton Street staff members have now found themselves a lot closer to 10 Downing Street.

We’ve mapped all the key connections. Here’s a quick run-down.

Michael Hintze: Natural History Museum Offered Perks to Benefactor and Climate Science Denial Funder

Read time: 9 mins

Ever wondered what a major donation to one of London’s premier cultural institutions might buy you? Well, quite a bit, it turns out.

And the case of Sir Michael Hintze, the UK’s third richest hedge fund manager and known funder of climate science denial, is no exception, emails seen by DeSmog show.

Hintze, a prominent Conservative Party donor and Brexit backer, helps fund the UK’s principal climate science denial thinktank the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), set up a decade ago by former Chancellor and Conservative peer Nigel Lawson

Email correspondence obtained by campaign group Culture Unstained shines a light on Hintze’s close relationships with the publicly-funded Natural History Museum and National Portrait Gallery.

Comment: Climate Science Deniers Resort to Attacking Greta Because They've Lost the Argument

Read time: 5 mins
Greta Thunberg

Oh, to be Greta. The queue of (mostly) middle aged men using their media platforms to attack her is now running around the block.

They have resorted to these ad hominem attacks because they have nothing left. Having substantially lost the political and the scientific arguments against climate action some time ago, they now face losing complete control of an agenda they have become accustomed to manipulating.

It's like a Who's Who of disorientated individuals.

Thinktank with Ties to Climate Science Denial Censured by Charity Commission for Hard Brexit Lobbying

Read time: 3 mins

A prominent London thinktank has been censured by the Charity Commission for explicitly lobbying for a hard Brexit.

The commission said the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) had breached rules regarding political activity, which are meant to prevent charities campaigning on issues outside of their charitable remit.

The IEA is officially registered as an educational charity. The commission ruled that the IEA's ‘Plan A+’ report was “calling for a change in government policy and for a particular approach to the UK’s exit from the European Union”, which “does not further educational purposes, and so constitutes a breach”.

Matthew and Sarah Elliott: How a UK Power Couple Links US Libertarians and Fossil Fuel Lobbyists to Brexit

Read time: 27 mins
The Elliotts network map

If you have detected a distinctly American flavour to the rampant lobbying in Westminster corridors over a Brexit deal, there is a good reason why.

A close look at the transatlantic connections of the London-based groups pushing for the most deregulated form of Brexit reveals strong ties to major US libertarian influencers. These include fossil fuel magnates the Koch brothers — known for funding climate science denial around the world — and the man who bankrolled Donald Trump’s campaign, Robert Mercer.

At the heart of this network lies a little-known power couple, Matthew and Sarah Elliott. Together, the husband and wife team connect senior members of the Leave campaign and groups pushing a libertarian free-market ideology from offices in Westminster’s Tufton Street to major US libertarian lobbyists and funders.

Collectively, the network aims to use Brexit as an opportunity to slash regulations in the UK, paving the way for a wide-ranging US-UK free-trade deal that could have disastrous consequences for the environment.

Shanker Singham

Shanker Singham

Credentials

  • J.D., University of Miami, (1996). [1]
  • Law Society Finals, Guildford College of Law, (1992). [1]
  • C.P.E. Guildford College of Law (1992). [1]
  • M.A., Balliol College, University of Oxford (1990). [1]

Background

Read time: 8 mins

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