Michael Gove

Michael Gove

Credentials

  • B.A., English, Oxford University. [1]

Background

Michael Gove is the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in Theresa May’s government and MP for Surrey Heath. Gove has pledged to set up a watchdog to ensure a “green Brexit” but has described himself as a “shy green,” having had a chequered past when it comes to acting on climate change. [2], [3]

Gove was appointed to the role of Environment Secretary following the 2017 General Election. The year before, in the run up to the UK’s referendum on EU membership, Gove played a critical role as the co-convenor of the official Brexit campaign group Vote Leave, alongside Boris Johnson, and has been a member of the Eurosceptic European Research Group led by Jacob Rees-Mogg. [4], [5], [6]

Following the Brexit vote, Gove ran for the Conservative party leadership, eventually losing to Theresa May, who became Prime Minister in July 2016. [7], [8]

Gove is an advisory committee member of right-wing British thinktank The New Culture Forum, which works to change cultural debates the group believes are dominated by “the Left,” and is based out of 55 Tufton Street, home to the climate science denying Global Warming Policy Foundation. Gove was also previously on the advisory council of Liam Fox’s now defunct neoliberal thinktank The Atlantic Bridge. [9], [10]

Gove drew criticism in December 2014 when, as Tory chief whip, he barred the new energy and climate secretary Amber Rudd from attending the COP20 UN climate negotiations in Lima, Peru, in order for her to be able to vote on counter-terror measures in Parliament. [11]

Gove sits on the fringe of the Brexit climate denier network and is close friends with Breitbart’s climate science denialist reporter James Delingpole. Lord Lawson, founder of the climate science denial group the Global Warming Policy Foundation endorsed Gove for the Tory leadership in 2016. [12], [13], [14]

Gove’s political career includes the following roles: Shadow Minister for Housing from 2005 to 2007 and Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families from 2007 to 2010. He was appointed Secretary of State for Education in May 2010. From July 2014 to May 2015, he served as Government Chief Whip and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury. He was was appointed Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice on 10 May 2015. [2]

Before becoming a politician, Gove worked as a Leader Writer and Editor at The Times. He helped set up the centre-right thinktank, Policy Exchange, acting as its Chairman from 2002-2005. [15]

Stance on Climate Change

November 26, 2018

In a speech on UK government climate change projections, Gove said: [16]

Today, as we launch the fourth generation of our UK Climate Projections, it is clear that the planet and its weather patterns are changing before our eyes.”

Peer-reviewed scientific research states that the rapid warming is substantially due to the methane, nitrous oxide, and fossil fuel emissions we produce.

The great ice sheets of Greenland and some parts of Antarctica are increasingly unstable. Rising seas are rendering the storm surges not only of hurricanes but also regular high tides more of a threat.” [16]

July 2017

In a speech given at environmental charity WWF, Gove said: [17]

It is because environmental degradation is such a threat to future prosperity and security that I deeply regret President Trump’s approach towards the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.”

International co-operation to deal with climate change is critical if we’re to safeguard our planet’s future and the world’s second biggest generator of carbon emissions can’t simply walk out of the room when the heat is on.” [17]

April 10, 2014

Gove said he had “read with concern” a report by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which accused “activist” teachers of trying to turn pupils into “foot soldiers of the green movement.” Andrew Montford, who co-wrote the report and runs the climate-sceptic Bishop Hill blog, said children were being brainwashed for “political ends.” [18]

A spokesman for Gove said: [18]

Schools should not teach that a particular political or ideological point of view is right – indeed it is against the law for them to do so.” [18]

In 2013, while education secretary, Gove planned to exclude climate change from the geography national curriculum but abandoned his plans after public outrage. Ed Davey, then energy secretary, has claimed Gove “couldn’t help playing to the Tory climate-sceptic audience.” One source involved in the rewriting of the curriculum described efforts not to “stress the human causes” of climate change as an attempt to placate the “right wing of the Conservative party”, the BBC reports. Sources close to Gove denied it was an attempt to downplay climate change, claiming instead that it was to be bolstered by being moved from geography to science. [19], [20], [21]

Key Quotes

September 16, 2018 

Gove linked the UK's extreme summer weather with climate change during an interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr show. He said the UK had “a lot more to do” to tackle the issue. [22]

Everyone will have been aware that the weather events of this summer reinforce the nature of climate change and it poses a challenge to us all. Not only do we need to make sure that we produce less carbon into our atmosphere, that greenhouse gas emissions drop, we also need to take steps to deal with that change in our climate,” he said. [22]

October 2017

Gove told the Conservative party conference that pursuing climate policy must not come “at the expense of the economic growth that we also need in order to make sure that our country and other countries are resilient and can deal with the consequences of climate change.” [23]

July 2017

In a speech given at environmental charity WWF, Gove said: [17]

It is because environmental degradation is such a threat to future prosperity and security that I deeply regret President Trump’s approach towards the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.”

International co-operation to deal with climate change is critical if we’re to safeguard our planet’s future and the world’s second biggest generator of carbon emissions can’t simply walk out of the room when the heat is on.” [17]

March 2017

Speaking on Brexit: [24]

If there are regulations which hold any business here back, we now have the potential to amend or even if necessary rescind them.” [24]

February 2014

In a speech at the launch of the Conservative Environmental Network: [25]

One of the other things which Zac [Goldsmith, Conservative MP] scented about me is that he knew that I was one of those characters we call a ‘shy green’. We’re familiar with the concept of shy Tories – people who are naturally Conservative but don’t want to make a song and dance about it. One of the things that I’ve learnt throughout my life is that I’m an environmentalist but a lot of time I didn’t realise it.” [25]

Key Deeds

March 7-10, 2019

Gove spoke at the “World Forum” of the American Enterprise Institute, a free-market thinktank with a history of climate science denial, in Sea Island, Georgia. The cost of the trip, recorded in Parliament's Register of MPs' Financial Interests, came to nearly £7,500 and was covered by the AEI. Private Eye reported that Gove has been attending this yearly event since 2015. [41], [42]

November 30, 2018

Gove gave the annual lecture to Christian thinktank Theos, arguing that a middle ground needs to be pursued between reducing consumption and economic growth, on the one hand, and accelerating innovation and technology, on the other. [26]

He said:

I’m profoundly conscious that the way we have been growing — in population terms and economically — has imposed costs and strains on our planet that require us to have more than just a blind faith that we can carry on as before and all will be well. I fear we are near a tipping-point.” [26]

November 2018

Darwall wrote a report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation entitled “The Climate Change Act at 10: History's most expensive virtue signal” to mark the 10-year anniversary of the UK’s Climate Change Act. [27]

March 27, 2018

Gove met lobbyist Shanker Singham at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to discuss “trade in agri-food and other products.” At the time, Singham had just left the Legatum Institute to become the Director of the International Trade and Competition Unit at the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA). [28]

February 21, 2018

Gove met Rupert Darwall at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to discuss “water services.” Darwall rejects the scientific consensus on climate change and published a book in 2014 called The Age of Global Warming: A History, which he had presented to the Heartland Institute at an event in September 2013. [28], [29], [30]

November 11, 2017

Gove announced he would set up an environmental watchdog to ensure a “green Brexit.” Writing in The Telegraph, he said: [31]

So we will consult on using the new freedoms we have to establish a new, world-leading body to give the environment a voice and hold the powerful to account. It will be independent of Government, able to speak its mind freely.

“And it will be placed on a statutory footing, ensuring it has clear authority. Its ambition will be to champion and uphold environmental standards, always rooted in rigorous scientific evidence.

“We will consult widely on the precise functions, remit and powers of the new body but we are in no doubt that it must have real bite.” [31]

November 1, 2017

Gove met Sir James Dyson at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Dyson is an advisor to the Economists for Free Trade (EFT), a coalition of economists with strong ties to Brexiteer Conservative MPs, right-leaning mainstream media and some well-known climate science deniers pushing for a “no-deal” Brexit. [32], [33]

October 24, 2017

Gove met with the Legatum Institute, known as the “Brexiteers' favourite think tank,” at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to discuss trade matters. [32]

October 16, 2017

Gove chaired a panel at the Institute for Free Trade's (IFT) Global Trade Summit. Climate science denier Matt Ridley also chaired a panel at the event, with the American Enterprise Institute's  (AEI) Mark J Perry speaking. The AEI and Perry have previously pushed a strong deregulatory agenda and have pushed climate disinformation while being funded by notorious fossil fuel magnates, the Koch brothers. [34]

June 11, 2017

Gove was appointed Environment Secretary following the 2017 General Election. [4]

January 2017

Gove, writing for The Times, secured Donald Trump’s first post-election foreign newspaper interview. It later emerged that Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp media empire owns The Times, was in the room during the interview and is believed to have played a key role in orchestrating the interview. [35], [36]

January 2015

Gove voted against laws that would require an environmental permit for gas companies to carry out hydraulic fracturing. [37]

December 2014

Gove, as Tory chief whip, barred the new energy and climate secretary Amber Rudd from attending the UN climate negotiations in Lima, Peru. [38]

March 2013

While education secretary, Gove tried to exclude climate change from geography national curriculum but abandoned his plans after intense pressure from then energy secretary Ed Davey. [39]

June 2013

Gove voted against setting a target range for the amount of greenhouse gases produced per unit of electricity generated. [37]

October 2012

Gove voted against requiring the UK Green Investment Bank to act in support of the UK’s target to reducing carbon emissions to 20 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050. [37]

Affiliations

Social Media

Publications

Some samples of Gove’s writing for The Telegraph below:

Resources

  1. Michael Gove,” BBC Newsnight, April 22, 2009. Archived March 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/66epf

  2. Rt Hon Michael Gove MP,” Parliament. Archived March 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/jjrtd

  3. Anushka Asthana. “Michael Gove: from 'shy green' to 'full-throated environmentalist'?The Guardian, November 12, 2017. Archived March 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/LIuT6

  4. Jessica Elgot. “Michael Gove appointed environment secretary in cabinet reshuffle,” The Guardian, June 11, 2017. Archived March 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/XEKmO

  5. Lizzy Buchan. “Michael Gove denies knowledge of £625k Vote Leave donation amid Brexit referendum 'cheating' claims,” The Independent, March 28, 2018. Archived March 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/U8dtr

  6. Denis Doherty. “Brexit: The history of the Tories' influential European Research Group,” BBC News, January 19, 2018. Archived March 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/BKvAo

  7. Jessica Elgot, Peter Walker. “Michael Gove to stand for Conservative party leadership,” The Guardian, June 30, 2016. Archived March 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/LzFyC

  8. Daniel Dunford, Ashley Kirk. “Tory leadership contest: How Theresa May's victory over Andrea Leadsom unfolded,” The Telegraph, July 11, 2016. Archived March 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/UNnn8

  9. Mat Hope, Richard Collett-White. “Mapped: How Brexit Lobbyists Give Climate Science Deniers Privileged Access to the UK Government,” DeSmog, July 3, 2018.

  10. Jamie Doward. “Liam Fox's Atlantic Bridge linked top Tories and Tea Party activists,” The Guardian, October 15, 2011. Archived March 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/7YZG4

  11. Patrick Wintour. “Michael Gove bars Tory minister Amber Rudd from Lima climate change talks,” The Guardian, December 7, 2014. Archived March 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/aR9SF

  12. Kyla Mandel. “Mapped: The Cosy Climate-Euro Sceptic Bubble Pushing for Brexit and Less Climate Action,” DeSmog, June 13, 2016.

  13. James Delingpole. “Why my ferociously loyal friend Michael Gove may have ditched Boris,” The Telegraph, July 1, 2016. Archived March 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/lrfNe

  14. Lord Lawson backs Michael Gove for next Prime Minister,” ITV News, July 4, 2016. Archived March 8, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/CgjLX

  15. Michael Gove,” BBC Newsnight, April 22, 2009. Archived March 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/66epf

  16. Michael Gove Speech on UK Climate Change Projections,” Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, November 26, 2018. Archived March 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/4RJuw

  17. Ian Johnston. “Michael Gove slams Trump over climate change saying US is ‘walking out when the heat is on’,” The Independent, July 21, 2017. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/W7MYf

  18. Daniel Martin. “Heads are breaking the law if they preach eco agenda, warns Gove: Education Secretary's 'concern' at report that accuses 'activist' teachers,” Daily Mail, April 10, 2014. Archived March 11, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/kj2gC

  19. Keep climate change lessons in curriculum, urge petitions,” BBC News, April 15, 2013. Archived March 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/g1pCi

  20. Ed Davey. “Recalling Michael Gove is an act of environmental vandalism,” The Guardian, June 13, 2017. Archived March 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/5GCii

  21. Did Michael Gove really try to stop teaching climate change?BBC News, June 12, 2017. Archived March 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/8c9bF

  22. Jasmin Gray. “Michael Gove Links UK's Extreme Summer Weather With Climate Change,” Huffington Post, September 16, 2018. Archived March 11, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/eWtWq

  23. Mat Hope. “Gove: Climate Policy Must Not Come ‘at the Expense of Economic Growth’,” DeSmog, October 3, 2017.

  24. Jon Stone. “Slash EU regulations on wildlife protection and drug safety trials after Brexit, Michael Gove urges,” The Independent, March 25, 2017. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/PXDG1

  25. Michael Gove’s speech at the Conservative Environment Network launch: full text,” Blue & Green Tomorrow, February 27, 2014. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/2B3CY

  26. Tim Wyatt. “Michael Gove: environment crisis requires ‘radical fusion’ of arguments,” Church Times, November 30, 2018. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/LauRY

  27. The Climate Change Act at 10: History's most expensive virtue signal,” Global Warming Policy Foundation, November 2018. Archived March 11, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/TYbQa

  28. Defra's ministerial meetings, January to March 2018,” Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/mOZRE

  29. Richard Girling. “The Age of Global Warming: A History by Rupert Darwall,” The Times, April 14, 2013. Archived March 27, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/IIPN1

  30. Heartland Author Series: The Age of Global Warming - Rupert Darwall,” Heartland Institute, September 26, 2013. Archived September 11, 2014. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/knb0R

  31. Michael Gove. “Outside the EU we will become the world-leading curator of the most precious asset of all: our planet,” The Telegraph, November 11, 2017. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/VPAhx

  32. Defra's ministerial meetings, October to December 2017,” Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/a0SEI

  33. Chloe Farand. “Economists for Free Trade: Meet the 'Independent Experts' with Ties to Climate Science Denial Pushing a No Deal Brexit,” DeSmog, August 12, 2018.

  34. “@michaelgove chairs a panel with @AlexanderDowner and @tutoquiroga at the IFT Global Trade Summit: how to put #freetrade into practice,” Tweet by @IFTtweets on October 16, 2017. Retrieved from Twitter.com. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.

  35. Heather Stewart. “Michael Gove secures first post-election UK interview with Trump,” The Guardian, January 15, 2017. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/KiMdI

  36. Jane Martinson. “Rupert Murdoch was in room for Michael Gove's Donald Trump interview,” The Guardian, February 9, 2017. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/Krf1l

  37. May Bulman. “Cabinet reshuffle: New Environment Secretary Michael Gove’s voting record on green issues,” The Independent, June 12, 2017. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/9SzGS

  38. Kyla Mandel. “Here’s What Amber Rudd Missed When She Didn’t go to the Lima Climate Talks Last Year,” DeSmog, November 5, 2015.

  39. Juliette Jowit. “Climate debate cut from national curriculum for children up to 14,” The Guardian, March 17, 2013. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/fvj9e

  40. Michael Gove,” The Telegraph. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/3r0N8

  41. REGISTER OF MEMBERSFINANCIAL INTERESTS as at 1 April 2019,” Parliament.uk. Archived April 8, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  42. Gove Island,” Private Eye No. 1493 5 April - 18 April, 2019. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.

Other Resources

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