Peter Lilley

Peter Lilley

Background

Peter Lilley is a former British Conservative Party MP who sits on the Board of Trustees of the UK climate science denying thinktank the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). He represented the Hitchin and Harpenden constituency from 1997 to 2017, previously holding the seat for St Albans 1983.

Lilley has a record of consistently voting against policy measures to tackle climate change, including in 2008 when he was one of three MPs to vote against the UK’s Climate Change Act.

He is a former member of the Government's Environmental Audit Committee and the UK Parliament’s Energy and Climate Change Committee, which examines the policies of the government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Since 2006, Lilley has also been a non-executive board member of Tethys Petroleum, a Cayman Islands-based oil and gas company with drilling operations in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. This was declared on the register of MPs’ financial interests. In 2012 for example, he earned £47,000. And according to the Guardian he received share options worth at least $400,000.

A DeSmog investigation also revealed in 2012 that Lilley was being paid $300 an hour to advise an Indian company building a coal fired power station.

Stance on Climate Change

Peter Lilley has described himself as a “global lukewarmist”. He argues that while he accepts carbon dioxide does have a warming effect on the planet, this effect is unknown and could be beneficial for plants.

Key Quotes

A list of key quotes by Lilley on climate change was compiled by The Guardian in 2012. It includes:

“Scientists would rather change facts than their theories.”

“I hope that we will listen to those scientists, many of whom are in government employ, who have warned against alarmist views, and that we will take a more consensual view of the basic minimum science that is agreed and open that up to debate and discussion, without trying to silence those who disagree by calling them 'deniers' and equating them with holocaust deniers. As I said, I am not a denier – I am a lukewarmer – but even those who deny the existence of anthropological global warming deserve to be heard, just as the alarmists do, and it is sad that we have heard only one or two such views expressed in the house today.”

“My overall position on global warming is that, as a physicist — I studied physics at Cambridge — I am not one of those who deny that carbon dioxide emissions heat the planet. They do have that effect, although there is less certainty about how much the complex feedback effects that climate models seek to replicate may amplify the comparatively modest effect of increasing CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. Nonetheless, in my view it is wise to take measures to prevent and to adapt to global warming, and it is sensible to try to assess the costs and benefits of action and inaction to ensure that we adopt the most cost-effective approach.”

“The tendency of those committed to the theory of catastrophic man-made global warming to unquestioningly adopt the assumptions, at every stage, that maximise the expectation of calamity should alert us that groupthink is driving the movement.”

“The simple fact is that, since the beginning of this century, the average global temperature has flatlined; indeed, over the past 18 months it has fallen back, and according to the satellite measurements of temperature, it is now basically back at the level it was in 1979, when such measurements started to be taken.”

Key Deeds

January 2018

Lilley was involved in a Channel 4 sting over politicians being offered cash to advise on Brexit. Lilley denied the allegations and reported Channel 4 to Ofcom over the programme.

April 2017

Ahead of the UK 2017 General Election Lilley stepped down as an MP for Hitchin and Harpenden after 34 years with the Conservative Party.

December 2016

A report entitled “The Cost of the Climate Change Act” was authored by Lilley for the GWPF. In it he claims that climate policy will cost the nation £319 billion.

July 2015

Lilley joined the GWPF along with Labour MP Graham Stringer as members of the Board of Trustees.

July 2014

Lilley was one of two MPs to vote against the Energy and Climate Change Committee’s acceptance of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) conclusion that humans are the dominant cause of global warming.

During this same month, Lilley attended a meeting in the House of Commons organised by climate science denier and Northern Ireland politician Sammy Wilson. The meeting was organised on behalf of “Repeal the Act”, a group that argues the “climate is always changing” and seeks to repeal the UK’s Climate Change Act.

October 2012

Lilley wrote a letter to the BBC’s director of editorial policy and standards complaining about the broadcaster’s “systemic bias” in its climate change reporting.

September 2012

A report entitled “What is Wrong with Stern: The Failings of the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change” is authored by Peter Lilley for the GWPF.  Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science, described Lilley’s GWPF report as being based on “misrepresentations and bad economics”.

October 2008

Lilley was one of only three MPs who voted against the Climate Change Act. He claims one reason for doing so was because it was snowing in October which he argued showed winters weren’t warming.

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