cato institute

US Donors Gave $177k to UK Climate Science Denying Global Warming Policy Foundation

Read time: 3 mins
Nigel Lawson

The UK’s premier climate science denial campaign group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), received hundreds of thousands of dollars of US donations in 2017, recently published tax returns show.

The money was received at a time when the GWPF was allegedly coordinating with eight other right-wing thinktanks based in and around offices at 55 Tufton Street to push for a hard Brexit.

Another of the groups, the Taxpayers’ Alliance, received at least $286,000 (£223,300) from US-based donors in the last five years, the Guardian recently revealed — raising concerns about the influence of foreign money at a time when lobby groups are pushing to cut regulation to secure trade deals with major polluters such as India, China and the US.

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.

Politeia

Politeia

Politeia is a free-market organisation established in 1995 that aims to act as “a forum for discussing economic, constitutional and social policy”, according to its website.

Read time: 3 mins

From Donald Trump to Theresa May: How a US-UK Network Pushes Climate Science Denial and Lobbies for a Hard Brexit — Mapped

Read time: 7 mins
Network map of US-UK climate science deniers

Donald Trump has finally come to the UK, 20 months after he won the election to make him the 45th President of the United States.

During that time, a trans-Atlantic network of business people, think tank analysts, and lobbyists have grown in influence — pushing a free market ideology and spreading climate science denial on both sides of the Atlantic.

DeSmog UK first mapped the network when Trump was sworn into office in January 2017. Things have moved on a bit since then.

Trans-Atlantic Network of Hard Brexit Climate Science Deniers Plotting ‘Shadow’ US-UK Trade Talks

Read time: 6 mins
Brexit trade talks

Representatives from thinktanks on both sides of the Atlantic heavily involved in lobbying for Brexit and spreading disinformation on climate change are set to meet to formulate their vision for a UK-US trade deal.

The “shadow trade talks” will be hosted by London’s IFT (formerly the Institute for Free Trade), led by Conservative MEP and hard Brexit advocate Daniel Hannan. The group plans to reveal its version of an “ideal” trade agreement later this year.

According to documents originally uncovered by Greenpeace’s investigative unit, UnEarthed, the coalition will seek to significantly weaken existing regulations. This would allow for controversial changes, such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-reared beef imports to be sold in the UK for the first time.

David Herro

David Herro

Background

David Herro is a US stockbroker and investment chief at Harris Associates. A Republican donor, Herro told the Financial Times in 2015 that he was a funder of the UK climate science denial group the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

Read time: 2 mins

The Koch and Exxon Funded Think Tanks Supporting, and Being Courted by, Britain’s Brexit Campaigners

Read time: 7 mins
Owen Paterson speaking at the Heritage Foundation

The Republican National Convention kicks off this week in Cleveland, Ohio and among the crowd clamouring to see Donald Trump will be one man who crossed the Atlantic to be there: Nigel Farage.

The former head of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) helped lead Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (EU) and is famous for saying last year “I haven’t got a clue whether climate change is being driven by carbon-dioxide emissions.”

But he’s made the trip this week to deliver a message to Republicans that the UK’s vote to leave the EU, or ‘Brexit’, holds lessons for America.

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. 

Republican Donor Stands by Scandal-Rocked UK Climate Denial Charity He Helped to Fund

Read time: 3 mins

Republican donor David Herro is standing by Lord Lawson’s UK climate change science denying charity – which he helped to fund – amidst allegations that its peer review process is flawed.

In December 2015, Greenpeace revealed that one of the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s (GWPF) leading academic advisers Professor William Happer offered to write an academic paper casting doubt on climate change on behalf of a fictitious oil company. Happer suggested this paper be reviewed under the GWPF’s ‘peer review process’.

When asked whether these revelations have any impact on his decision to fund the GWPF, Herro responded stating: “No comment till proof is provided of an unethical behavior.”

Study Finds The 'Era of Climate Science Denial Is Not Over'

Read time: 4 mins

Conservative think tanks in the United States are a sort of “ground zero” for the production of doubt about the links between fossil fuel burning and dangerous climate change.

These think tanks produce reports, hold conferences, write books, go on television, produce columns and blogs and generally and liberally splatter the public discourse with talking points.

You’ll have heard their manufactured doubt everywhere.  CO2 is great for the planet… fossil fuels are good… climate scientists are wrong… the world has been hotter in the past… cutting emissions will kill the economy.” That sort of thing.

But there has been speculation that as the world continues to break heat records, and as oceans rise and the science sends ever more clear and urgent signals, that the focus of these think tanks will shift away from attacking the science to discussing policy.

Now a new study published in the journal Global Environmental Change has declared unambiguously “the era of climate science denial is not over”.

Dr Travis Coan, of the University of Exeter, and Dr Constantine Boussalis, of Trinity College Dublin, analysed 16,000 articles, reports, transcripts, letters, reviews and press releases from the websites of 19 conservative think tanks, mainly based in the U.S, who work on climate change.

In the study, Boussalis and Coan discuss how commentators had been speculating about an end of climate science denial for more than a decade.

Analysing documents from 1998 until mid-2013, Boussalis and Coan found that think tanks had in recent years been focusing less on policy and more on attacking the science.

Pages

Subscribe to cato institute