Brendan O'Neill

How the UK's Climate Science Deniers Turned Their Attention to COVID-19

Read time: 16 mins
COVID and climate deniers

On December 31, 2019 many of us were reflecting on the past year and thinking about what opportunities lay ahead. Few were paying close attention to early reports of unexplained cases of pneumonia thousands of miles away in Wuhan, the large capital city of China’s Hubei Province.

But less than three months later, on March 23, Boris Johnson was ordering a national lockdown to try and stop that virus, by then known worldwide as COVID-19, from raging across the UK. This came 52 days after the chief medical officer of England had confirmed the nation’s first two cases.

The coronavirus crisis once again saw the UK divided — between those putting their trust in public health experts and their recommendations, and those quick to question the science on which the government claimed to base its decisions for controlling the pandemic. For those who have watched the decades-long efforts to slow climate action, this was a familiar phenomenon. And the coronavirus pandemic seemed to give fresh ammunition to some familiar faces.

Climate Science Deniers Use Coronavirus to Downplay Environmental Threats

Read time: 7 mins
Virus illustration

Commentators known to spread disinformation on climate change are using the COVID-19 pandemic to downplay the threat of environmental crises and undermine action, DeSmog analysis has found.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill


  • O’Neill’s educational background is unknown.


Brendan O’Neill is the editor of Spiked, an online libertarian magazine that aims to “change the world as well as report on it”, according to its website. [1], [2]

Read time: 10 mins




Spiked is a UK-based online magazine and podcast series that aims to “change the world as well as report on it” and fight for “humanism, democracy and freedom”, according to its website. [1]

Read time: 17 mins

Comment: Of Course These Climate Science Deniers Jumped to Bolsonaro's Defence Over Amazon Fires

Read time: 4 mins
Jair Bolsanaro

The burning of the Amazon rainforest has unified the public in shock and fear like no other event in recent times. It has become a symbol of where ecocide meets human suffering.

Dismay at the destruction has come from diverse voices ⁠— from world leaders meeting at the G7 to indigenous people directly affected. But even in this moment, a cabal of commentators tied to networks pushing climate science denial have used their platform to defend the destruction.

Dodgy Deals, Climate Denial, and People Power — DeSmog UK's 2018 Year in Review

Read time: 9 mins
DeSmog UK frontpages

It has been quite a year - Brexit (still), Trump (still), and the inevitable crescendo towards the annual climate talks (which delivered a deal many think falls way short of the necessary action to avoid catastrophic climate change).

With the jingle bells ringing, and everyone rushing to get the 5.01pm train home for Christmas, now seems a good time to reflect on the year that’s (almost) past.

Revealed: US Oil Billionaire Charles Koch Funds UK Anti-Environment Spiked Network

Read time: 17 mins
Charles Koch and Spiked

For years, people have speculated about who is behind a shadowy group of well-connected ‘free speech advocates’ spreading far-right ideologies and climate science denial.

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