Shanker Singham

These Agribusiness Groups With Ties to Climate Denial are Trying to Influence the US-UK Trade Deal

Read time: 17 mins
US UK trade deals and agribusiness interests

This story is a part of Covering Climate Now’s week of coverage focused on stories with the theme of 'climate politics'. Covering Climate Now is a global journalism collaboration committed to strengthening coverage of the climate story. 

The ongoing US-UK trade talks have been seen by some lobby groups as an opportunity to strip back environmental and food safety regulations to allow them to sell products – pesticides, hormone-fed meat, genetically modified crops (GMOs), and chemicals – that have been previously banned under EU law. The groups represent industries worth billions of dollars, and are supported by some of the world’s largest polluters. 

They are also backed by thinktanks and campaign groups with histories of obstructing climate action and ties to funders of climate science denial, and are affiliated with UK organisations closely connected to the UK's Department for International Trade, DeSmog can reveal.

Global Vision

Global Vision

Background

Global Vision (also known as Global Vision UK) is a Brexit-focused media outlet that provides “an online home” for “all those wanting to follow the next chapter as the UK begins the process of negotiating our future relationship with both the EU and the wider world,” according to its website. [1]

Read time: 11 mins

Government Appoints Lobbyists with US Agribusiness Ties to Trade and Agriculture Commission

Read time: 5 mins
Chickens

A commission set up to advise the government on maintaining “animal welfare and environmental standards” in post-Brexit trade deals includes two leading figures from a pro-deregulation thinktank known to offer “intimate” access to UK ministers for US agribusinesses. 

Shanker Singham and Sir Lockwood Smith from the libertarian Institute of Economic Affairs have been named members of the commission. Singham’s association with the IEA was initially listed on the government website before being removed, with Smith’s affiliation not listed at all.

How Dark Money From Overseas Flows Into Boris Johnson's Government

Read time: 3 mins

With Boris Johnson sauntering into Downing Street having recrafted his own script from guffawing jester to grave populist, swathes of right-wing lobbyists have stealthed their way from the fringes of Westminster to the heart of government.

We know this, because we've been watching this slow erosion of democracy for years. In the time since the Brexit referendum, we and others have sought to uncover the connections of those now in the cabinet –  the money and friendly relationships behind the big changes taking place in Britain.

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”.

Hard-Brexit Lobbyists Demand UK Roll-Back Environmental Standards to Strike Free Trade Deals with India, China and US

Read time: 6 mins
Brexit

Hardline Brexiters are calling on the UK government to cut EU environmental regulations to secure free-trade deals with the US, China and India after Brexit. Environmental NGOs said the plans were not credible if the UK was to fulfil its own environmental commitments, warning that the Brexit vote was not a mandate to lower standards.

The alternative Brexit plan, which is backed by former Brexit secretary David Davis and former foreign secretary Boris Johnson and was published today by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), claims that if the UK continues to strengthen its regulatory environment, it will lead to “wealth destruction” and will “push people into poverty”.

The report slams the EU as saddling the UK with regulations that are “damaging to growth” and singles out environmental protection rules as one of the areas where EU regulation is “moving in an anti-competitive direction”.

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: 12 mins

How Hard-Brexit Thinktank the Institute for Economic Affairs Helps Climate Science Deniers Push a Deregulation Agenda

Read time: 7 mins
IEA director general Mark Littlewood and Michael Gove

A thinktank has been helping climate science deniers push their agenda on government ministers through its lobbying activities for a UK-US free trade deal, which could see the UK import products such as genetically modified (GM) beef and chlorinated chicken, an undercover investigation by Greenpeace’s Unearthed published in the Guardian reveals.

It exposed how the free-market thinktank the Institute for Economic Affairs is playing a pivotal role in enabling behind-the-scene discussions about a US-UK trade deal while advocating for a hard-Brexit with cabinet ministers.

The Unearthed investigation and a response published by the IEA, seen by DeSmog UK, also reveals details of how climate science deniers, including Tory hereditary peer and coal baron Matt Ridley and DUP MP Sammy Wilson, advocate for deregulation — including on food and environmental standards — as part of the IEA’s push for a hard-Brexit and stronger trans-Atlantic commercial links.

Ruth Lea

Ruth Lea

Credentials

Background

Read time: 7 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.

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