Chloe Farand

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Report: 90 Percent of World’s Largest 200 Industrial Firms Are Using Trade Associations to Oppose Climate Policy

Read time: 7 mins
Big companies are using trade associations to oppose climate action

Nearly all of the world’s largest 200 industrial companies have directly or indirectly opposed climate policy since the landmark Paris Agreement was signed three years ago, according to new research.  

Analysis by InfluenceMap, a UK-based think tank, examined the lobbying activities of 200 of the world’s biggest companies and 75 of the most powerful trade groups and the links between them since December 2015.

It found that 30 percent of all companies analysed have directly lobbied against climate policy in the last three years and that 90 percent of them retain membership to trade associations which have actively opposed climate policy around the world.  

How the Voices of Tufton Street Brexit Lobbyists and Climate Science Deniers Become Embedded in the Mainstream Press

Read time: 10 mins
Tufton Street network connections with right-wing media

As the deadline looms for a final Brexit agreement between the EU and the UK, the Leave and Remain camps are readying for a second campaign over the nature of the UK’s future relationship with the union.

Both camps will seek to push their arguments into the British press, hoping to convince late-comers to their cause.

While national newspapers have long taken a stance on Brexit, op-eds, columns and opinion pieces will be a key tool for lobbyist from both sides of the debate to push their agenda into the public sphere.

Research by DeSmog UK shows how a network of hard-Brexit think tanks pushing for deregulation and with links to climate science deniers has secured a footing in the mainstream press.

Santander Forced To Distance Itself From Climate Science Denial Conference

Read time: 4 mins
A UK branch of Santander

Santander has been forced to distance itself from a climate science denial conference after its logo was published on the event’s website without the bank’s knowledge.

The bank, which is one of the world’s biggest, told DeSmog UK it was not a sponsor of the climate science denial conference taking place in Porto, Portugal, at the end of this week.

However, Santander admitted giving money to the University of Porto, where the conference is being held, to “support investigation and research” but added that it did not oversee how the money was spent.

The conference, called “Basic science of a changing climate: How processes in the sun, atmosphere and ocean affect weather and climate” says it is “open to different opinions and interpretations of changing climate”.

‘People Have Been Frightened Into Silence’ — Campaigners Warn of Threat to Rights from Oil Drilling Injunction

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Environmental campaigners fighting against UKOG's plans in Surrey and Sussex

Dissent is not a crime”.

That is the battle cry of a group of six women campaigners defending their right to protest against a fossil fuel company which sought a wide-ranging injunction to restrict direct action at drilling sites.

Known locally as the “Surrey and Sussex Six”, the campaigners backed by Friends of the Earth opposed an injunction issued by UK Oil and Gas (UKOG), a company which plans to develop onshore oil drilling in the south east of England.

French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot in Shock Resignation over Lack of Action

Read time: 4 mins
Nicolas Hulot at Cop23 in Bonn

French environment minister Nicolas Hulot has resigned live on national radio in a surprise move that will come as a blow to President Emmanuel Macron’s green credentials.

Hulot, a former broadcaster known in France for his wildlife and conservation documentaries, told France Inter that he had taken the decision to quit the government, saying he had felt alone in pushing for more ambitious climate policies and an energy transition to take place in France.

I don't want to lie to myself anymore. I don't want to give the illusion that my presence in the French government shows that we are doing what it takes to face these challenges. I have taken the decision to leave the government.”

This is about being sincere with myself,” he said.

Economists for Free Trade: Meet the 'Independent Experts' with Ties to Climate Science Denial Pushing a No Deal Brexit

Read time: 8 mins
Economists for Free Trade network

A pro-Brexit campaign group with ties to a neoliberal transatlantic network and climate science denial is emerging as a potentially influential player pushing for environmental deregulation and a “no deal” scenario.

Economists for Free Trade (EFT), formerly known as Economists for Brexit, has made the news recently following its report claiming that a cliff edge Brexit and adoption of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules would be “the very best” option for the UK.

The group claims to be a coalition of independent economists, but it has strong ties to Brexiteer Conservative MPs, right-leaning mainstream media and some well-known climate science deniers.

The group has long been pushing for a full break-up with the EU and has accused the Treasury and civil servants of misleading the public on the costs of Brexit and staying in the customs union.

The group’s findings that “no deal would be better than a bad deal” have contradicted most other studies on the issue and have been widely criticised as “doubly misleading”.

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.

Government Recruits Fracking Commissioner to 'Facilitate Communication' With Residents

Read time: 5 mins
Preston New Road site

The UK government is recruiting a shale gas commissioner to “facilitate communication” with residents and push what is sees as the benefits of a new fossil fuel industry. The position was announced days before the government gave the go-ahead for fracking to start in Lancashire.

The new role of shale commissioner has been described by the government as “an independent appointment” which will have no powers of enforcement or investigation but will aim to “improve local understanding of shale gas operations by directing concerned local parties to relevant and impartial fact based information”.

Mapped: Whistleblower Accuses Nine Organisations of Colluding over Hard Brexit

Read time: 6 mins
55 Tufton Street network

Nine right-wing organisations including think tanks pushing disinformation about climate change have been accused of mounting a coordinated campaign to push for a hard Brexit, according to court documents.

Whistleblower Shahmir Sanni, formerly of youth campaign group BeLeave, claims that think tanks and campaign groups held regular meeting at 55 Tufton Street — an office close to Westminster and home to the climate science denial group the Global Warming Policy Foundation — to “agree on a single set of right-wing talking points” and “securing more exposure to the public”.

Some of the topics discussed allegedly included “new policy announcement by the Labour Party, developments in the Brexit negotiations, or any other political news story”.

The accusations were made in documents from an employment tribunal setting out Sanni’s case  against pressure group the TaxPayers’ Alliance, which he has accused of unfair dismissal after he spoke out about illegal behaviour at Vote Leave, the official pro-Brexit campaign group.

New Health Secretary Matt Hancock Receives an Annual £4,000 Cash Bundle From Climate Science Denier Funder

Read time: 3 mins
Matt Hancock

The new health secretary Matt Hancock has received £18,000 from a key donor to the UK’s climate science denial think tank over the last four years, according to official government figures.

Hancock, who was promoted to health secretary in Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle following a dramatic day of resignations over the Prime Minister Brexit’s plan, has received regular cash from Neil Record, who has repeatedly argued that the science of climate change is not “settled”.