Who is funding the climate change denial groups?

Have a look at Hot Topic’s Puppets on a string: US think tank funds NZ sceptics. A nice little exposure of how some of the local climate change denier groups get finance. We need more of these sorts of investigations.

Which brings me to the Guardian’s article Climate scientists back call for sceptic think-tank to reveal backers. Who funds the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a London-based climate sceptic think-tank chaired by the former Conservative chancellor Lord Lawson? Many have been asking this. The group has been very active, and quite effective, in high publicity campaigns aimed at discrediting climate science and scientists. In particular it has attacked any real or perceived attempt by institutes to restrict availability of data.

Good on them, you might say. And who could disagree with Lawson’s 2010 statement:

“Proper scientists, scientists of integrity, they reveal, and voluntarily they wish to reveal, all their data and all their methods; they do not need a Freedom of Information Act request to force it out of them.”

And he added:

“Integrity means you show everything, absolutely.”

But he sings a different tune when asked who is funding his organisation. He just refuses to reveal the identity of his big donors. Understandably many accuse him of double standards. (I have experienced exactly the same hypocrisy from local denier groups when I have asked for copies of their data and methodology.) And so far he has had the state bodies on his side – a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request to the Charity Commission for it to make public a bank statement it holds revealing the name of the educational charity’s seed donor, who gave £50,000 when it launched in 2009, has been denied.

This Friday that decision is being appealed on the grounds that the public interest will be served by ending the secrecy around the financing of Lawson’s charity. Brendan Montague, the director of an organisation called the Request Initiative, a “community interest company that makes Freedom of Information Act requests on behalf of charities, NGOs and non-profits”, is heading the appeal. He said:

“Lord Lawson’s thinktank, which has been bankrolled by shadowy funders, is lobbying government for a change in climate policy that would affect the lives of millions of people. The privacy of wealth has so far been valued above public accountability, even by our own civic institutions. The democratic principle of transparency is breached when a former chancellor can sit in the House of Lords influencing government policy on matters as important as climate change while accepting funding for his thinktank from secret supporters.”

This appeal has won support from climate scientists around the world who have often been the target of FOI requests. Some would say they have been harrased by such requests.

There is also an on-line petition (see Tell Climate Sceptic Think Tank to Disclose Funding). It declares: “a registered charity should not be hiding who is behind it, especially when its main aim is to change public opinion. Support the scientists’ request and insist that the public learn what is actually going on.”

Reminds me of a few sayings – What’s source for the goose is sauce for the gander. And people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

I’ll keep an eye open for the judge’s ruling.

Similar articles

About these ads

16 responses to “Who is funding the climate change denial groups?

  1. The hottopic link doesn’t work – it should be http://hot-topic.co.nz/puppets-on-a-string-us-think-tank-funds-nz-sceptics/.

    Also, you have a misspelling – “ahve been asking this.”

    Thanks for the info, though!

    Like

  2. Thanks George – haven’t quite woken up yet.

    But it’s now fixed.

    Like

  3. Nanny state communism.
    Don’t you people realize that all those “scientists” are using your tax dollars? What about that, eh? Big government! That’s what it’s really about.
    Besides there is no consensus. And consensus is not important in science.
    Many respected scientists and philosophers blah, blah, blah…
    Until we have magic, absolute proof blah, blah,blah..
    Therefore, keep smoking.

    tobacco_papers

    Like

  4. Pingback: Funding the puppets of denial « The Standard

  5. I would love to know who funds the denial groups. I also want to know who funds the alarmist groups. I’m sure there are some nasty but interesting skeletons in both closets.

    Like

  6. Richard Christie

    I also want to know who funds the alarmist groups.

    What alarmist groups? Be specific.

    Like

  7. The Guardian has also had an interesting piece this week about Australia’s plan to force cigarettes to be ‘plain packaged’. There were many blogger responses to the article and the hand of the tobacco industry is plain to see, disguised as individual bloggers.

    Like

  8. I’m sure there are some nasty but interesting skeletons in both closets.

    The magical balance fairy just entered the room.
    Fact free assertions are a poor substitute for reality.
    Sometimes, one side is just in the wrong.

    Eugenie Scott: Creationists and Climate Deniers – Using the same tactics

    Like

  9. Personally, I think funding for all advocacy groups should be transparent. And in this sort of area science funding certainly is.

    As for “alarmists” – alarmism is often used as a political tactic. it is certainly used by many climate deniers – I pointed this out in my review of Ian Wishart’s denier/alarmist book. He based it all on political alarmism – that climate science was a hoax imposed on us by a communist/greenie/capitalist/imperialist/socialist/UN/etc., conspiracy.

    Like

  10. Richard Christie

    I think the term alarmist should be embraced by those who communicate the scientific consensus on AGW.

    When a building is on fire only morons condemn those who raise the alarm.

    Like

  11. When your doctor tells you that you need a biopsy then she’s being an alarmist. It’s alarming to be told that you might have a tumor.
    When the results come back and confirm that you have a tumor that needs immediate surgery then, yes, that’s alarming.
    When you go for a second and a third opinion and all the oncologists are telling you the same thing after multiple, independent tests then that’s alarming.
    Terrifying, in fact.
    Denial is a very human reaction to alarming news.
    Nobody wants to be told they have cancer. It’s the last thing you want to hear. Yet reality will not go away just because it scares you.

    Climate change denier James Delingpole doesn’t do science

    Like

  12. “When you go for a second and a third opinion and all the oncologists are telling you the same thing after multiple, independent tests then that’s alarming.”

    True, but what would you think when all of the oncologists agree the only way cure your cancer is to invest a small amount of money every year in their private health clinic?

    And then they insist that you hurry and invest now before you surpass the cancer tipping point, which just happens to coinside with the clinic’s lease renewal in 2012.

    Like

  13. “What alarmist groups? Be specific.”

    Well lets see, I would love to know the people who fund organizations like British Ecological Society, the Environmental Law Foundation, Ethical Consumer, Fairtrade Foundation, Friends Of The Earth UK, Greenpeace UK, the IES, the WWF just to name a few. And I would also like to see just who they fund in turn.

    I think there might be some interesting skeletons in those closets, the media would have a field day.

    The magical balance fairy just left the room.

    cheers

    Like

  14. Richard Christie

    I think there might be some interesting skeletons in those closets, the media would have a field day.

    You think so, do you?
    Not that you’ve undertaken any inquiries whatsoever.

    The magical balance fairy just left the room.

    …yes, an ignominious exit after letting slip that this fairy is anything but balanced, preferring instead to believe that the world’s scientific community are shysters after investment for private profiteering.

    Like

  15. Klem – regarding the UK organisations you mention – most of them are charities and there will be information on their financing available. have a look and when you find something like a half millions pound cheque providing seeding finance and a donor who is kept secret let us know. That is the time to talk about skeletons in cupboards.

    Klem – you scenario about oncologists strikes me personally. My partner had a possibly cancerous tumour removed 3 years ago – thankfully as she would be dead now if we had worried about the taxes we pay for a health system or the cost of the operation. Or had chosen your cynical explanation of the surgeon’s motives.

    Even so, I wish we had been more alarmed and reacted more quickly as that may have prevented the spread of the cancer and she would not have to have suffered 3 years of chemo therapy, and a somewhat doubtful prognosis of life expectancy.

    I myself thought my cardiologist was being alarmist (or at least after my money) when he recommended I have an angiogram last year. My conspiracy theory about his motives were allayed by discussion with my GP and the angiogram enabled introduction of one stent and revealed another narrowing had healed itself. I believe that was also lifesaving as another heart attack was imminent. And sensible action on my part has given me a life expectancy unthreatened by cardiac events in the near future.

    So I am happy to pay my taxes and market rates for treatments. Sure, I have issues with inefficiencies and ways out health system is organised (who doesn’t). But I am extremely glad that we have experts and am willing to listen to them and take there advice.

    I believe such a sensible approach is lifesaving. I can just imagine that if I adopted your conspiracy theory, ignored the advise of these health experts and propounded a completely cynical alternative explanation for their advice in my denial I would have been cutting off my nose to spite my face.

    And both my partner and I would now be dead!

    So perhaps you can see why I find your arguments extremely silly.

    Like

  16. True, but what would you think when all of the oncologists agree the only way cure your cancer is to invest a small amount of money every year in their private health clinic?

    That is stupid. There’s no other way to describe it.
    Who’s private health clinic? It can’t be “theirs” because there is no “they”.
    Multiple, independent tests, remember?
    Abandon the global conspiracy theories. The scientific communities of the world are not out to get you.

    Well lets see, I would love to know the people who fund organizations like British Ecological Society…

    Why should you care? Climate change is about reality.
    Science is the study of reality. The only organizations you should be listening to are scientific ones. All of them.
    NASA is a good start. The Royal Society is good too. Then there’s NOAA and the British Antarctic Survey and the CSIRO, the AGU and the RMet etc.
    Pick your own top five, ten or one hundred scientific communities and check out their websites and the work they do in the field.
    They are all on board with the science.

    If you want to know if you have cancer or not then you go to the medical community.
    If you want to know something about physics then you go the physics community.
    If you want to know something about climate change then you go to the climatology community and to all the supporting Earth Sciences.

    Don’t be a moron. Global Konspiracy theories are for suckers.
    NASA didn’t lie to you about the moon landings.
    NASA is not lying to you now about climate change.

    How good are climate models? NASA, climate data & modeling (BBC, 2011)

    Like

Leave a Reply: please be polite to other commenters & no ad hominems.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s