Exposed: Two Funders of Lord Lawson's Climate Denial Charity Linked to Energy Industry

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Lord Lawson’s climate denial charity has accepted secret donations from a consultant who worked for the nuclear industry and a wealthy Tory peer who claims to have been the first person in Britain to have built subsidised wind farms.

An investigation by DeSmog UK has identified two funders of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) who have both during their careers had vested interests in the energy industry.

Lord Lawson, chairman-for-life of the GWPF, has steadfastly refused to name his funders despite appeals from senior MPs for greater transparency. Despite this, DeSmog UK has managed to name several of his donors.

Bryan Bateman, a consultant with the Confederation of Paper Industries and a former engineer working on nuclear power stations, confirmed on Friday that he was a GWPF funder. Lord Cavendish, a former energy minister also confirmed during an interview that he had contributed to the foundation.

Attacking Climate Science

What I do with my money I think is my business actually,” Bateman told me. “The Global Warming Policy Foundation actually brought a fresh and incisive light on this very difficult subject and I personally felt it needed encouraging in every respect.”

The businessman said that he had been working within a small group, including his friends in Parliament, attacking mainstream climate science which later became the GWPF. This was before Lawson became involved.

Bateman said his donation was unrelated to his role with the Confederation of Paper Industries and was made as a private individual and as chief executive of Bateman Partnership Limited. Paper is a carbon-intensive industry and benefits from government tax reductions.

Bateman confirmed his views on climate change were influenced in part by Bjorn Lomborg, the discredited author Ian Plimer, and the tobacco and oil-funded Heartland Institute in Chicago.

Building Windmills

Lord Cavendish recalls being the first person in Britain to build wind farms. He said: “I am a landowner and I applied for permission to build some turbines under the NFFO [Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation] I think it was called, the Non-Fossil Fuel Order [sic], in those days.”

I think I might be the first person in this country in fact to have built windmills and I was thinking at the time, ‘am I doing a good thing or a bad thing?’ and I came to the conclusion that it was the wrong thing actually, I was thinking lately.”

Funnily enough, I was then put into the House of Lords by Margaret Thatcher and straight into the Department of Energy. So, there I was sort of half way through and answering questions almost weekly about alternative energy, having to declare this interest.”

Asked about his donation to the GWPF, he said: “I’ve made – I cannot remember what – quite a modest contribution and I think I look for a chance to support it if there is a debate… it definitely wasn’t big bucks, I can assure you.”

I think the religious fervour element is seriously dangerous. I like to think Lord Lawson is on the side of the angels.”

Other Funders

Lord Cavendish – who usually goes by the name Hugh – inherited Holker Hall and its 17,000 acre estate in the Cartmel Peninsula in Cumbria. He was educated at Eton and, in 1990, was elevated to the House of Lords by Thatcher. He has also been a director of Nirex Limited.

The NFFO forced British suppliers to buy power from the nuclear and renewable energy suppliers. The orders were introduced by the Tory government and ran from October 1990 to September 1998.

DeSmog UK reported last year that several of the GWPF donors were also financial supporters of the Conservative party. This includes Lord Vinson, who assisted Thatcher to power and has recently threatened to donate to UKIP as a supporter.

Tory party donors Lord Leach, Michael Hintz, Edward Atkin, and Neil Record have also been identified as benefactors, both to the climate denial charity and also to David Cameron’s ‘Vote Blue, Go Green’ Conservatives.

@brendanmontague

Photo: Andrew Crowley/Telegraph via Creative Commons

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