Director of the anti-wind charity, Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), John Constable has joined the campaigning arm of Lord Lawson’s climate science denying charity as energy editor and policy advisor.
As the quietly released Global Warming Policy Forum’s (GWPForum) press release boasts: “John is well known in the sector for his trenchant critique of target-led and subsidy driven renewables policies, which as he has pointed out are counterproductive both as energy and as climate policies.”
Constable made his debut as a member of the GWPForum this week in the Sunday Telegraph’s article “Revealed: the great wind farm tax ‘con’” where he criticised the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) re-examination of public funding for onshore wind as “just spin doctor stuff, it’s playing with words”.
In fact, the main thrust behind the Telegraph article seems to be almost entirely driven by those linked to the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), including Peter Lilley who is a member of the charity’s board of trustees and former climate sceptic environment minister Owen Paterson, who delivered the charity’s annual address in 2014 where he attacked the UK’s Climate Change Act.
Constable is known for being a vocal critic of the government’s energy policy and has long opposed subsidies for renewable energy.
In 2013, for example, in a report for right-wing think tank Civitas, he argued that a shift to renewables would mean “more people would be working for lower wages in the energy sector, energy costs would rise, the economy would stagnate, and there would be a significant decline in the standard of living.”
On tackling climate change, Constable has previously said: “There is a strong case for reducing emissions as part of an insurance policy against climate change. However, the premium for that insurance policy must be affordable and proportional to the risk.”
The news of Constable joining the GWPForum, however, isn’t the first time he’s courted controversy for wading into climate science denial circles.
Almost a year ago, the Independent revealed last March that Constable would head up a new Energy Institute at Britain’s leading private university, the University of Buckingham.
The University of Buckingham is known for its links to climate science denial as the GWPF’s director Benny Peiser occasionally lectures there. The university has also awarded honorary degrees to GWPF founder Lord Lawson, and Matt Ridley, who sits as a member of the GWPF’s academic advisory council.
As Constable told the Independent at the time: “The BEI [Buckingham Energy Institute] will, as REF always did and does, take it as read that there is a strong case for reducing emissions as part of an insurance policy against climate change. The BEI will not be linked to ‘climate scepticism’ but it may well be critical of current energy policies.”
Since March, however, there has been no news on the BEI so DeSmog UK contacted the university for an update on the BEI’s status. A university press officer said: “I don’t have the exact details of when it’s being set up but it’s still going ahead”.