Cabinet Ministers Set to Speak at GB News Linked Conference Alongside Climate Science Deniers

The Alliance for Responsible Citizenship, run by the owners of GB News, is hosting an event next week that it claims will be attended by 100 parliamentarians from across the world.
Cabinet ministers Michael Gove and Kemi Badenoch. Credit: Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street, CC BY 2.0

Michael Gove and Kemi Badenoch are due to speak at a major event next week alongside leading critics of climate action, DeSmog can report.

The three-day conference is being hosted in London by the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship, which shares its directors with the startup broadcaster GB News

ARC was launched in March to address six “fundamental issues of our time”, including “energy and resources” and “environmental stewardship”. The group is fronted by psychologist Jordan Peterson and its advisory board includes senior politicians and academics from the UK and abroad.

As revealed by DeSmog, a number of ARC advisers have a history of attacking net zero policies and questioning climate science, many of whom are speaking at next week’s conference.

Levelling Up Secretary Gove and Business and Trade Secretary Badenoch will be speaking alongside these individuals at the conference, which culminates on 1 November in a public event at the 20,000-seat O2 arena.

Peterson, who is headlining the O2 event, has regularly posted about “climate apocalypse insanity” and “eco fascists” to his millions of online followers. He claimed in a Telegraph article in October that “eco-extremists are leading the world towards despair, poverty, and starvation”. 

Gove and Badenoch will also be speaking alongside Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy, who has called climate change a “hoax”, and former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott – a director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the UK’s leading climate science denial group.

Badenoch has not always been supportive of climate action. During the 2022 Conservative leadership contest, she suggested that the UK government’s legally binding target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 should be pushed back.

ARC claims that over 1,000 people will be attending its conference, “including over 100 parliamentarians from across Europe, the UK, and Australia, as well as a delegation of congressional leaders from the USA”.

This news comes after UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last month watered down a number of flagship policies designed to achieve net zero emissions – moves that were welcomed by climate science deniers. 

ARC, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and the Department for Business and Trade were approached for comment.

ARC’s Origins

ARC has extensive ties to GB News, which has prominently platformed climate science denial since its launch in June 2021. 

According to Companies House, the same five individuals who own GB News’s parent company are also the people who control the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship Limited: Paul Marshall, Alan McCormick, Richard Douglas, Mark Stoleson, and Christopher Chandler.

McCormick, Chandler, and Stoleson are all executives at Legatum Group, the Dubai-based investment fund that, alongside Marshall, is a principal financial backer of GB News. 

ARC’s CEO, Tory peer Baroness Stroud, formerly served as chief executive of the Legatum Institute think tank, founded by the Legatum Group. The institute received $77,000 in 2018 from the Charles Koch Foundation, funded by the proceeds of Koch Industries, one of the largest privately owned companies in the United States, which trades heavily in fossil fuels.

Conservative peer Helena Morrissey, one of the directors of GB News’s parent company, is an ARC adviser, as is ex-GB News presenter Colin Brazier. Two Conservative MPs – Danny Kruger and Miriam Cates – are also ARC advisers. 

Morissey, Marshall, Kruger and Cates are all set to speak at the ARC conference.

GB News has been a prominent opponent of climate action since it launched in June 2021. A DeSmog investigation in May revealed that one in three GB News hosts spread climate science denial on air in 2022, while half attacked climate policies.

Its presenters have claimed that net zero will cause “death by poverty and starvation”, that the policy “poses an existential threat to the free world”, and have called for the UK to “drill, baby, drill” for more fossil fuels. 

ARC’s 44-member advisory board includes a number of climate science deniers and leading critics of climate action.

Writer Douglas Murray, who will be speaking alongside Peterson at the O2, has suggested that climate policies will “impoverish” Brits, and has argued that “terrifying our children with doom-mongering propaganda on climate change is nothing less than abuse”. 

ARC adviser Tony Abbott has previously said that “climate change is probably doing good” and is a long-standing advocate for coal power, the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel.

Abbott is joined on the ARC advisory board by fellow ex-Australian prime minister John Howard, who told Sky News in March that he was “increasingly sceptic [sic]” about climate policies, adding that Australia should “continue to benefit” from coal and gas.  

ARC adviser Vivek Ramaswamy, who will be speaking at the conference alongside Gove, Badenoch, Abbott and Howard, recently tweeted to his 1.3 million followers on X (formerly known as Twitter) that the “real emergency isn’t climate change, it’s the man-made disaster of climate change policies that threaten U.S. prosperity.”

Tupy and Cato

ARC also plans to publish regular research papers, which it claims will be “written by leading thinkers and researchers across the world” and “provide deep analysis and offer solutions to the problems we face”.

The first papers were published earlier this month, including one from Cato Institute researcher Marian Tupy on the topic of “superabundance” – in other words, if the world and its natural resources can sustain population growth.

In the report, Tupy suggests that critics of established climate science have been censored by the media. He claims that “Inconvenient questions about ‘sensitive’ issues, such as the extent of climate change and the long-term threats posed by global warming, are being silenced in the media, and their proponents are being condemned as ‘denialists’”. 

In reality, climate science denial is given a significant platform in the press and via social media. DeSmog reported in September that otherwise fringe climate crisis deniers are being exposed to millions more people due to the promotional efforts of ARC’s Jordan Peterson.

Tupy echoes Peterson’s language in his ARC study, claiming that the “precursors” to “extreme environmentalism” include “fascism and communism”. He claims that extreme environmentalism maintains a hold “on the public imagination, thus contributing to a sense of despair and decline”.

Tupy has commented on the topics of natural resources and global warming for a number of years. 

Interviewed in April 2021 about “the true risk of global warming”, Tupy said that “I’m more or less convinced that human economic activity contributes to slight increases in global warming that we are currently experiencing”. 

However, he suggested that the planet was merely “lukewarming”, and that “it is not… an existential crisis”. Tupy argued that humanity would be able to “adapt and technologically innovate” its way out of the problem. He said this would happen by slowly lessening our reliance on fossil fuels and creating solutions that allow people to adapt to the consequences of climate change. 

“We don’t need to do it immediately; we don’t need to do it in the scope of 10 or 20 years, but it would be nice if say in 40 years time most of the world’s energy was provided by energy sources that do not spew CO2 into the atmosphere,” he said.

For 21 years, Tupy has worked at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Washington, D.C.. He currently holds the position of senior fellow at the group’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. 

The Cato Institute was founded in 1977 by Charles Koch of Koch Industries. Charles Koch and his late brother David have channelled millions into right-wing organisations over recent decades, donating almost $9 million to the Cato Institute between 1997 and 2015. 

The institute has downplayed the need to take urgent action on climate change and has in the past suggested that lawmakers shouldn’t pass any legislation to restrict the emissions of carbon dioxide.

Tupy’s arguments around “lukewarming” and technological innovation reflect the statements of the Cato Institute towards global warming. 

“Fortunately, and contrary to much of the rhetoric surrounding climate change, there is ample time to develop such technologies, which will require substantial capital investment by individuals,” claims the institute’s public statement on global warming. 

In December 2015, Patrick J. Michaels and Chip Knappenberger wrote a Cato Institute “working paper” making the “case for lukewarming”.

“[W]e conclude that future global warming will occur at a pace substantially lower than that upon which US federal and international actions to restrict greenhouse gas emissions are founded. It is high time to rethink those efforts,” they wrote.

In 2009, Cato’s “Handbook for Policymakers” on global warming began with the suggestions that Congress should “pass no legislation restricting emissions of carbon dioxide”. In the same year, more than 100 scientists signed a statement, circulated by the institute, disputing the climate change “consensus”.

A number of climate consensus studies conducted between 2004 and 2015 found that between 90 percent and 100 percent of experts agree that humans are responsible for climate change. A study published in 2021, which reviewed over 3,000 scientific papers, found that over 99 percent of climate science literature says that global warming is caused by human activity.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s foremost climate science body, has stated it is “unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land”. 

The IPCC also states that global warming will cause “increases in the frequency and intensity of hot extremes, marine heatwaves, heavy precipitation, and, in some regions, agricultural and ecological droughts; an increase in the proportion of intense tropical cyclones; and reductions in Arctic sea ice, snow cover and permafrost.”

The IPCC’s chair, Jim Skea, has said that “Without immediate action to reduce emissions and adapt to continued warming, threats to planetary health and human systems are inevitable.”

The Cato Institute and Marian Tupy were approached for comment.

Sam is DeSmog’s UK Deputy Editor. He was previously the Investigations Editor of Byline Times and an investigative journalist at the BBC. He is the author of two books: Fortress London, and Bullingdon Club Britain.

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