DeSmog

Climate Denier Nigel Farage Standing in Seat at Risk of Sea Level Rises and Flooding

Scientific modelling indicates that areas of Clacton could be submerged annually.
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Reform UK leader Nigel Farage campaigning in Clacton, Essex. Credit: Nigel Farage / X

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage, who is a vocal critic of green policies and climate science, is standing in a constituency threatened by rising sea levels and flooding due to global warming.

Mapping from the science-based visualisation platform Climate Central suggests that substantial parts of Clacton, Essex, will be at risk of yearly flooding even by 2030. These include Seawick and Jaywick on the west of the seaside town, and the area between Holland-on-Sea and Frinton-on-Sea. 

Farage yesterday announced that he would be taking over as Reform leader and standing in Clacton at the general election on 4 July.

Climate Central’s projection of which areas of Clacton will be below the annual flood level in 2030. The annual flood level is the water level at shoreline that local coastal floods exceed on average at least once per year.
The constituency boundary of Clacton.

The international journal Oceans and Coastal Management also produced a study in 2022 suggesting that the Tendring area, which encompasses Clacton, is at risk of sea level rises – potentially affecting hundreds of homes.

The study’s lead author Paul Sayers, an engineering consultant who works with the University of East Anglia’s Tyndall Centre, said: “Significant sea level rise is now inevitable. We need a serious national debate about the scale of the threat.”

The Environment Agency last year upgraded Clacton’s flood defences as part of a £10 million project to protect more than 3,000 properties and businesses in the area from “climate change and sea level rise”.

However, Farage is actively campaigning to scrap the green policies that may help to limit local flooding. Farage, who is projected to win the seat, is a vocal critic of the UK’s goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. He has claimed that the policy is an “act of self harm” and has called for it to be dropped. 

Clacton is already ranked ninth in the county in terms of properties at risk of surface water flooding. Scientists at the World Weather Attribution group found that the UK’s wet weather in the winter of 2023/24 was made 10 times more likely and 20 percent wetter due to climate change.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s foremost climate science body, has estimated that global mean sea levels will most likely rise between 0.95 feet (0.29 metres) and 3.61 feet (1.1 metres) by the end of the century. 

Rising levels could directly affect more than 1 billion people worldwide by 2050, and require up to $14 trillion worth of coastal infrastructure by 2100. Rising sea levels could cost the British economy alone more than £100 billion by the end of the century, according to research published by the journal Scientific Reports.

Read more: Nigel Farage’s Anti-Climate Record

Reform’s Fossil Fuel Donations

Despite the global warming risks posed in the area, Farage is hoping to win support for his anti-green views when he stands in Clacton on 4 July. 

Speaking on GB News in August 2021, Farage said that he was “very much an environmentalist” and that he couldn’t “abide things like plastics in our seas, pollution in our rivers.” However, on the issue of climate change, he added: “What annoys me though, is this complete obsession with carbon dioxide almost to the exclusion of everything else, the alarmism that comes with it, based on dodgy predictions and science.”

The IPCC has stated that carbon dioxide “is responsible for most of global warming” since the late 19th century, which has increased the “severity and frequency of weather and climate extremes, like heat waves, heavy rains, and drought”.

Reform has also spread climate falsehoods while supporting the reversal of green measures. 

The party’s manifesto claims that “scientists disagree as to how much” humans have had an impact on global warming. 

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.

According to climate journalist Simon Evans, Reform’s 500 word plan on energy and the environment contains 30 false or misleading statements about the climate crisis and green policies.

Reform wants to develop new oil and gas fields in the North Sea, open onshore fracking sites across the country, end the windfall tax on fossil fuel companies, and “restart opencast coal mines using the latest cleanest techniques”.

The party has campaigned for a referendum on the UK’s 2050 net zero emissions target, and like Farage supports scrapping the policy entirely. 

As revealed by DeSmog, Reform has received more than £2.3 million from oil and gas interests, highly polluting industries, and climate science deniers since December 2019, amounting to 92 percent of its donations since the last general election. 

“Reform is in the business of toxic propaganda,” Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer told DeSmog. “Farage and his party have a track record of misleading voters and I hope the good people of Clacton make clear to him on 4 July that his distortions and lies on migration and climate won’t wash.”

Climate Central’s projections are based on peer-reviewed science in leading journals, though it warns that these are large datasets that always include some error and local variations.

In response to previous reporting on Climate Central’s sea level projections, the Environment Agency said that its data “does not take into account extensive efforts taken to prevent such severe incidents in the future, including the presence of sea defences, which protect communities from flooding”.

Reform did not respond to DeSmog’s request for comment, but has previously said that: “Climate change is real, Reform UK believes we must adapt, rather than foolishly think you can stop it. We are proud to be the only party to understand that economic growth depends on cheap domestic energy and we are proud that we are the only party that are climate science realists, realising you can not stop the power of the sun, volcanoes or sea level oscillation.

“The deniers are those who continually gaslight the public into thinking you can stop these powerful natural forces. We must use the energy under our feet, rather than send our money and jobs abroad.”

Author-pic-light
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.
Adam Barnett - new white crop
Adam Barnett is DeSmog's UK News Reporter. He is a former Staff Writer at Left Foot Forward and BBC Local Democracy Reporter.

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