CAR26

Background

CAR26 is a UK climate science denial group that formed shortly before the COP26 climate summit held in Glasgow, Scotland. It claims to call for “informed rational analysis of Climate matters with an irreverent satirical spin – poking fun and calling out hypocrisy”. The group’s tagline is “Climate. Analysis. Reason”.1Welcome to CAR26.org,” CAR26. Archived November 12, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/kYbyL

CAR26 was officially registered as a company involved in “market research and public opinion polling” in September 2021 by Lois Perry, an associate at public relations firm 6 Hillgrove.2CAR26.ORG LTD: Overview,” Companies House. Archived October 26, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/MEN5l 3About,” 6 Hillgrove PR. Archived November 24, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/d2XYD Perry is the director and sole shareholder of CAR26, as well as the South East representative of the Reclaim UK party, led by actor Laurence Fox.4Ellis Whitehouse. “​​​​Laurence Fox’s Reclaim Party calls for stop and search in Leigh targeting suspect youths,” Echo News, June 21, 2021. Archived June 21, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ciVXr 

6 Hillgrove’s clients have included the National Lottery, Aldi, Little Chef and the Big Issue.5Adam Barnett, Rachel Sherrington. “New Climate Denial Group Run by Celebrity PR Exec Behind ‘Net Zero Referendum’ Poll,” DeSmog, October 28, 2021. The company, headed by Richard Hillgrove, reportedly Perry’s husband, has previously worked with environmentally-friendly companies, such as SaveMoneyCutCarbon and Naked Energy, as well as high-carbon clients like Indago Petroleum and Air Berlin.6Robbie Smith. “Londoner’s Diary: Lawyer who investigated Dominic Cummings’ trips expects drama based on memoir,” The Evening Standard, January 22, 2021. Archived January 22, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/QT3C9

The group’s main campaign is for the UK to hold a referendum on whether the country should retain its 2050 net zero target.7Welcome to CAR26.org,” CAR26. Archived November 5, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/kYbyL CAR26 commissioned a poll on the issue that was covered on the front page of the Telegraph in October 2021 and backs a petition to Parliament, started by an individual named Niall Warry, calling for the same.8Petition: Hold a referendum on whether to keep the 2050 net zero target,” UK Government and Parliament. Archived November 4, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/wi0CA 

The outlet openDemocracy noted that CAR26’s website was being “powered by Blue Sky”, a reference to a communications company called Blue Sky Strategy run by a number of individuals involved in the pro-Brexit campaign, including Rebecca Ryan, director of the “Defund the BBC” campaign and a former colleague of Vote Leave’s former chief technology officer, Thomas Borwick.9Peter Geoghegan. “The Brexit dark money lobby has a new target – climate change action,” OpenDemocracy, October 30, 2021. Archived November 20, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/xOAMQ 10James Bickerton. “Defund the BBC explains how you can watch ‘on demand’ WITHOUT a TV licence,” The Express, October 26, 2021. Archived November 12, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/BvkAU The mention of “Blue Sky” appears to have since been deleted from the CAR26 website.

The organisation’s symbol is a sunflower, representing its “lovable mascot Ambassador Seeotu”. According to the website, Seeotu, which has its own Twitter account, “represents the CO2 folk of Planet Earth and has a cheeky dry wit as CAR26’s Court Jester”.11Welcome to CAR26.org,” CAR26. Archived November 5, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/kYbyL 

Stance on Climate Change

The homepage of the campaign’s website states that “Everyone accepts that the climate changes” but lists “key issues worthy of attention”, including: “Is CO2 a significant factor in global warming?” and “What are the good and bad impacts of any global warming?”12About,” CAR26. Archived November 5, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/JfMld 

The campaign has also claimed that carbon dioxide is “essential to all life” and that its “welcome growth has greened our planet saving countless human and other lives”. It continues: “When talking heads see no positives from gentle warming it is a warning signal that their minds are as closed as those of religious fanatics.” 

CAR26 has also suggested that teaching children about the dangers of climate change and encouraging them to take part in activism is “borderline child abuse”.

The campaign has also claimed that a “decade of paused warming” means that “we can safely freeze immediately all carbon-related measures”. 

CAR26 Director Lois Perry has tweeted that climate change is a “scam” and that “there is no climate emergency”, arguing that “We need Fuel Freedom and a Net Zero Referendum”.13‘They don’t understand science or history’ It’s a scam folks xxx there is no climate emergency. We need Fuel Freedom and a Net Zero Referendum x Two Week Apocalypse,” Tweet from @LoisPerry26, December 13, 2021. Retrieved from twitter.com. Archived December 13, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/btl3X She has also tweeted that net zero is “net stupid” and that “2.7 million people in Europe can’t afford to turn the heating on in their homes” because of “Climate Death Cultists”.14Net Zero is Net Stupid, totally agree @darrengrimes_ and @AlexEpstein  xxx,” Tweet from @LoisPerry26, December 15, 2021. Retrieved from twitter.com. Archived December 16, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/oE630 152.7 million people in Europe can’t afford to turn the heating on in their homes. Shame on the Climate Death Cultists, this is on you x,” Tweet from @LoisPerry26, December 15, 2021. Retrieved from twitter.com. Archived December 15, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pbgNq 

Perry was quoted in the Telegraph in October 2021 saying: “We must not let political consensus drive us into carbon poverty. Let the people take control of the wheel.”16Lucy Fisher. “Public ‘want a referendum on Boris Johnson’s net zero plans’ by next general election,” The Telegraph, October 26, 2021. Archived November 22, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ToHVD

Funding

CAR26 asks for donations from its supporters on its website but has not disclosed any larger funding sources. Supporters are encouraged to buy a membership pack for £26, which includes a Seeotu mascot toy, a sunflower badge and a brooch.17Membership Pack,” CAR26. Archived November 13, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/sHpwG

Key People

Lois Perry – Director.

Actions

January 12, 2022

In January 2022, CAR26 hosted its “inaugural CAR26 Forum,” during which director Lois Perry spoke to panelists including Howard Cox of FairFuel UK, climate science denier Roger Tattersall, TalkRADIO host Mike Graham, former Brexit Party MEP Lance Forman and former LBC presenter Maajid Nawaz.

December 10, 2021

Lois Perry announced the launch of CAR26’s “Fuel Freedom campaign” in an interview with talkRADIO. She told presenter Mike Graham: “We feel that all our freedom comes from fossil fuels and that people should have the freedom to have a petrol car if they want to or to have gas central heating. They can have a heat pump if they want. It’s all about freedom of choice.”

Perry also argued that fossil fuels “need to be debated” and suggested the UK’s closing of coal-fired power stations was threatening the country’s energy security.18The name CAR26 stands for Climate Analysis Reason and we’re launching a Fuel Freedom campaign. People should have the freedom to have a petrol car if they want or to have gas central heating. They can have a heat pump if they want. It’s all about freedom of choice,” @LoisPerry26,”  Tweet by @CAR26.org, December 10, 2021. Retrieved from Twitter.com. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.

November 11, 2021

During COP26, Perry appeared in a video posted by the CAR26 Twitter account, calling for a referendum on net zero policies and a pause on “all carbon-related policies”.19Outrageous behaviour from #COP26 security – physically blocking our director @LoisPerry26 from calling for the British people to have a say on Boris’s climate extremism. Policies that will hit hardworking families the hardest!,” Tweet by @CAR26.org, November 30, 2021. Retrieved from Twitter.com. Archived .png on file at DeSmog. Piers Corbyn, an astrophysicist, climate science denier and Covid-19 conspiracy theorist, appears in the video arguing with security officers, who are off camera, and a person dressed as a sunflower is seen standing next to Perry.

The CAR26 Twitter account claimed these were “COP26 security”, despite the incident taking place in Glasgow Fort, a shopping centre on the outskirts of the city.

November 8, 2021

Perry appeared on talkRADIO claiming security officers tried to “bundle” her out of the press area at the UN climate summit in Glasgow because “they don’t want free speech”. She said she was taking part in the interview while she was hiding from security in the disabled toilets.20CAR26 campaigns for “rational analysis of climate change” while “calling out hypocrisy”. Spokeswoman Lois Perry calls Mike while hiding in the disabled toilets at COP26 after security tried to remove her from the press area @Iromg | @LoisPerry26,” Tweet by @talkRADIO, November 8, 2021. Retrieved from Twitter.com. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.

COP26 organisers later said Perry was at a fringe event that was not part of the official summit, and that she was asked to leave a private sponsor’s room. They said Perry initially refused, before visiting a disabled toilet and then leaving the building “of her own accord”.21Adam Barnett. “Anti-Net Zero Activist’s Claim She Was ‘Evicted’ from COP26 Rejected by Organisers,” DeSmog, November 11, 2021. 22At COP26 before being chased, hiding in the disabled loos to do my interview with Talk Radio and my then subsequent eviction xx,” Tweet by @LoisPerry26, November 8, 2021. Archived November 8, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/H97p0 

November 6, 2021

CAR26 published a full-page advert in the November 6 edition of the Spectator magazine to promote its YouGov poll on support for a net zero referendum.23This week’s Spectator. Join our campaign, go to car26.org and register your support. X”, Tweet by @LoisPerry26, November 10, 2021. Retrieved from Twitter.com. Archived. Png on file at DeSmog.

The advert also included a photograph of Lois Perry and the quote: “We must not let political consensus drive us into carbon poverty. Let the people take control of the wheel,” and a call for readers to sign the organisation’s petition to hold a net zero referendum. It is not clear how the advert – which is estimated to have cost over £5,000 – was paid for.24Media Kit,” The Spectator. Archived December 1, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/f80Py

October 26, 2021

Days before COP26 began in Glasgow, Scotland, a poll paid for by CAR26 appeared on the front page of the Telegraph, appearing to show public support for a referendum on the UK’s plans to reach net zero emissions by mid-century.25Lucy Fisher. “Public ‘want a referendum on Boris Johnson’s net zero plans’ by next general election,” The Telegraph, October 26, 2021. Archived November 22, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ToHVD

Reporter Lucy Fisher wrote that the YouGov survey “suggests more work is needed at home” to convince voters about the benefits of decarbonisation policies, and did not mention that CAR26 rejects mainstream climate science.

The publication of the poll prompted two past clients of the director Lois Perry’s company to distance themselves from her firm, which has worked with environmentalist fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and Dragons’ Den entrepreneur James Caan.26Adam Barnett, Rachel Sherrington. “New Climate Denial Group Run by Celebrity PR Exec Behind ‘Net Zero Referendum’ Poll,” DeSmog, October 28, 2021. 

  • Reclaim UK – CAR26 Director Lois Perry is the party’s South East representative.
  • Blue Sky Strategy – CAR26’s website reportedly “powered by Blue Sky”.

Contact & Address

According to Companies House, CAR26’s registered address is:27CAR26.org Ltd,” Companies House. Archived October 26, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/MEN5l

1506 London Road
Leigh On Sea
Essex
United Kingdom 
SS9 2UR

According to its Twitter account, the group’s email address is [email protected].28CAR26,” Twitter. Archived December 25, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/I9a2K

Social Media

Resources

Related Profiles

APCO Worldwide Background APCO has been described as “one of the world's most powerful PR firms.” [1], [2] According to its agency profile at O'Dwyers, “APCO Worldwide is a...
Hugh W. Ellsaesser Credentials Ph.D., Meteorology. [1] Background Hugh W. Ellsaesser, born in 1920, is a meteorologist by training and retired “guest scientist” at the Lawren...
Alfred (Al) Pekarek Credentials Ph.D., University of Wyoming (1974). [1]B.A. University of Minnesota-Twin (1965). [1] Background Alfred (Al) Pekarek is a former ass...
Benny Josef Peiser Credentials Ph.D. , University of Frankfurt (1993). Peiser studied political science, English, and sports science. [1], [2] Background Benny Peiser is a sports ...