Climate Intelligence Foundation (CLINTEL)

Climate Intelligence Foundation (CLINTEL)

Main image: CLINTEL

Background

The Climate Intelligence Foundation (CLINTEL) is a Netherlands-based1Contact,” Climate Intelligence Foundation. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/dra0S climate science denial group founded in 2019 by retired professor of geophysics Guus Berkhout and journalist Marcel Crok.2About Us,” Climate Intelligence Foundation. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/PhIuc Its principal view is that “there is no climate emergency.”3There is no climate emergency,” Climate Intelligence Foundation. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/HnDgD

According to Dutch broadcaster Pointer (KRO_NCRV), the 800 “scientists, scholars, and professionals” that support CLINTEL have “conducted little to no climate research.”4Klimaatsceptisch rapport Clintel krijgt geen steun van klimaatonderzoek,” Pointer, February 25, 2020. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/JT990 DeSmog analysis has found that the list of signatories includes a commercial fisherman, a retired chemist, a cardiologist, and an air-conditioning engineer, alongside a number of retired geologists.5World Climate Declaration (PDF),” Climate Intelligence Foundation. Archived April 6, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

The organisation has close ties to Forum voor Democratie, the main nationalist party of the Netherlands, and its leader Thierry Baudet, who has quoted statements by CLINTEL in the country’s House of Representatives.6Klimaattwijfel zaaien met hulp van oliegeld en populistisch rechts network,” Pointer, February 26, 2020. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/HM4Fw

Various members of CLINTEL’s list of ambassadors, and its extended list of signatories, have connections to libertarian free-market groups with a history of climate science denial, including the Heartland Institute, the Cato Institute, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.7World Climate Declaration (PDF),” Climate Intelligence Foundation. Archived April 6, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. All three organisations are members of the Koch-funded Atlas Network.8Fight virus not carbon,” Climate Intelligence Foundation, March 23, 2020. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/BmRkD 9Global Directory,” Atlas Network. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/H32gM

In September 2019, DeSmog obtained leaked drafts of letters scheduled to be sent to leaders of EU and UN institutions, insisting that “there is no climate emergency.”10Richard Collett-White. “Climate Science Deniers Planning European Misinformation Campaign, Leaked Documents Reveal,” DeSmog, September 6, 2019. The letter was eventually sent to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the end of the month.11Prominent scientists warn UN Secretary-General Guterres,” Climate Intelligence Foundation, September 23, 2019. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/PNSdC

The organisation also had representatives at a European Parliament press conference hosted by the European Conservatives and Reformists group where CLINTEL argued against the mainstream consensus on climate science.12Richard Collett-White. “Tory Party’s EU Group Hosts Climate Science Denial Event Days Before MEPs Debate Climate Emergency Declaration,” DeSmog, November 26, 2019.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, CLINTEL published an open letter titled “Fight virus not carbon,” where it described climate change as a “non-problem.”13Fight virus not carbon,” Climate Intelligence Foundation, March 23, 2020. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/BmRkD 14Coronavirus (COVID-19),” NHSArchived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/NXKko

Stance on Climate Change

CLINTEL’s “World Climate Declaration,”15World Climate Declaration (PDF),” Climate Intelligence Foundation. Archived April 6, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. a document which the organisation describes as a “summary of the view of many climate realists,” states that “there is no climate emergency.” It lists six main points, all of which are familiar climate science denier tropes that have been widely debunked:16Global Warming & Climate Change Myths,” Skeptical ScienceArchived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/fdqp3

  • Natural as well as anthropogenic factors cause warming;
  • Warming is far slower than predicted;
  • Climate policy relies on inadequate models;
  • CO2 is plant food, the basis of all life on Earth;
  • Global warming has not increased natural disasters;
  • Climate policy must respect scientific and economic realities.

leaked draft of a letter to be sent to EU leaders and UN institutions also said there was “no proof” that carbon dioxide was a major cause of global warming.17Richard Collett-White. “Climate Science Deniers Planning European Misinformation Campaign, Leaked Documents Reveal,” DeSmog, September 6, 2019.

Funding

CLINTEL is largely funded by real estate millionaire Niek Sandmann,18Vastgoedmiljonair financiert twijfelcampagne tegen klimaatmaatregelen,” Joop, March 11, 2019. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/iMCj7who has invested half a million euros in the organisation, and real estate entrepreneur Cor Verkade.19Michael Kerpel. “SGP voelt zich niet thuis bij klimaatontkenners,” Reformatorisch Dagblad, December 5, 2019. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/u8jbI

Additionally, research by Follow the Money and the Platform Authentic Journalism, two Dutch investigative journalism sites, and data-journalism broadcaster Pointer (KRONCRV), found that oil money built up from the 1990s has filtered its way into the foundations of CLINTEL.20Peter Keizer, Ties Joosten, Platform Authentieke Journalistiek. “Klimaatsceptisch Nederland profiteert nog altijd van netwerk en geld uit fossiele industrie,” Follow the Money, February 25, 2020. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/Lwais

An article on Follow the Money’s site explains that Guus Berkhout founded the Delphi Consortium, a company that develops geo-imaging technology for the oil and gas industry, in 1982. Over 30 fossil fuel organisations were committed to paying €30,000 to €55,000 per year to have access to Delphi’s research, including Shell, BP and Chevron.21Peter Keizer, Ties Joosten, Platform Authentieke Journalistiek. “Klimaatsceptisch Nederland profiteert nog altijd van netwerk en geld uit fossiele industrie,” Follow the Money, February 25, 2020. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/Lwais

In 2014, Berkhout started another research project called the Center for Global Socio-Economic Change (CFGSEC), with €1.2 million of funding coming from the Delphi Consortium. With a network he built from this project, Berkhout founded CLINTEL.22Peter Keizer, Ties Joosten, Platform Authentieke Journalistiek. “Klimaatsceptisch Nederland profiteert nog altijd van netwerk en geld uit fossiele industrie,” Follow the Money, February 25, 2020. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/Lwais

Both Berkhout and Crok have denied that there is any oil or gas funding behind CLINTEL.23Peter Keizer, Ties Joosten, Platform Authentieke Journalistiek. “Klimaatsceptisch Nederland profiteert nog altijd van netwerk en geld uit fossiele industrie,” Follow the Money, February 25, 2020. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/Lwais

Key People

Guus Berkhout is the co-founder of CLINTEL. He began his career working at Shell and later set up the Delphi Consortium, which develops geo-imaging technology for the oil and gas industry.24Phoebe Weston. “Hundreds of climate sceptics to mount international campaign to stop net-zero targets being made law,” Independent, September 6, 2019. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/4qyiz Berkhout has also written a report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the UK’s most prominent climate science denial group.25Homepage,” Delphi ConsortiumArchived April 7, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/PbuoD 26Guus Berkhout: Climate Thinking. Broadening the Horizons,” Global Warming Policy Foundation, June 8, 2018. Archived April 7, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/GndX0

Marcel Crok is the co-founder of CLINTEL. On Twitter he describes himself as a “science writer, ecomodernist, climate optimist” and writes that he is based in Amsterdam.“27@marcelcrok,” TwitterArchived April 7, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/6rLfl In 2019 he gave a speech at a TEDx event called “Climate cannot be experimented on.” The talk was subsequently reviewed by TED, which claimed it fell outside of TEDx’s curatorial guidelines.28My flagged Tedx talk about climate change,” De Staat Van Het Klimaat, July 10, 2019. Archived April 7, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/6SX7k

According to its website, CLINTEL’s ambassadors are:29Fight virus not carbon,” Climate Intelligence Foundation, March 23, 2020. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/BmRkD

A number of CLINTEL’s ambassadors have been involved in groups, like the Heartland Institute and the Cato Institute, which reject mainstream climate science.30Fight virus not carbon,” Climate Intelligence Foundation, March 23, 2020. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/BmRkD

Actions

October 2, 2021

CLINTEL president Guus Berkhout was featured at the Friends of Science‘s 18th Annual Event in a talk titled “Climate Science: Let the Data Speak.” Climate Depot’s Marc Morano was also set to speak on October 6.31FRIENDS OF SCIENCE EIGHTEENTH ANNUAL EVENT, WITH DR. GUUS BERKHOUT AND MARC MORANO,” Friends of Science. Archived OCtober 4, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/biX71

FoS content advertising the event claimed it “confirms that ‘Politicians Can’t Stop Climate Change’ and Greta’s blah blah blah is misinformed.”32Friends of Science Society. “Greta’s blah blah blah will be Countered by Marc Morano’s ‘Green New Deal – The Great Regret’,” WFMZ-TV 69 News, September 30, 2021. Archived October 5, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/nD94F

“As Dr. Berkhout and colleagues show in the CLINTEL World Climate Declaration, ‘the science’ reveals there is no climate emergency, therefore there is no need to turn world energy systems upside down or strive for NetZero2050 targets,” the press release continued. “The reason is found in peer-reviewed research by Roger Pielke, Jr., and Justin Ritchie, who found that ‘the science’ of climate emergency is all based on an implausible scenario known as RCP 8.5* and outdated science premises.”

November 2, 2020

CLINTEL President Guus Berkhout co-published a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen entitled “Apocalypse? No!” with German climate science denier Naomi Seibt. The letter described divestment from fossil fuels as a “false prospectus,” calling on EU governments and officials to “stop corrupting the goodwill and hope of the people by pressuring us with panic. Stop pretending that modest natural changes in the weather constitute an ‘emergency’. Stop putting the blame on the miners, refiners, motor manufacturers and electricity generators whose contributions to the improvement of life on Earth have been immeasurably net-beneficial.”33Naomi Seibt and Guus Berkhout. “Noami Seibt to Von der Leyen: Apocalypse? NO!Clintel, October 19, 2020. November 2, 2020. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/Sl6U0

The letter also described renewable energy as “unreliable, intermittent and environmentally-damaging,” and wind turbines as “a fourteenth century technology to address a twenty first century non-problem.” It also castigated the “hypocrisy of ‘environmentalists’ who conceal the destructive impact of windmills on the eco-system,” calling on EU politicians to “fine windmill corporations heavily for each bird, bee or bat they kill per megawatt-hour generated, and heavily punish solar-panel corporations for exploiting slave and child labour in the lithium and cobalt mines. You ought to know that the environmental footprint of ‘renewables’ is crippling.” 

The article concluded by dismissing the causal link between carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere and climate change, asking: “how much of the total warming before 1850, the natural greenhouse effect, was not caused by feedback response to greenhouse gases but by the fact – which climate scientists’ calculations overlook – that the Sun produces a far larger feedback response?” 

October 28, 2020

CLINTEL President, Professor Guus Berkhout, wrote a letter to Dickon Pinner, who leads management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company’s sustainability practice. The letter criticised the “lack of objectivity” in McKinsey’s publications on climate change, stating that “we therefore see no climate emergency whatsoever.” The letter concluded that, “in addition, we are very concerned of a gigantic misallocation of global economic resources, as your publications seem to suggest, to an exaggerated climate threat. Why does an ethical company such as McKinsey, we wonder, take such an extreme position?”34Professor Guus Berkhout. “Open letter from CLINTEL to McKinsey exposing extremely unrealistic climate claims,” Clintel, October 28, 2020. Archived November 2, 2020. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/Z1uVm The group Friends of Science publicised the letter on their website.35CLINTEL calls out McKinsey Global Institute for Peddling Climate Science Fiction says Friends of Science,” Friends of the Earth, October 29, 2020. Archived November 2, 2020. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/ANgm2

March 23, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, CLINTEL published an open letter titled “Fight virus not carbon,” demanding world leaders to “stop immediately with the Green New Deal plans,” referring to proposed legislation to address climate change. 36Coronavirus (COVID-19),” NHSArchived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/NXKko 37Fight virus not carbon,” Climate Intelligence Foundation, March 23, 2020. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/BmRkD

Describing climate change as a “non-problem,” the letter claimed that although there was a deadly global emergency, “it is NOT the climate,” and was signed by CLINTEL’s 22 “ambassadors” including various individuals in DeSmog’s Climate Disinformation Database.38Fight virus not carbon,” Climate Intelligence Foundation, March 23, 2020. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/BmRkD

Friends of Science, a Canadian non-profit with numerous links to climate change deniers, subsequently reported on the letter.39Open Letter from CLINTEL to World Leaders: “Fight virus not carbon”,” YouTube video uploaded by user Friends of Science on March 24, 2020. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

March 19, 2020

CLINTEL co-founder Marcel Crok tweeted that all saunas should reopen “as soon as possible” because “20 minutes of breathing in the hot air seems to be enough to kill the coronavirus.”40Marcel Crok. “Reopen all sauna’s as soon as possible! 20 minutes of breathing in the hot air seems to be enough to kill the corona virus,” Tweet by @marcelcrok on March 19, 2020. Retrieved from Twitter.com. Archived July 8, 2020. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.

February 24, 2020

CLINTEL announced that it was planning to host a “grand climate debate” to coincide with the COP 26 UN climate summit, focusing on the six central issues as outlined in its World Climate Declaration.41CLINTEL plans a grand climate debate,” Climate Intelligence Foundation, February 24, 2020. Archived April 7, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/D5TcN

Berkhout said: “CLINTEL will organize a constructive high-level meeting between world-class scientists on both sides of the climate debate… we plan to repeat such a landmark event each year! In this way we start a serious global depolarising initiative that could be the beginning of a new era.”42CLINTEL plans a grand climate debate,” Climate Intelligence Foundation, February 24, 2020. Archived April 7, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/D5TcN

The UN has since decided to postpone COP26 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.43Jillian Ambrose, Fiona Harvey. “Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow postponed until 2021,” Guardian, April 1, 2020. Archived April 7, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/lAWBz

January 24, 2020

CLINTEL published a YouTube video where Berkhout explained CLINTEL’s principal aims and its World Climate Declaration.44Presentation Guus Berkhout about the World Climate Declaration,” Climate Intelligence Foundation, January 24, 2020. Archived April 7, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/m4Ouf In the clip, Berkhout says: “there is not the slightest evidence for any fear or panic” and described CO2 as “a great blessing for our planet.”45Episode 1: Stop using Misleading Computer Models: There is NO Climate Emergency – Guus Berkhout,” YouTube video uploaded by user World of Consciousness on February 12, 2020. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

In a corresponding essay titled “There is no Climate Emergency,” Berkhout wrote that “preaching doom and gloom is an irresponsible act against the young generation,” repeating his claim that there was no evidence of a climate crisis. 46Computer Models not ready for Policy Making (PDF),” Climate Intelligence Foundation, February 2020. Archived April 7, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

January 20, 2020

CLINTEL sent a letter to Borge Brende, the president of the World Economic Forum, urging world leaders to “accept the reality that there is no climate emergency.” The letter also proposed to organise a “constructive, open meeting between world-class scientists on both sides of the climate debate.”47CLINTEL Letter to World Economic Forum,” Climate Intelligence Foundation, January 24, 2020. Archived April 7, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/jU3Y4

November 28, 2019

CLINTEL sent a letter to members of the European Parliament stating that climate models used in European policy are “unfit for their purpose.” The organisation also claimed that climate policies undermine economic systems and “put lives at risk in member states.”48Letter to MEP’s: there is no climate emergency,” Climate Intelligence Foundation, November 28, 2019. Archived April 7, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/0Gbrv 49Members of the European Parliament, there is no climate emergency letter (PDF),” Climate Intelligence Foundation, November 27, 2019. Archived April 7, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

November 20, 2019

Berkhout and Crok spoke at a European Parliament press conference hosted by the European Conservatives and Reformists group, of which the UK Conservative Party is a member, arguing against the mainstream consensus on climate science.50Richard Collett-White. “Tory Party’s EU Group Hosts Climate Science Denial Event Days Before MEPs Debate Climate Emergency Declaration,” DeSmog, November 26, 2019.

In a video shared by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Crok claimed that recent reports by the IPCC stated there was “no [upward] trend in hurricanes and droughts and floods.”51European Parliament Told ‘There is No Climate Emergency!’,” YouTube video uploaded by user GWPF on November 23, 2019. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

This was despite a major IPCC report last October stating that “trends in intensity and frequency of some climate and weather extremes have been detected” since 1950.52Impacts of 1.5C global warming on natural and human systems,” IPCCArchived April 7, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

September 23, 2019

CLINTEL sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arguing that “current climate policies pointlessly and grievously undermine the economic system, putting lives at risk in countries denied access to affordable, reliable electrical energy.”53Prominent scientists warn UN Secretary-General Guterres,” Climate Intelligence Foundation, September 23, 2019. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/PNSdC

The letter claims “There is no climate emergency” and advocates for a “joint meeting” where “scientists on both sides of the climate debate … should be fully and fairly heard.”54Brief CLINTEL aan VN-baas Guterres,” Clintel, September 23, 2019. Archived October 21, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/cn12o

Hoover Institution senior fellow Richard A. Epstein later cited the letter and CLINTEL’s “Five hundred professional climate scientists” as evidence that “there is no climate emergency.”55A Climate Change Emergency?Hoover Institution, October 7, 2019. Archived October 21, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/g6hnV

Contact & Address

According to its website in April 2020, CLINTEL can be contacted here:61About Us,” Climate Intelligence Foundation. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/PhIuc

Zekeringstraat 41

1014BV Amsterdam

The Netherlands

[email protected]

Social Media

  • CLINTEL do not seem to be on social media.

Other Resources

Resources

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