Douglas Carswell

Douglas Carswell

Credentials

  • BA History, University of East Anglia. [1]
  • MA in British imperial history, King’s College London. [1]

Background

Douglas Carswell is a British former MP who represented the Essex constituency of Clacton between 2010 and 2017, initially for the Conservative Party. Between 2005 and 2010, he was the Conservative MP for Harwich. [2]

He became the first elected MP to represent the UK Independence Party (UKIP) after defecting to the party in 2014. He left UKIP in 2017, and served as an Independent MP for two months before stepping down ahead of the May election. [3][4][5]

Carswell sits on the Advisory Council of free market think tank the IEA. [6]

Carswell was a founding director of Vote Leave, the official campaign in favour of leaving the European Union in 2016. Vote Leave was formerly headquartered at 55 Tufton Street, home to a small but influential network of libertarian, pro-Brexit think tanks and lobby groups, including the UK‘s principal climate science denial group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation. [7] [8]

Vote Leave received a donation of £100,000 from Global Warming Policy Foundation donor Michael Hintze on the day before the Brexit vote. 

According to the Electoral Commission, Vote Leave broke electoral law by funnelling £675,315 through pro-Brexit youth group BeLeave, exceeding its spending limit of £7 million, BBC News reported. [9]

Carswell has frequently expressed scepticism about human-caused climate change, which he has previously referred to as a “lunatic consensus”. He has also argued strongly against government measures to tackle climate change, such as subsidies for renewable energy. [10]

Carswell is the author of several books, including Rebel: How to Overthrow the Emerging Oligarchy and Progress Vs Parasites: A Brief History of the Conflict That’s Shaped our World. [27]

In 2021, Carswell was appointed as the President and CEO of US-based free-market think tank, the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. [11]

Carswell is a joint founder of the Good Governance Project, a research initiative which, according to its website, “seeks to improve the way the UK is governed by reengineering what government does and how public administration in Britain functions.” [12]

Stance on Climate Change

February 25, 2013

In an article on his website TalkCarswell, which was reposted by the Global Warming Policy Forum, Carswell wrote: [13]

 “As our understanding grows, the idea that human activity alone causes climate change seems less certain than it once did.” Carswell also cited a post by the Renewable Energy Foundation which disputed the economic performance of wind turbines. [14]

In the same article, Carswell criticised the UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act, stating that it was:

giving us a low carbon economy the way that pre-industrial Britain had a low carbon economy.”

November 30, 2009

In an interview with The Guardian, Carswell said: [15]

I suspect what will happen is people will become more aware of the fact that the public is being expected to pay ever more for public policy solutions on climate change and I think the consensus about this will begin to shift and I suspect it’s beginning to happen already actually. I recently listened to a debate on Radio 4 and the counter arguments were being put. I think there’s going to come a correction in the market for ideas and I suspect that in a few years’ time there will be more doubts about man-made climate change.”

He went on to say:

I don’t think there’s consensus at the moment. There’s a section in [former University of Adelaide professor Ian Plimer’s] book where he looks at this idea that there’s a consensus and he presents details about the scientific community that show there is quite clearly not a consensus.”

January 21, 2008

In a blog post on the website ConservativeHome, Carswell described the book Unstoppable Global Warming by climate science deniers S. Fred Singer and Dennis Avery as “thought provoking”. Carswell said: [16]

Having joined Friends of the Earth years before I ever joined the Conservatives, I have always been adamant about the need to conserve the environment.  Yet, after reading this book, I wonder if global warming is really man-made.  According to Singer and Avery, the climate is in constant flux – and the change has little to do with us.”

Key Quotes

August 12, 2019

In a blog post for The Oldie, a magazine which describes itself as a “light-hearted alternative to a press obsessed with youth and celebrity,” Carswell downplayed the dangers of climate change, asserting that it was one of many stories that had been sensationalised by an overly pessimistic media. He stated: [17]

Today it’s climate change we’re told we need to worry about. But this pessimism is piffle. The world hasn’t been getting worse at all. For most people there’s never been a better time to be alive than right now.” 

He went on to write: 

The earth is literally getting greener thanks to a naturally-occurring process known as global greening.”

After pointing to improvements in living standards in recent decades, Carswell wrote: 

And just in case you thought that all this improvement came at the expense of the environment, reflect on the fact that our planet is by many measures cleaner and greener now than it was three or four decades ago.”

November 11, 2014

Climate Home News reported that in a previous interview with the website’s predecessor RTCC from 2013, Carswell said: [18]

The climate has always changed and it always will change.” 

October 2009

Carswell reportedly claimed on his blog that “the lunatic consensus on man-made climate change is starting to break down,” according to The Guardian.  [10]

Key Actions

January 5, 2021

Carswell was appointed as the President and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, a free-market think tank. [19]

December 1, 2020

Carswell was appointed by Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss as a non-executive member of the Department for International Trade. [20]

June 15, 2019

Carswell interviewed climate “lukewarmer” Matt Ridley on his YouTube show Room for Thought. During the interview, Carswell noted that past changes in the climate had occurred naturally, asking: “I’m right in thinking that the climate is in a constant state of flux, there have been periods in global history when the climate was a good deal colder than it is now, and periods when it was a great deal warmer. So by definition, it couldn’t have been human activity that caused that, is that right?” [21]

June 11, 2016

Carswell spoke at the first annual Europe Liberty Forum Conference, organised by the Atlas Network and co-hosted by the IEA. [22]

January 21, 2016

Carswell asked former Department of Energy and Climate Change Minister Andrea Leadsom to reduce public subsidies for the onshore and offshore wind industries during a House of Commons debate, The Clacton Gazette reported. Carswell stated: “Clacton constituents and people up and down the country who struggle with energy bills would be in a far better place were it not for the subsidies that her department insists on providing.” [23]

Carswell’s comments were criticised by former Green party candidate Chris Southall, who stated that: “the alternative is nuclear power and giving huge subsidies, with money going abroad to China and France…Whereas we could subsidise wind farms here in the UK and produce technology we can export.”

July 23, 2015

Carswell was interviewed by financial magazine Money Week, during which he argued against wind energy subsidies, stating that wind turbines were “never going to become sustainable without subsidies.” He also characterised them as “a public policy mistake.” [24]

December 18, 2014

During a debate in the House of Commons, Carswell asked the former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, about reducing subsidies to UK renewable energy sources. [25]

Carswell disputed the efficiency of renewable energy in comparison to shale gas, accusing Rudd’s department of “subsidising windmills unnecessarily”, asking “are we not making policy on the basis of outdated assumptions that need to be revised?”

Carswell’s comments were criticised by former Tory MP for Bexhill and Battle Gregory Barker, who stated: “Does my hon. Friend agree that linking oil prices to energy, and particularly heating bills, is nonsense given that we do not have any oil generation to speak of that generates electricity here in the UK—there is only maybe a tenuous link with heating oil? We should be focusing on driving down the cost of home-grown energy, particularly clean energy.”

December 8, 2014

Carswell wrote an article for The Telegraph, claiming that renewable energy targets had pushed up energy prices for ordinary consumers, stating: “It is far from clear how sustainable wind turbines would be without the massive cross subsidies.” [26]

Affiliations

Social Media

Publications

Resources

  1. Who Is Douglas Carswell? What You Need to Know,” Sky News, October 10, 2014. Archived January 5, 2021. Archive.vn URLhttps://archive.vn/wMJKm

  2. “Mr Douglas Carswell,” UK Parliament. Archived February 9, 2021. Archive.vn URL:

  3. Nadia Khomami. “Ukip’s only MP Douglas Carswell quits Party,” The Guardian, March 25, 2017. Archived January 5, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/9JzBk

  4. Tory MP Douglas Carswell defects to UKIP – full statement,” BBC News, August 28, 2014. Archived January 11, 2020. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/U1gtC 

  5. Jessica Elgot, Robert Booth, Peter Walker. “Former Ukip MP Douglas Carswell to step down in Clacton,” The Guardian, April 20, 2017. Archived January 26, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/eZeAr 

  6. Advisory Council,” IEA. Archived January 26, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/WANfC 

  7. Non-executive board member Douglas Carswell,” GOV.UK. Archived January 5, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/Aupr3

  8. EU Referendum,” The Electoral Commission. Archived January 5, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/EuOd6

  9.  “Brexit: Vote Leave broke electoral law, says Electoral Commission,” BBC News, July 17, 2018. Archived January 5, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/t9rHM

  10. Mike Power, James Randerson. “Top 10 Tory bloggers disagree with David Cameron on climate change,” The Guardian, November 16, 2009. Archived January 5, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/ouhvi 

  11. MCPP Welcomes Brexit Leader As New CEO,” Mississippi Center for Public Policy, January 5, 2021. Archived January 19, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/45ChS 

  12. Leadership,” Good Governance Project. Archived January 26, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/PNN8M 

  13. Douglas Carswell. “I was wrong about the Climate Change Act,” The Global Warming Policy Forum, February 25, 2013. Archived January 5, 2021. Archive.vn URLhttps://archive.vn/KXu4X

  14. (Press Release). “Wear and Tear Hits Farm Output and Economic Lifetime,” Renewable Energy Foundation, December 19, 2012. Archived January 5, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/uNkko

  15. Leo Hickman. “Douglas Carswell: How the facts on global warming have changed,” The Guardian, November 30, 2009. Archived January 5, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/EOp1q 

  16. Douglas Carswell. “Eco-sceptic?ConservativeHome, January 21, 2008. Archived January 4, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/WChKh

  17. Douglas Carswell. “Cheer Up! The world is getting better,” TheOldie, August 12, 2019. Archived January 5, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/6t4If

  18. Megan Darby. “UK farmer warns of climate impacts in sceptic MP’s region,” Climate Home News, November 11, 2014. Archived January 5, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/5haqP 

  19. MCPP Welcomes Brexit Leader As New CEO,” Mississippi Center for Public Policy, January 5, 2021. Archived January 19, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/45ChS 

  20. (Press Release). “Liz Truss Announces four new non-executive board members,” GOV.UK, December 1, 2020. Archived January 5, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/bcDXx 

  21. Matt Ridley talks to Douglas Carswell,” YouTube video uploaded by user Douglas Carswell on June 14, 2019. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  22. First Annual Europe Liberty Forum Champions Free People, Free Markets,” Atlas Network, June 11, 2016, Archived January 5, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/ufvLh

  23. James Dwan. “Carswell calls for halt to wind farm subsidies, but Clacton green campaigner hits back,” The Clacton Gazette, January 21, 2016. Archived January 5, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/4KE9y 

  24. Merryn Somerset Webb. “Douglas Carswell: only the free market has the answers,” MoneyWeek, July 23, 2015. Archived January 5, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/0hFj6 

  25. Oral Answers to Questions: Energy and Climate Change,” UK Parliament, December 18, 2014. Archived January 5, 2021. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/kw37A 

  26. Douglas Carswell. “The energy companies have friends in Westminster. It’s time they had some enemies,” The Telegraph, December 8, 2014. Archived January 5, 2020. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/J9roN

  27. Books by Douglas Carswell,” Goodreads. Archived February 11, 2021. Archive.vn URLhttps://archive.vn/04oA

Other Resources

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