Net Zero Watch

Net Zero Watch

Background

Net Zero Watch (NZW) is a campaign group launched and managed by the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) that claims to “scrutinise” the UK government’s net zero emissions plans and provide a “clear view of the reality of climate and energy policies”.1Who We Are,” Net Zero Watch. Archived October 11, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/JIFzv

The GWPF is the UK’s most prominent climate science denial group, with its associated “Foundation” having been founded by former chancellor Nigel Lawson with the purpose of combating what it describes as “extremely damaging and harmful policies” designed to mitigate climate change.2Ed Miliband clashes with Lord Lawson on global warming,” BBC News, December 6, 2009. Archived August 17, 2015 Archive link: https://archive.ph/47R7w/again?url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8398103.stm.

According to its website, NZW’s three “key campaigning issues” are “consistent climate and international policies”, “achievable and cost-effective solutions”, and “balanced and open debate”.3Who We Are,” Net Zero Watch. Archived October 11, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/JIFzv The campaign’s website features factsheets from the GWPF, as well as a link to sign up to the GWPF’s newsletter.4Factsheets,” Net Zero Watch. Archived October 11, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/71kJl

In a post announcing the launch of Net Zero Watch, Director Benny Peiser wrote that one of the central concerns of NZW was the 2021 energy crisis in the UK, writing that gas prices were “going through the roof” while “our domestic shale gas resources [sit] untapped under an absurd government ban”.5Benny Peiser. “Welcome to Net Zero Watch,” Net Zero Watch. Archived October 11, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/waLwc

Peiser added that Net Zero Watch will “challenge the wild claims of green activists and policy advisers about this venerable and benign technology, which has brought US gas prices down to a small fraction of those here”.

The group is currently based at 55 Tufton Street in Westminster, an address it shares with the GWPF and several right-wing, libertarian thinktanks.

The campaign was launched on 11 October, 2021.6Benny Peiser. “Welcome to Net Zero Watch,” Net Zero Watch. Archived October 11, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/waLwc

Stance on Climate Change

Net Zero Watch states on its website:

“We all want to see a cleaner and better environment for future generations, but if climate and energy policies are rushed and their costs and implications not fully thought through, they will almost certainly do more harm than good.”7Who We Are,” Net Zero Watch. Archived October 11, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/JIFzv

Funding

According to its website, Net Zero Watch is funded by “private donations”. The group also states that in order to “make clear its complete independence, neither it nor the GWPF accept gifts from either energy companies or anyone with a significant interest in an energy company.”8Who We Are,” Net Zero Watch. Archived October 11, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/JIFzv

Key People

NZW’s Board of Directors are listed as:9Board Members,” Net Zero Watch. Archived October 11, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/a31l8

NZW’s officers are listed as:10Who We Are,” Net Zero Watch. Archived October 11, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/JIFzv

Actions

June 20, 2022

Net Zero Watch published a press release calling on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to pause the Government’s net zero policies and spending plans, after a Telegraph article in which the Auditor General, Gareth Davies, highlighted the risk of taxpayers being shortchanged by environmental policies.11(Press Release). “Calls for Boris Johnson to pause Net Zero policies after auditor general warns costs risk spiralling out of control”, Net Zero Watch, June 20, 2022. Archived June 20, 2022. Archive.ph URL: https://archive.ph/X9ulz  12Camilla Turner. “Net-zero plans ‘risk being a waste of taxpayer money’, says spending watchdog”, Telegraph, June 19, 2022. Archived June 19, 2022. Archive.ph URL: https://archive.ph/RzjxW

The press release quoted GWPF Director, Benny Peiser, who said: “We have been warning for years that radical decarbonization policies are out of control, and wildly expensive and regressive […] it is urgent that the Net Zero agenda is put on hold for the duration of the cost of living crisis.”

Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay, chair of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, said: “The government’s policy of achieving Net Zero at any price and at an arbitrary date has been forensically taken apart as a fruitless ambition by the National Audit Office (NAO).”

April 6, 2022

Net Zero Watch published a press release calling for the UK’s ban on fracking to be lifted in light of a Savanta ComRes poll commissioned by the group.13(Press Release). “Brits support an end to fracking ban”, Net Zero Watch, April 6, 2022. Archived April 6, 2022. Archive.ph URL: https://archive.ph/ZS7zz 

The press release quoted Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay, chair of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, who said: “the government urgently needs to reconsider its stances on Net Zero and the shale gas moratorium.”

October 11, 2021

In a post announcing the launch of the Net Zero Watch campaign, Director Benny Peiser wrote that NZW was “following in the footsteps of the Global Warming Policy Forum” and that the group believed “a political backlash is long overdue”.14Benny Peiser. “Welcome to Net Zero Watch,” Net Zero Watch. Archived October 11, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/waLwc

Peiser added:

“In essence, we stand at a new crossroads in the climate and energy debate.

“For years, the people of this country have been corralled towards a future that they cannot see and cannot understand. But the energy crisis this winter will reveal what politicians and eco-activists have kept hidden – that in a Net Zero future you will be poorer and colder.”

October 11, 2021

In an appearance on TalkRADIO with host Julia Hartley-Brewer, NZW Head of Policy Harry Wilkinson said that the current government “doesn’t seem to understand” that “people need to stay warm,” and that this is part of the reason for the launch of the NZW campaign. Wilkinson said that net zero had become an “overwhelming” consensus in Westminster with “so little debate, so little scrutiny” and that the campaign would “scrutinise these [net zero] policies” and “work out better alternatives that can deliver the affordability, the reliability that people need”.15“Net Zero Watch is here now to scrutinise these policies, to look at what the impacts will be for your listeners, for everyone, and work out better alternatives that can deliver the affordability and the reliability that people need.”@HarryWilkinsonn tells @JuliaHB1“. Tweet by @NetZeroWatch, October 11, 2021. Retrieved from Twitter.com. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/gjYWL.

Hartley-Brewer said that the “focus now on net zero” has “taken over every other aspect of energy policy, including affordable cheap energy, reliable energy, and secure energy”.

Associated Politicians

Conservative

Contact & Address

According to its website, Net Zero Watch can be reached at the following address:16Who We Are,” Net Zero Watch. Archived October 11, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/JIFzv

55 Tufton Street,

London, SW1P 3QL

44 2073 406066

44 7553 361717

[email protected]

The former URL for the Global Warming Policy Forum, the campaigning wing of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, now re-directs to the Net Zero Watch site. The group’s Twitter and Facebook accounts have also been rebranded as Net Zero Watch.

Social Media

Resources

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