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Friday, 5 September 2014

Establishment Eco-Crimes

The Establishment’s greatest crime is to bring our planet to the brink of environmental disaster

Earlier this week The Guardian reported that two secret funders of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), former chancellor Nigel Lawson’s climate-sceptic think-tank, are also linked to the right-wing Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). Neil Record is founder of a currency management company and an IEA trustee. Industrialist Lord Nigel Vinson is the life Vice-President. According to the Charity Commission, Vinson has given the GWPF £15,000. Record meanwhile refused to comment, stating that it was a private matter.

This isn’t much of a surprise, and in fact lays bare, again, the Establishment’s greatest crime – pushing our planet ever onwards to the brink of planetary disaster.

According to the article by Damien Carrington, the IEA has admitted accepting funding from fossil fuel companies and has also argued against climate change mitigation. It promotes climate change denial and has a history of attacking climate science. It’s stance on climate change is brazenly announced in the article by Robert L. Bradley Climate Alarmism Reconsidered which it featured on its website in 2004, in which Bradley states:

“Government intervention in the name of energy sustainability is the major threat to real energy sustainability and the provision of affordable, reliable energy to growing economies worldwide. Free-market structures and the wealth generated by markets help communities to best adapt to climate change.”

According to ExxonSecrets, the American Friends of the Institute for Economic Affairs has received $50,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.

So, no surprise to find either that the IEA is in cahoots with other right-wing think tanks and lobby groups when it comes to attacking climate science. In July this year, the IEA featured on its website a short article written by Ryan Bourne who is the Head of Public Policy at the IEA but also the Head of Economic Research at the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS).

The article argued against silencing Lord Lawson stating that he had much to contribute with regard to an economic response to climate change and that we shouldn’t leave climate change to the scientists.

The IEA website has also hosted the arguments of economist Professor Colin Robinson, of the University of Surrey, who, perhaps unsurprisingly, worked for many years in the oil industry. There have been many others appearing on the site taking the same or a similar stance. You can read all about them on Denierlist. Professor Michael Beanstock, for example, has accused climate scientists of misusing statistics, describing the greenhouse effect as an illusion and arguing that climate change is really down to the sun.

Interestingly enough, according to George Monbiot, not once has the BBC challenged the IEA about its claim to be an independent organisation. Given that the media is among those institutions identified by Owen Jones as part of The Establishment, this, to my mind, supports his view that it is basically a racket, not just with regard to preserving privilege from the rich but also with regard to preventing and obstructing real action on climate change.

Additional notes:

Energy & Environment Dates 2012