Former Chancellor Lord Lawson has been an outspoken critic of UK and European climate change and renewables policy. He famously founded The Global Warming Policy Foundation, which has been criticized by many observers as being a pseudo-scientific body set up to give a degree of credibility to climate change deniers.
Last week the GWPF suffered an unexpected setback to its credibility, as reported by The Guardian. An information rights tribunal rule that it was ‘not “influential” enough to warrant making the Charity Commission disclose its seed funder… The verdict followed a freedom of information request to identify the individual or organisation that gave the GWPF £50,000 when it was launched in 2009 to lobby against action on global warming, just days before a major climate change summit in Copenhagen attended by world leaders including Barack Obama.
I’m not a supported of the GWPF, although I think Lord Lawson does quite a good job of helping so-called ‘climate change deniers’ look a bit stupid. Still, I have mixed views on some of his scientific supports. Professor Philip Stott will be known to many listeners of Radio 2′s Jeremy Vine Show, but he is also a scientific advisor to the GWPF. Last autumn I heard him speak at Canterbury Farmers Club on energy policy and agriculture.
I agree with a lot of what he said, including:
- Successive governments have failed to appreciate or plan for the need to renew the UK’s generation fleet
- Many environmentalists have forgone scientific methods to make their case
- The UK population does not want to sacrifice its current quality of life, no matter how much it also wants to save the planet
- Climate modelling is mathematically and scientifically complex and this complexity is not fully understood by many environmentalists
However, he also quoted out of date statistics (which unless, like me, you worked in the sector, you would take to be 100% reliable) and spoiled his good points with cheap shots against politicians, environmentalists and other scientists.
If the GWPF continues to influence the Daily Mail readership, but nobody else, does the majority need to worry about them?
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