21 May 2021: Costing the earth

21 May 2021 — DeSmogUK

Honestly, we’d really rather not be writing about the UK’s most prominent climate science denial group on a windswept Friday afternoon (or, indeed, any afternoon, tbh).

But in what feels like an alarming pattern of recent weeks, yet another high profile figure has joined the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a thinktank infamous for spreading misinformation on climate change.

Just a few days ago we reported how two Oxford University professors had coolly joined its ranks, one claiming the organisation offered “open debate” and that members were not climate deniers “for the most part”. How reassuring.

We’d just about stopped rolling our eyes when Conservative MP Steve Baker – that’s right, a public servant representing tens of thousands constituents – revealed he too would be joining the GWPF’s ranks as a trustee.

Baker has never been exactly an environmentalist, but it seems he’s not much of an economist either. Announcing his appointment today on Twitter, he said he was “increasingly concerned” about the “astronomical costs” of the government’s current climate plans.

It appears the MP for Wycombe doesn’t know (or care) that climate-related disasters cost the world $650 billion from 2016-2018, or that dealing with the impacts of climate change will likely be the most expensive bill the world has ever footed.

Baker says he predicts a “terrible revolt”, yet this is somewhat undermined by polling showing that five in six U.K. adults think that addressing climate change is very or fairly important, and that three in four wanted politicians to prioritise the issue.

It’s not the first time Baker has surrounded himself with those sceptical about climate action. Let’s not forget he’s the former chair of the pro-hard Brexit MPs pressure group, the European Research Group (ERG) of MPs, members of which included Jacob Rees-Mogg and John Redwood, who have both dismissed mainstream scientific predictions about climate change.

The former “Brexit hardman” is concerned that all this spending will spell an end to the “comfortable lifestyles we have enjoyed for generations”. No thought for the future. No thought for the billions less fortunate than himself. An impeccable example of an altruistic public servant, hell bent on saving his own metaphorical bacon.

Steve, we salute you.

As always, we love feedback on the newsletter. If you have anything to say, please email editor@desmog.uk. Image credit: Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0].

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‘Brexit Hardman’ Steve Baker MP Joins Climate Denial Group

Conservative MP Steve Baker has joined the UK’s principal climate science denial group the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

Announcing his appointment to the GWPF’s board of trustees on Twitter, Baker said he was “delighted” to accept the invitation from the group’s founder, Lord Nigel Lawson. Lawson, who was previously the Group’s chair, announced he was stepping back from its activities in 2019. Read more…

Dozens of Christian Organisations Announce Fossil Fuel Divestment Ahead of G7 and COP26

Three dozen Christian organisations and institutions from across the world — including dioceses from the Church of England — announced their divestment from fossil fuels today and urged leaders to take greater action on climate change ahead of major global summits this year. Read more…

Science Museum Head Defends Shell Sponsorship of Climate Change Exhibition

The director of the Science Museum in London has defended Shell’s sponsorship of a climate change exhibition amid growing public calls for the museum to cut ties with the energy giant.

Ian Blatchford wrote in an email to staff on 29 April, posted online by Culture Unstained, that sponsorship by energy companies like Shell, BP, and Equinor were achieving a “public good” by educating people about climate change, including possible solutions. Read more…

Oxford University Professor Condemned for ‘Legitimising Lies and Falsehoods’ of Climate Denial Group

Oxford University is facing criticism after the UK’s principal climate science denial group appointed a second professor to its ranks.

Emeritus Fellow Professor Peter Dobson has defended his decision to accept a position on the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)’s academic advisory council. Read more...

Government Defends Praising Tar Sands Industry Figures as COP26 ‘Climate Champions’

The UK government has defended its decision to celebrate representatives of companies involved in Canada’s controversial tar sands industry as “Climate Champions”, ahead of the COP26 UN climate summit it is set to host later this year.

A UK-Canada event last week praised 26 “exceptional individuals actively working to move Canada to net-zero emissions”, five of whom work for companies and investors involved in the fossil fuel industry, including the Canadian oil sands. Read more…

The Greenwashing Files: Fossil Fuel Giants Accused of ‘Deceptive’ Advertising

Fossil fuel companies could face legal challenges over their misleading advertising, after a DeSmog investigation uncovered the extent of their “greenwashing”.

Environmental lawyers ClientEarth have put companies on notice with the publication of the Greenwashing Files. The analyses, which use DeSmog’s research, show how adverts of major fossil fuel companies and energy producers continue to over-emphasise their green credentials, giving the public a misleading impression of their businesses. Read more…

Revealed: The Climate-Conflicted Directors Leading the World’s Top Banks

The majority of directors at the world’s biggest banks have affiliations to polluting companies and organisations, a DeSmog investigation shows.

The findings raise concerns over a systemic conflict of interest at a time when the international financial sector is under increasing pressure to stop funding fossil fuels. Read more…


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