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Climate science denial backers could be given peerages by Boris Johnson

Ex-Global Warming Policy Foundation boss who said UK should ‘move on’ from climate change reportedly on honours list

Adam Bychawski
10 October 2022, 4.19pm

Karl Black / Alamy Stock Photo


Johnson's honours list could put two figures linked to climate science denial group in the Lords.

A major donor and a former director of a leading climate science denial group are reportedly set to be given a seat in the House of Lords by Boris Johnson.

The former prime minister made the decision to nominate billionaire hedge fund manager Michael Hintze and former civil servant Ruth Lea for peerages before he left office in September, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Hintze, the founder and CEO of global asset management fund CQS, was previously revealed to be one of the funders of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), which is lobbying for the government to scrap its target to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

He has also given £4.7m to the Conservative Party and £100,000 to the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a think tank close to Liz Truss, which has also called for the UK to abandon its legally-binding net zero commitment and for the renewables industry to be hit with a windfall tax. 

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Johnson also recommended that Ruth Lea, a former trustee and director of the GWPF between 2019 to 2021, be awarded a peerage.

Lea has claimed that human contribution to global CO2 emissions is “paltry” and suggested that it is time to “move on” from discussing climate change. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report, based on analysis of 14,000 scientific publications, concluded that increased greenhouse gas emissions have been “unequivocal caused by human activities”.

The former GWPF director is also a fellow at the IEA and was appointed as adviser to Tory MP Craig Mackinlay earlier this year. Mackinlay, who leads the Net Zero Scrutiny Group (NZSG) of Tory MPs, has been one of the most vocal critics of the government’s net-zero policies.

The GWPF has been accused of spreading misinformation about the UK’s net zero commitments by seeking to blame the rising cost of living crisis on policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

Earlier this year, the GWPF’s campaigning arm, Net Zero Watch, published a paper claiming that building more wind and solar power would make energy bills rise, and calling for existing renewables to be “eventually wound down” and replaced with gas and coal.

Mackinlay was quoted in the report’s press release praising the lobby group’s “bold solutions” to the energy crisis.

Earlier this year, openDemocracy revealed that the GWPF has received hundreds of thousands of pounds from an oil-rich foundation with large investments in energy firms.

The GWPF refuses to disclose its donors in the UK and has claimed that it does not take money from fossil fuel interests.

However, US financial filings identified by openDemocracy show that the lobbyists have a donor with $30m shares in 22 companies working across coal, oil and gas. MPs and climate scientists have urged the Charity Commission to strip the GWPF of its charitable status following the revelations.

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