Thursday, 10 December 2015

Lord Lawson: let's see the evidence

Much as I would like to skewer Nigel Lawson with evidence of financial interests dictating his public contesting of the scientific evidence for climate change, Wednesday's cover story in the Independent does not provide it. All it shows is that one of the advisers to Lord Lawson's Global Warming Policy Foundation is prepared to write for money independently of his academic post, and that much of the GWPF's funding comes from people who also contribute to the Conservative Party.

Indeed, it is difficult to find any financial ties binding the GWPF board of trustees. Peter Lilley MP has held a directorship in a small player in the energy field, Tethys Petroleum and is an unpaid director of Facor Energy Ltd, a Guernsey company which does not yet trade; Lord Donoughue has shares in Canadian Western Bank NPV, which judging by its home location is used by companies exploiting the Dominions tar sands; and Sir Martin Jacomb was twenty years ago chairman of Barclays Bank which was more recently helped out by the Qataris. It is all rather tenuous.

The advisers comprise well-known climate change sceptics - perhaps the only scientists who are? - but surely it is only natural for a foundation which starts from a sceptical point of view to commission advice from like-minded experts. Of course, if it could be shown that GWPF actually generates income from its advisers, it would be a different matter, but the article does not even claim this.

Of course, there may be personal and informal contacts between the GWPF founders and the fossil fuel industry. If there are, we would expect investigative journalists to winkle them out, not present a brittle chain of innuendo.

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