Sunday, 27 June 2010
UKIP: Monckton's money
One of the more controversial lobbying firms in the world of politics is the US based Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). This group, which was once paid by the tobacco industry to deny the evidence on passive smoking, has also received a great deal of cash from Exxon Mobil to deny the facts behind global warming. Iain Murray, who wrote UKIP's response to the IPCC report is a paid fellow of CEI. Fellows basically put their names to documents and letters produced by the pr offices of large corporations.
CEI was somewhat embarrassed when the extent of the funding became the subject of intense debate, so they have opened a European office (EEI). In the EU, such organisations do not have to declare where they get their funding.
One of the most notorious figures in the world of denial is Siegfried (Fred) Singer. He denies everything, including the problems of acid rain. He is generally regarded as a charlatan.
Rolling Stone magazine wrote of him:
"A former mouthpiece for the tobacco industry, the 85-year-old Singer is the granddaddy of fake "science" designed to debunk global warming. The retired physicist — who also tried to downplay the danger of the hole in the ozone layer — is still wheeled out as an authority by big polluters determined to kill climate legislation. For years, Singer steadfastly denied that the world is heating up: Citing satellite data that has since been discredited, he even made the unhinged claim that "the climate has been cooling just slightly."
Last year, Singer served as a lead author of "Climate Change Reconsidered" — an 880-page report by the right-wing Heartland Institute that was laughably presented as a counterweight to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world's scientific authority on global warming. Singer concludes that the unchecked growth of climate-cooking pollution is "unequivocally good news." Why? Because "rising CO2 levels increase plant growth and make plants more resistant to drought and pests." Small wonder that Heartland's climate work has long been funded by the likes of Exxon and reactionary energy barons like Charles Koch and Richard Mellon Scaife. "
Observers have recently been questioning why Christopher Monckton, UKIP's deputy leader, continues to trot out the old climate change denial nonsense. There is an increasing suspicion that he may be receiving oil company money for his efforts. Certainly there are relationships between UKIP MEPs and the Cato Institute, with which Singer has been involved, and which has received significant funding from Exxon Mobil. In fact, the CATO institute was a supporter of TICAP/FORCES, the organisation behind Godfrey Bloom's anti-smoking ban conference in the European Parliament, which was itself banned when it was discovered that there was tobacco industry money behind the event. A look at TICAP's website reveals that UKIP is a "supporter" of TICAP.
Both Bloom and Nigel Farage are also listed as signatories of the "Brussels Declaration". This seeks, amongst other things, to question the evidence against the health risks associated with passive smoking - but remember, the organisation and its associates appear to have taken funding from the tobacco industry! The lead figure in the Brussels Declaration is a certain Dr Gio Gori, who is strongly connected with the Cato Institute.
This particularly murky area of lobbying appears somewhat incestuous, as the same names keep coming up again and again...
Now it appears that there is a link between Monckton and Singer. Certainly, the two of them attended the Copenhagen conference together.
But possibly the most damning evidence against Monckton is his involvement with the US based "Heartland Institute".
The Heartland Institute appears to have received funding from Exxon Mobil.
Monckton is an embarrassment to UKIP, and it now appears that his position on climate change may be motivated by more than his interest in science and politics. UKIP should launch an internal investigation to ascertain which of its senior figures are tainted by industry money, and offenders should do the honourable thing and resign their positions.