Saturday, 8 November 2014

The Global Warming Policy Foundation

The latest report from the UN's IPCC says in no uncertain terms that we will have to cut carbon emissions drastically:
Futures Forum: Climate change: "The implication of no immediate action is worryingly clear."

The Mail reported the same - with some reservations:
Fossil fuels 'must be phased out by 2100', UN report warns | Daily Mail Online

It is these reservations which have somewhat irritated the founder of the Transition Towns movement: the latest from Rob Hopkin's blog is pretty hard-hitting:

Why "at the end of the day" just isn't OK

At the age of 17, I resolved never to use a particular phrase, which sadly, it seems to me, is once again increasingly common in everyday English usage. I can’t stand it. It’s a term the Global Warming Policy Foundation were quoted as using in a lamentable piece of climate activist-bashing in last weekend’s ‘Mail on Sunday’. “At the end of the day”, they said, “someone will have to be held accountable for us committing economic suicide”.

No, it’s not the “someone will have to be held accountable for us committing economic suicide” bit, awesomely stupid and sodden with irony though it is. It is, the article would have you believe, climate change activists who are responsible for high energy bills, not privatisation, big energy companies and the demands of their shareholders, and the possibility that it might actually be a good idea to do something to prevent runaway climate change. Rather, what has me reaching for the Rant Button this morning is the “at the end of the day” part of that sentence.

In my mid teens I spent many hours engrossed in a phone in radio show on my local radio station, the since-re-branded-as-something-else GWR Radio. The Dave Barrett Phone-In, like most late night phone-ins since, offered a haven for a wide range of views, from the enlightened (rare) to the bigoted and uninformed (very common).

Dave’s show would alternate between his Problems Night where people would ring in to discuss their intimate relationship and sexual health issues with him (I mean, why would you?), shows that discussed UFOs, crop circles, ghosts and so on, and then the more general, anything-goes phone in, usually with a theme. Sometimes just as entertaining were the people who would ring in just to be rude to him, or to wind him up in various creative ways.

To this day I wonder if the tale of “Simon” and his brother-in-law was for real. Apparently, he had gone round to see his sister, who, it turned out, was going out, so he had decided to stay and watch TV with her husband instead.

“Anyway Dave, one thing lead to another”, and before long, he and his brother-in-law were having passionate, full-on sex on the living room floor, at which point the sister returned home. She was, as one might imagine, more than just a little upset. I’ll always remember his plaintive “but Dave, she won’t speak to me any more!”, the response to which was Dave’s rather shocked “I think she might need a little bit of time”...

But Dave’s trump card, wheeled out with alarming regularity, was “at the end of the day”. He was a master at it. Whenever an argument was going against him, he’d wheel out an “at the end of the day” to kill the discussion. It was shorthand for “at the end of the day I’m right, and it’s my show, so I’m drawing this conversation to a close”. It was a powerful weapon in his skilled hands.

I remember ringing him one time to debate nuclear weapons, and his using “at the end of the day, the world’s a dangerous place” to close down and therefore brush aside everything I had said up to that point before cutting me off to go to an ad break. I fumed.

It is one step beyond the less offensive but still irritating “yes, but”. “Yes, but” is used in conversations to mean “I realise you’ve been talking for the last little while, and I completely don’t agree but now I want to tell you what I think and need some sort of sound as recognition that you’ve said some things, but I couldn’t tell you what they were”. But “at the end of the day” goes beyond that.

When you are losing an argument, your “at the end of the day” needs to be a big one. “At the end of the day”-type arguments carry the absolutist gravitas of points such as “you basically can’t really trust people”, “the world’s a dangerous place”, or the one that makes me scream: “but, at the end of the day, business is business” ... something sweeping which somehow, it is imagined, brings the weight of common sense, or what is presented as majority opinion, however misinformed, rallying to your side very quickly. The Global Warming Policy Foundation’s “Someone will have to be held accountable for us committing economic suicide” is a classic “at the end of the day”.

It’s a point that takes a lot longer to argue with it than it takes to make it. What one would like to do in response is to make the point that the best way to “commit economic suicide” is to allow the world to warm by 6 degrees, to unleash weird weather on the world, to allow large parts of the world to be ravaged by drought, flood, famine, unpredictable weather, fires, etc etc. That approach is probably the best definition of “economic suicide” one could think of.

But that conversation has been closed down by an “at the end of the day”. Dave Barrett would be proud (he still works on radio and also does some TV work by the way, and if he reads this, Dave, thanks for the years of entertainment. In my dreams he had a major shift in world view, was one of the founders of Transition Swindon, and doesn’t say “at the end of the day” anymore).

“At the end of the day” closes down the discussions we most need to be having. It’s not an expression you’ll find me using. If I ever use it on this website, you have my permission to shower me with scorn and derision and put me out of my misery. It is the antithesis of good listening. You won’t find it used in Non Violent Communication. You won’t find it used in Open Space meetings. You won’t find it anywhere where people are genuinely interested in open and respectful communication with each other.

Yet somehow if you want to really communicate the kinds of nonsense pedalled by GWPF, it’s a useful tool. Watch out for it. It’s just not one I intend adopting. At the end of the day. 

Published on October 28, 2014, by Rob Hopkins

Why "at the end of the day" just isn't OK | Transition Network

And here is the original piece from the Mail by David Rose:

EXPOSED: How a shadowy network funded by foreign millions is making our household energy bills soar - for a low-carbon Britain

Shadowy pro-green lobbyists working at every level of the Establishment
Organisations are channelling tens of millions of pounds into green policies
Elite lobby group linked to Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the WWF
Current energy policies shaped by the Green Blob will cost up to £400billion
If continued, there will be further eye-watering energy bill rises for Britons


PUBLISHED: 22:02, 25 October 2014 | UPDATED: 14:57, 26 October 2014

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The 'Green Blob', a phrase first coined by former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, is a group of pro-green lobbyists working at every level of the British Establishment

The Mail on Sunday today exposes how a ‘Green Blob’ financed by a shadowy group of hugely wealthy foreign donors is driving Britain towards economically ruinous eco targets. The phrase the ‘Green Blob’ was coined by former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson after he was sacked from the Cabinet in July. He was referring to a network of pro-green lobbyists working at every level of the British Establishment, who have helped shape the eco policies sending household energy bills soaring.

But investigations by this newspaper reveal the Blob is not just an abstract concept. We have found that innocuous-sounding bodies such as the Dutch National Postcode Lottery, the American William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Swiss Oak Foundation are channelling tens of millions of pounds each year to climate change lobbyists in Britain, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. They have publicly congratulated themselves on their ability to create green Government policy in the UK – most notably after Ed Miliband steered through aggressive CO2 reduction targets in his 2008 Climate Change Act, and announced there would be no more coal power stations.

Yet the consequences of their continuing success are certain: further eye-watering rises in energy costs for millions of Britons and an increasing risk of blackouts. According to leading energy analyst Peter Atherton of Liberum Capital, current UK energy policies shaped by the Blob will cost between £360 billion and £400 billion to implement by 2030. He said this will see bills rise by at least a third in real terms – on top of the increases already seen over the past ten years. This bill dwarfs the EU’s £1.7 billion demand from Britain last week.

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Lobbying by the Blob helped lead to a new European Union emissions deal announced on Friday, when EU leaders including the Prime Minister agreed to triple the current pace of emissions cuts. Following earlier deals, EU-wide emissions of CO2 are supposed to fall 20 per cent over the 30-year period 1990 to 2020. Under the new agreement, this reduction must be doubled in just a decade, reaching ‘at least’ 40 per cent by 2030 – a goal that could only be accomplished through further massive investment in wind and nuclear energy.

At the heart of the Blob is a single institution – the European Climate Foundation (ECF) – which has offices in London, Brussels, The Hague, Berlin and Warsaw. Every year it receives about £20 million from ‘philanthropic’ foundations in America, Holland and Switzerland, and channels most of it to green campaign and lobby groups.

Overview of the EU's climate and energy policy architecture

It refuses to disclose how much it gives to each recipient, and does not publish its accounts. But it admits that the purpose of these grants is to influence British and EU climate and energy policy across a broad front. Many more millions are fed directly to British and European lobby groups from the same overseas foundations which also fund ECF. In its last annual report, ECF said working towards a 2030 deal was ‘a big focus area for ECF as a whole’.

ECF managing director Tom Brookes told The Mail on Sunday he provides ‘a fact-base’ to help policy-makers make the ‘many complex decisions that are necessary to move towards a high-innovation, prosperous and low-carbon future’. He added: ‘The UK is a leader in many of these fields.’ Friday's EU deal contains a get-out clause: if the rest of the world fails to agree a binding global emissions treaty at a UN conference in Paris next year, then Europe’s targets can be ‘reviewed’ – or in other words, abandoned. Giants such as China, India and Australia have insisted they will not sign such a treaty. It is also unlikely to be approved by the US Congress, which is Republican-controlled.

However, thanks to Ed Miliband and his 2008 Climate Change Act, the get-out will make no difference for Britain. The UK is the only country which already has a binding target for 2050. By then, the law says, UK emissions must be 80 per cent down on 1990. Mr Miliband’s Act also created a mechanism for ensuring the country sticks to a path that achieves this target – the so-called ‘carbon budget’. The scale of the challenge that its latest version poses is not widely realised. Over the next 15 years, the electricity industry has to cut the CO2 it emits for every kilowatt it generates by 90 per cent – an unprecedented transformation.

An EU deal contains a climate change get-out clause - but thanks to Miliband's 2008 Climate Change Act - this makes no difference to Britain But the carbon budget also means the total amount of power generating capacity has to more than double. In order to meet the 2050 target, there has to be a massive shift towards electric vehicles and heating. While fossil fuel power plants will close, both their replacements and this vast additional capacity will have to be wind or nuclear – by far the most expensive types of power.

Remarkably, green lobby group Friends of the Earth not only conceived the Climate Change Act, but Bryony Worthington, the FoE official who came up with the idea and lobbied MPs to support it, later actually drafted it. ‘When you’re on the outside lobbying, you kind of hope that you are going to have an impact, [but] you’re never really very sure,’ she told a green seminar three years ago. But she hit the jackpot. Her proposal was taken up first by the new Tory leader, David Cameron, and followed by the then-Labour Government. Worthington, who was seconded into the civil service, was asked to rewrite her lobbyist’s memo, this time as a law. Once it was safely on the statute book, she left the civil service to form a new green campaign group, Sandbag, which presses the Government to adopt more stringent forms of carbon taxes. Like her previous employer FoE, it is now funded by ECF. Ed Miliband made her a Labour peer in 2011.

While the Act was going through Parliament, the ECF, which was launched in 2007-8, was giving money to Greenpeace UK, FoE, Christian Aid and the WWF to mount a campaign against coal-fired power plants. Also funded was Client Earth, a group of lawyers who secured court acquittals for ‘direct action’ protesters who broke into the Kingsnorth plant in Kent, climbed its chimneys and occupied it. The campaign persuaded Mr Miliband to announce the cancellation of a planned new generating unit at Kingsnorth – and that there would be no new coal plants built in Britain.

Afterwards, the ECF president, Jules Kortenhorst, boasted that Miliband had acted in response to ‘a complex, multifaceted effort over a year and a half, with grass-roots mobilisation campaigns [and] behind the scenes lobbying’. He added: ‘All of this work, backed by substantial philanthropic investment, resulted in UK Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband announcing that no new coal-fired power plants would be built… This is an example of a policy that can be replicated, increasing its impact.’

Follow the money

The most significant source for the ECF’s millions is a body called Climate Works – a private foundation which channels colossal sums to climate campaigners worldwide. The Climate Works manifesto was set out in 2007 in a document entitled ‘Design to Win: Philanthropy’s Role in the Fight Against Global Warming’. It said that to be effective, a campaign to change government policies on energy and emissions would need at least $600 million from donors.

It was driven by the belief that without radical action, ‘we could lose the fight against global warming over the next ten years’. It advocated the giving of generous grants to local campaigners in countries such as Britain who had detailed knowledge of the way their political systems operated. As well as better energy efficiency, carbon taxes and emissions caps, they must ‘promote renewables and low emission alternatives’. Utility companies must be given ‘financial incentives’ – in other words, enormous subsidies from tax and bill payers – to make this happen.

Climate Works soon achieved its ambitious fundraising target, with a grant in 2008 of $500 million from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which spends the fortune amassed by the co-founder of the Hewlett-Packard computer firm. This was followed by further grants of up to $100 million, and donations of $60 million from the sister Packard foundation. In July, a report by a US Senate committee named the Hewlett foundation as a key element in a ‘billionaires’ club’ which effectively controlled the environmental movement, pumping more than half a billion dollars a year into green groups around the world. It claimed these ‘wealthy liberals fully exploit the benefits of a generous tax code meant to promote genuine philanthropy and charitable acts’, but instead were transferring money to ‘activists’ to ‘promote shared political goals’.

One of the US-based Climate Works’s first acts was to set up and fund ECF as its European regional office. All ECF’s main funders are represented on ECF’s board, including Charlotte Pera, who is also Climate Works’s CEO. Susan Bell, ECF’s vice-chairman, was formerly the Hewlett foundation’s vice-president. Another director is Kate Hampton, an executive director at the Children’s Investment Fund, a UK charity with assets worth £324 million.Others come from finance and business. ECF’s chairman is Caio Koch-Weser, vice-chairman of Deutsche Bank, whose contacts in Brussels could not be better: from 2003–5, he chaired the EU’s Economic and Financial committee. Yet another director is Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland.

No transparency

It is hard to assess the ECF’s full impact for a simple reason – although it publishes the names of some of the organisations it funds, it does not state how much it gives, nor exactly how this money is used.

The ECF’s Tom Brookes said: ‘The projects we fund all fall within the overall mission of the Foundation to support the development of a prosperous low-carbon economy in Europe.’ He would not explain why no amounts were stated, saying only that ECF’s annual report ‘describes the objectives of each ECF programme area and its significant grantees. ‘We are confident that this is a sufficient level of detail to provide insight into the work of the Foundation… Our policy on the information we publish reflects our responsibilities to our grantees and donors.’

Nevertheless, it is clear from the information that is available that the list of ECF funding recipients is a Who’s Who of the green movement, including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the WWF, Client Earth, Carbon Brief, the Green Alliance, and E3G, the elite lobby group that persuaded the Government to set up the £3 billion Green Investment Bank. The 2013 ECF report sets out its priorities for Britain, praising its ‘leadership on the climate front’ – thanks to the Climate Change Act. It also boasts that its grants had an impact on this year’s Energy Act: ‘ECF grantees such as Green Alliance, E3G, and Greenpeace helped secure important milestones such as an emissions performance standard for new power stations.’

To ECF’s dismay, however, the supposed UK ‘consensus’ on climate and energy is now in jeopardy: ‘Household energy bills have shot to the top of the political agenda, and progress on decarbonisation is tangled in competing visions of the country’s energy future… A growing number of media and political voices are casting doubt on the climate science and the economic case for action.’

Against this opposition, ECF’s 2013 report says it intends to work with British greens to ‘rebuild confidence in the low-carbon transition’, by ‘fact-checking the UK media’s coverage of climate and energy issues’. It says it will ‘establish a new unit that will promote evidence-based discussions in the media and mobilise authoritative voices on the low-carbon economy’. Since the report was published, this unit has come into being, run by former BBC environment correspondent Richard Black. How effective it will be remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, it is clear that the sheer scale of this lavishly funded lobbying effort dwarfs that of its opponents.

The Global Warming Policy Forum in London, Europe’s only think-tank which is sceptical about climate science and energy policy, has an annual budget of £300,000 and employs just three people. Its director, Dr Benny Peiser, said yesterday: ‘At the end of the day, someone will have to be held accountable for us committing economic suicide. We are the only organisation that does what we do – against hundreds on the other side, all saying the same thing.’

How network funded by foreign millions is making energy bills soar | Daily Mail Online

But who is the author of this article?
Search Results | Daily Mail Online
Climate change deniers – just who is Daily Mail reporter David Rose? | Pride's Purge
David Rose is not a credible source - OFFICIAL | Greenpeace UK
Humiliating mistakes by 'The Mail on Sunday'

And what is the Global Warming Policy Forum?
The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)
The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)
Global Warming Policy Foundation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Here is a recent piece looking at the GWPF:

10 Reasons To Remain Skeptical About Lawson’s Climate Advocacy
Wed, 2014-10-15 04:41BRENDAN MONTAGUE

Lord Lawson and his charity the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) will provide a platform from which the sacked environment minister Owen Paterson will launch a scathing attack on David Cameron , the Prime Minister and leader of their Tory party, on the issue of climate change.

Paterson used the front page of the Sunday Telegraph to call for Britain to scrap the Climate Change Act in what appeared to some as a right-wing challenge to the party leadership amid panic the Conservatives are losing support to climate deniers UKIP.

Here we present 10 reasons why everyone - including neoliberal Conservatives - should be skeptical about the climate denial being advocated by Lord Lawson and his educational charity.

1. Lord Lawson is not a climate scientist and nor is his director, Dr Benny Peiser. According to one of their own supporters neither man fully understands climate science. Edgar Miller, a Texan-born donor to the GWPF, said: “I think one of Benny’s problems is he doesn’t have a fundamental grounding in science…That’s one of the problems in this country… most people are scientifically illiterate. Nigel is a little bit that way.”

2. Lord Lawson’s statements on climate change science, climate change economics and climate change policy have been thoroughly debunked . For example, Lawson tried to anger hard up families about climate policies by claiming in the Daily Mail that green measures cost “an average of £200 more a year.” Ofgem, the independent regulator, says the total costs are only half that amount for any £1,300 bill. The Mail was forced to publish a “clarification” after relying on GWPF figures on these “green taxes”.

3. Dr Benny Peiser has absolutely no academic or professional qualifications relating to manmade climate change. His former employer, Liverpool John Moores University, has emphatically denied that Peiser published or conducted any work relating to global warming during his entire time there. Tim Cable, of LJMU, told an information tribunal that Peiser’s attack on actual climate scientists was “embarrassing” and “brought disrepute to the university, not repute.”

4. Peiser appears to base his views on long-term climate change on seasonal variations in the weather. “The predictions come in thick and fast, but we take them all with a pinch of salt. We look out of the window and it's very cold, itdoesn't seem to be warming ,” he told the Times newspaper one Christmas.

5. The GWPF, a registered charity, has been forced to split down the middle. The Charity Commission investigated complaints that the GWPF was publishing inaccurate and misleading information and was engaged in political campaigning. The charity watchdog found that the charity had in fact “blurred fact and comment”. Lawson has now set up the Global Warming Policy Forum which is a private, non-charitable company that can engage in political campaigning and publish pretty much what it likes. The public may find it difficult to differentiate between the charity GWPF and the lobbying GWPF.

6. There appears to be a huge rift among deniers about nuclear power. Paterson will call for a massive expansion in Britain’s nuclear energy programme at the GWPF. Yet it was Lawson, as chancellor, who persuaded Margaret Thatcher to shut down the country’s original nuclear programme because of the astronomical decommissioning costs. “Had it not been for privatisation,” he wrote in his memoirs, “who knows how much longer the country would have been paying the price of the phoney economics of nuclear power”.

7. Lord Lawson still refuses to name the funders of the GWPF. The funders named by DeSmog UK and the Guardian are: Michael Hintze , Neil Record, Lord Vinson , Lord Leach , Edgar Miller , Sir James Spooner , and Edward Atkin . Miller made money from shale gas investments, while Lord Leach declares an interest in BP with the House of Lords - although he is reasonably sure he does not own those shares now. Three GWPF donors (Hintze, Record, Lord Vinson ) also give money to the Institute of Economic Affairs, the think tank that was at the forefront of climate denial while accepting cash from oil companies.

8. Lord Lawson opposes limits to fossil fuels because, he says, it will cost jobs and damage industry. Yet Lawson took great pride in the fact he “orchestrated” privatisation in Britain and introduced “efficiency savings” that resulted in millions of people being thrown out of work and on to benefits. He called it “unemployment caused by the end of decades of overmanning”. At the same time Lawson as chancellor enjoyed the luxury of the Dorneywood Garden estate which is set in 215 acres of beautiful grounds, a chauffeur driven luxury car, wines from the Government cellar costing tens of thousands of pounds and, on one occasion, the delights of what he described as “highly trained and unfailingly solicitous geisha girls”. Nice work if you can get it.

9. Lord Lawson claimed on launching the GWPF that one of his major concerns was the plight of the world’s poor. Any attempt to reduce fossil fuel use would undermine economic development , he argues, leading to poverty and ill health. “I think that's possibly immoral.”  How the leopard has changed his spots. When chancellor he advocated a scheme to write off third world debt, not to actually reduce the amount being paid by stricken countries, but “to manoeuvre the governments” into adopting neoliberal reforms. This is what Naomi Klein has called the Shock Doctrine . “I was not known, for good reason, as a bleeding heart”, Lawson records in his memoirs.

10. Lord Lawson has attacked foreign investors in wind farms. Yet his own Polish based business partners are investing heavily in renewable energy . Lawson shortly after resigning as chancellor became chairman of the Central Europe Trust (CET), which looked to profit from the neoliberal takeover of Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The firm has worked with Polish coal monopolies, arms manufactures, petrol giants, a sex line magnate and even tried to drum up business with tobacco companies. But more recently Charles Jonscher, the company president, has put his cash into renewables. “Within the energy field, CET’s main activities are in renewable energy work of various kinds,” he said last year. “CET’s largest energy project is currently the development of a 78MW wind farm in Romania.”
10 Reasons To Remain Skeptical About Lawson’s Climate Advocacy | DeSmogBlog

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