GLOBE - a vehicle for avoiding FoI
Mar 24, 2010
Bishop Hill in Climate: Oxburgh

Reader, Cumbrian Lad, has been doing a sterling job researching the GLOBE organisation mentioned in earlier postings today, and which counts Lord Oxburgh as a director. It was a bit of an oversight for Lord O not to mention this, as GLOBE turns out to be quite an interesting body.

GLOBE's corporate structure and funding are not clear from its website, but Cumbrian Lad has discovered that it is a private limited company. Interesting that  - an organisation of legislators,  run as a private company. He has also obtained copies of its accounts and other information from Companies House.

GLOBE was incorporated in 2006, the founding directors all being British legislators - Malcolm Bruce MP (LibDem), Joan Ruddock MP (Lab) and Nick Hurd (Con), with the last directorship being held by Lord Hunt. Since that time, Joan Ruddock has stood down and Lord Oxburgh and Eliot Morley MP (Lab) have been appointed to the board.

The current accounts are all abbreviated, which means there is very little detail about the income and expenditure of the company, but for some reason 2007 was filed in full, revealing an income of £820k, almost double that of the previous year, and all of which was spent on administrative expenses.

The company's Memorandum of Incorporation includes this interesting snippet about its purposes:

"To provide a forum for ideas and proposals to be floated in confidence and without the attention of an international spotlight". (emphasis added)

The 2007 accounts also refer to creating "a forum for legislators and business leaders to discuss the 2012 climate agreement, illegal logging and related issues". I'm not sure what the reference to 2012 concerns.

And who is paying for all this? There's a note in the 2008 accounts which explains:

The Directors acknowledge the support of International Organisations, Governments, Parliamentary Bodies and Industry, both financially and politically, with paticular acknowledgement to United Nations, The Global Environment Facility, The World Bank, European Commission, the Governments of Canada and Great Britain, the Senate of Brazil and Globe Japan.

My reading of all this would be that GLOBE is a vehicle to enable legislators to avoid the scrutiny of their electorates - the date of incorporation is probably instructive, coming just after the introduction of the Freedom of Information Act.

It's no wonder Lord Oxburgh didn't want to mention it on his CV.

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