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« A major FOI victory | Main | Bizarre science - Josh 141 »
Monday
Jan232012

What the greens spend their money on

Leo Hickman reports that a group called the Request Initiative is pursuing an FOI request against the Charities Commission, trying to force them to release details of who is funding GWPF.

Request Initiative is an organisation that places FOI requests on behalf of charities and NGOs. It is run by a chap called Brendan Montague who, by strange coincindence, came to interview me in at the end of 2010, on the first anniversary of Climategate. At that point he explained that he was a freelance journalist and was writing a story about the Climategate anniversary. Strangely, nothing ever appeared. I therefore note with interest that he placed his first FOI request to the Charities Commission about GWPF in 2010. I wonder if the "freelance journalist" bit was therefore not entirely true. I can't remember whether we discussed GWPF and its funding at all but I wouldn't have been able to tell him anything about it anyway. My recollection is that we talked mainly about Climategate.

In passing, I note that the use of an intermediary such as Request Initiative essentially conceals the identity of the requester. I wonder which NGO is so bashful about its activities? When I chanced upon the original FOI request on the web, I asked Bob Ward - the most obvious source - if he was involved. He appeared to be very reticent about replying but eventually said that he had nothing to do with it.

As for the FOI request, it has now apparently worked its way up to the Information Tribunal. I can't see that it will meet with any success there. I'm no expert in the DPA, but I can't see an argument that there is a public interest in disclosing donors' names because GWPF are a bunch of liars (or word to that effect) meeting with much success. In fact I would have thought that GWPF the Charities Commission would have a good case to ask for their costs to be paid.

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Reader Comments (147)

BH

I think your imagination is running away with you.

We shall see.

In the mean time, let's not drift away from the central point: the GWPF and its mystery backers is acknowledged to be influential enough to 'insert itself into [the] national discourse' in the MSM:

Clues come in an additional chapter in the report, which looks at 10 UK newspapers - virtually all the national dailies, in other words. Among other things, it shows the success that the the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has had in inserting itself into national discourse since its establishment in 2009 - a success noted this week by the conservativehome blog, which describes it as "one of the most important think-tanks in Britain today". --Richard Black, BBC News, 10 November 2011

The main findings from the study of ten UK national newspapers can be summarised thus: [...] The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has been particularly successful in getting its views reported across most of the 10 UK newspapers. The two most quoted sceptics by far in the second period were Lord Lawson and Benny Peiser (more than 80 times between them) both from the GWPF. --James Painter, Poles Apart: the International Reporting of Climate Scepticism, University of Oxford, Reuters Institute for the study of Journalism, November 2011

(see GWPF article for links).

Whatever is providing the majority funding is paying for this influence. The proper functioning of open democracy requires that they be held publicly accountable. There is no alternative.

Once again, I do not refer to small private donations by the readers of this blog, who are as entitled to their anonymity in this matter as any private individual. I refer to the vested corporate interests who are using you as a screen to hide their activities.

Perhaps you should be less sanguine about this than you seem to be. Perhaps it has not even occurred to many of you.

Jan 25, 2012 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD
I do wish you wouldn't keep accusing the contributors to this blog or indeed anyone who disagrees with you of being unable to think for themselves.
I find it quite insulting that after a long life actively involved in community affairs and local politics and (as I discovered with some embarrassment when I left) more highly thought of than I had imagined, I am now relegated by you to the role of — to use your word — that of a shill.
Again, you refer to "vested corporate interests", the second time you have used this particular phrase, as if there was something more reprehensible about businesses (which are at least accountable to their shareholders) trying to influence policy than about self-appointed groups which are accountable to nobody and which, as I pointed out — to our host's unease! — are pursuing a course of action which does not, never has and never will command the support of a majority of the population.
It is the fact that it is making some headway that is getting up the collective noses of the eco-luddites. Having had things all their own way for the last decade they are now having to justify their arguments and their stance in the face of a public that is waking up to their tactics.
It's a Corporal Jones moment. "They don't like it up 'em, Cap'n Mannering."

Jan 25, 2012 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

vested corporate interest=private individuals.

I have a vested interest in bringing the carbon edifice down. It will put less of a strain on my pocket. By BBD's logic, I should immediately reveal my identity to the public.

Identity of the persons whose ideas the GWPF promotes is publicly known.

Only environmentalists can think that as soon as someone starts appearing in newspapers, that the media exposure must have been paid for.

Let me tell how it works, BBD. Let us say you are a well-funded environmentalist, and you buy media exposure for your idea (because that's how the logic goes, isn't it?) in a local newspaper. Let us say, a financially less well-endowed lawyer (or activist, etc) is contacted by the newspaper and his quotes appear too. Let us say, that it is the thinking, knowledgeable lawyer/activist who is more persuasive, and his points carry the day.

I'm sure the environmentalist is going to project his own view of reality of news coverage and its effectiveness onto his opponent. 'He must have a vast network of secret backers. They must be connected to fossil fuel companies.' Whereas what he ought to realise, of course, is that even if you have lots of money, and think that you have successfully hoodwinked everyone about 'your cause', what you are really being judged for is the strength of your ideas not the weight of your wallet.

Painting oneself as the moral centre is a tired old trick, used by lefties, environmentalists, right-wing, etc etc. Who gives a cr**? If I listen to Lawson, he certainly makes more sense than Hansen and his 'save the grandchildren' nonsense, Michael Mann and his fossil fuel nonsense, skier John Mashey and his conspiracy nonsense, Pachauri and his 'use less ice cubes' nonsense. You don't need a lot of money when the opposition is of this calibre, irrespective of the money they might have. This is reflected well in the size of the GWPF's budget.

Jan 25, 2012 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

I see a massive, neigh gargantuan pot, calling a minuscule kettle black.

Jan 25, 2012 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

Still waiting for an answer BBD, what kind of influence do you think you can get for £500k?

Mailman

Jan 25, 2012 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Mailman

Still waiting for an answer BBD, what kind of influence do you think you can get for £500k?

I didn't bother answering because you aren't bothering reading links.

Let's try again. You get this much.

In future, instead of behaving like a stuck record - read what's posted.

Jan 25, 2012 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

MJ

I do wish you wouldn't keep accusing the contributors to this blog or indeed anyone who disagrees with you of being unable to think for themselves.
I find it quite insulting that after a long life actively involved in community affairs and local politics and (as I discovered with some embarrassment when I left) more highly thought of than I had imagined, I am now relegated by you to the role of — to use your word — that of a shill.

You aren't a shill. That implies collaboration. You are an unwitting dupe.

Jan 25, 2012 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Shub

vested corporate interest=private individuals.

= RUBBISH!

Congratulations, you have just achieved a personal best.

Jan 25, 2012 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Frosty

'nay'

Jan 25, 2012 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD, I was obviously sounding a little horse ;¬)

Jan 25, 2012 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

[ BBD back to being his rude self.]

I guess the success of GWPF must be really hurting?

But that doesn't mean that this level of success is something that can ordinarily be bought for £500k - or else the green lobby would be having massive success by comparison.

No - it's the abysmal failure of green policies and the continual exposure of crimategate that is contributing to the success of GWPF.

Jan 25, 2012 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Frosty

'nay'

Jan 25, 2012 at 1:24 PM | BBD

Paranoid

'aye'

Jan 25, 2012 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

One of the problems with being an unwitting dupe is you never know whether you are one or not. That's the problem with being unwitting.
But I notice, BBD, that you choose to ignore the rest of what I said, presumably because it doesn't fit your preconception but that doesn't alter the facts.
You insult people on this blog by insisting that they are incapable of thinking for themselves, and you have neither the justification nor the right to do so.
I suppose I could reply with: "I'm not; you are" but I grew out of that when I was about 10. Nonetheless your addiction to Kool-Aid suggests that you are not exactly applying the higher brain to the situation.
By the way, I just found this quote on another thread:

Thus, the behavior of the classic narcissist is mostly directed toward making others lose so they can win by default. To that end, there is no behavior or tactic that is considered out -of-bounds or over-the-top.
Just thought you'd be interested.

Jan 25, 2012 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Plus of course the self-defeating antics of UEA - must give them due credit.

Jan 25, 2012 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Thus, the behavior of the classic narcissist is mostly directed toward making others lose so they can win by default. To that end, there is no behavior or tactic that is considered out -of-bounds or over-the-top.
Just thought you'd be interested.
Jan 25, 2012 at 1:54 PM | Mike Jackson

Spot on!

As proved by the recent Zed and the other err, nonentity.

Jan 25, 2012 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

Frosty

;-)

Jan 25, 2012 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I can think of more rewarding ways of indulging a narcissistic pathology than arguing with less-than-well-informed contrarians in blog comments. Although if you really want to run with this, I suggest we all get our mirrors out...

Let's not slide into hypocrisy as well ;-)

Jan 25, 2012 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I suggest we all get our mirrors out...
I did actually resist the temptation to add that comment having strained the Bishop's patience twice already in the last 24 hours, but since you have raised the topic ....
All your behaviour — certainly when dealing with me and some others — has been aimed at making sure you win, usually by trying to force us into a corner where you can employ the playground tactic of "if you don't answer my question it's because you can't therefore I have won".
Which is precisely the behaviour that Dr Santy describes in that quote.
http://drsanity.blogspot.com/2005/04/narcissism-and-society-part-i.html is a worthwhile read as well.

Jan 25, 2012 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

MJ

Or alternatively, you are repeatedly wrong and dislike having this pointed out to you. Your inability to parse our interactions correctly doesn't make me a narcissist (and that's accepting this chap's definition, which sounds rather wacky to me - I'd check against an impartial clinical reference, if I were you).

Jan 25, 2012 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD,

If you had just answered the question the first time it was asked you wouldn't have got your panties in a twist.

So now we have got that out of the way, what Government policies have been changed/amended/corrected etc by the influence of the GPWF's £500k?

Let's see if you can answer this without packing a sook.

Although to be honest all your whining is nothing more than a classic distraction that alarmists are so well known for. You have no grounds to base any arguments on as the courts disagree with you and as we have seen the level of vitriol directed at Lawson in the latest thread shows, donors have very valid reasons to remain anonymous.

Now, bleat as much as you want...your team still lost the court case.

Mailman

Jan 25, 2012 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Mailman

If you would just read, you would not have had to repeat your question. Please do not blame me for your own shortcomings.

So now we have got that out of the way, what Government policies have been changed/amended/corrected etc by the influence of the GPWF's £500k?

Now we move the goalposts. I think the GWPF might best be seen as a work in progress. Alter public opinion and you change political options.

Now, bleat as much as you want...your team still lost the court case.

I believe the tribunal convenes on Friday.

Jan 25, 2012 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD
Better men than you have pointed out my errors and hopefully I have learned from them.
I might turn your reply round and say that your inability to understand that your behaviour towards those who refuse to bow to your (alleged) superior knowledge or don't accept that the links you provide them with are as accurate or unbiased as you would like to believe correction: obviously do believe does not make the rest of fools or knaves or dupes or shills or any of the other things you call us.
I don't suffer fools gladly but at least I can usually manage to identify a fool when I see one. You appear to assume that everyone who doesn't agree with you is a fool and is not worthy of your attention.
Oh, and Dr Santy is female, and I don't know what you mean by an "impartial clinical reference".
One that agrees with your point of view, perhaps?

Jan 25, 2012 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

MJ

I think I have diagnosed the good Doctor now:

So, what is psychologically going on here? Besides the usual Leftist/Socialist/Communist bullshit, of course.

This from a fascinating defence of someone called George W. Bush. Ring any bells?

I am apolitical, despite the various attempts by some here to paint me as redder than a baboon's behind. But this practitioner clearly is not.

Jan 25, 2012 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Excellent.
BBD now adds psychiatry to his already astounding range of expertise.
And he's immediately spotted that Santy is a charlatan since — oh, horror of horrors! — she actually defended George W Bush!
Which means he can safely ignore anything she says.

Jan 25, 2012 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

I'm not moving the posts, merely trying to understand where you think the GPWF has used it's £500k to influence anyone. And now you are claiming they are a work in progress? Mate, you are the one moving the posts.

Face the facts B, it's climate scientists, their secrecy, their deliberate obstruction of the law and their shonky practices that is the problem here.

Mailman

Jan 25, 2012 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

No Mailman. The problem here is that you actually believe that:

climate scientists, their secrecy, their deliberate obstruction of the law and their shonky practices that is the problem here.

You have had your head filled with nonsense.

Jan 25, 2012 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

The problem is, was and will be CO2 emissions. Once you face that fact, then sensible dialogue about policy can begin. Not until.

Jan 25, 2012 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD, the problem is that you have not faced the fact that CO2 emissions have had bugger all to do with the long slow thaw since the end of the Little Ice Age.

Jan 25, 2012 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

Yes of course, I see the error of my ways. When CRU is refusing to share days they are I'm fact SHARING data!

Sorry, my bad.

Mailman

Jan 25, 2012 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Sharing data I meant! Not days!

Jan 25, 2012 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

BBD:
++++
"No Mailman. The problem here is that you actually believe that:

climate scientists, their secrecy, their deliberate obstruction of the law and their shonky practices that is the problem here.

You have had your head filled with nonsense."
++++
Change "nonsense" to "evidence" and it reads much better.

http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php

Jan 25, 2012 at 5:04 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

"The problem is, was and will be CO2 emissions." - BBD

No need to question the evidence: keep repeating the mantra.

Jan 25, 2012 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

So let me get this right.
1 Climate scientists (so-called) have never been secretive.
2 Climate scientists (so-called) have never defied the law.
3 Climate scientists (so-called) have never engaged in dubious practices like splicing real data and imitation data together and kept quiet about it. (see also point 1)
4 Climate scientists (so-called) have never deliberately published papers that have been very rapidly proved to be statistically unsound. That is "very rapidly" after someone has managed to squeeze their data out of them.
5 Climate scientists (so-called) have never tried to influence publishers not to publish papers either with which they disagree or which have been written by people with whom they disagree.

On which planet was that, BBD?

And there is still debate about the extent to which CO2 is responsible for warming the climate and there is still debate about the extent to which "global" warming is actually "global" and there us still debate about whether this "global" warming has stalled (but only in the minds of those who have so hitched their wagon to that meme that they daren't admit they might have got it wrong).

Have I missed anything, guys?

Jan 25, 2012 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

BBD "I am apolitical"

can you remember what you said to me when I said I was apolitical?

giggles...

Jan 25, 2012 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

Mike,

I think it's pointless discussing anything with the Mann Made Global Warming Creationists (tm) like BBD as they just ignore any and everything that goes against their religion. We have just witnessed 4 pages if denialism from BBD that proves that point.

All the Mann Made Global Warming Creationists (tm) ever do is run around waving their hands in the air screaming "dirka dirka" and accusing you of blasphemy. The creationists also suffer from a catastrophic lack of context, where they will argue until blue in the face that an organisation that runs on only a half million pounds a year is the greatest threat to civilisation since Steve McIntyres mum gave birth to him. In fact we see the same kind of slandering going on the Steve McIntyre has also faced over connections to big oil etc.

The creationists couldn't care less about the truth. All that matters to them is their religion and nothing else.

Regards

Mailman

Jan 25, 2012 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

lapogus

Pick me no glacial cherries ;-) Seriously, please don't present one glacier as a proxy for global climate. Or even several. Come on.

Second (and we've been through this before), climate cooling since the start of the Holocene has a great deal to do with orbital forcing (Milankovitch) and somewhat less to do with GHG forcing. Although GHGs (CO2; CH4) do play a part in amplifying and prolonging the effects of orbital forcing.

Jan 25, 2012 at 6:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Mailman

I think it's pointless discussing anything with the Mann Made Global Warming Creationists (tm) like BBD as they just ignore any and everything that goes against their religion. We have just witnessed 4 pages if denialism from BBD that proves that point.

This should be hilarious, but somehow isn't. The lack of self-awareness you demonstrate here is truly staggering.

Jan 25, 2012 at 6:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Mike Jackson

So let me get this right.
1 Climate scientists (so-called) have never been secretive.
[etc]

That's right - extrapolate from a few to the entire field so creating a completely false equivalence and then never let it go.

You are clearly blissfully unaware of how... eccentric this makes you seem.

Jan 25, 2012 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Frosty

No, but I have a feeling you are going to enjoy reminding me...

Jan 25, 2012 at 6:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

matthu

No need to question the evidence: keep repeating the mantra.

So which bit(s) are you denying then?

- The anthropogenic source of emissions?

- The radiative physics?

- The best estimate of climate sensitivity to 2xCO2?

I suppose I should have asked a long time ago, really.

Jan 25, 2012 at 6:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Hey, you were the one who said:

The problem here is that you actually believe that:
"climate scientists, their secrecy, their deliberate obstruction of the law and their shonky practices that is the problem here.
I'm not extrapolating anything, just picking you up on a comment you made.
Secrecy — check.
Delberate obstruction — check.
Shonky practices — check.
We've got evidence of them all. You been sleeping this long while?
And — of course — the rest of the posting you choose to ignore.
Let me remind you
And there is still debate about the extent to which CO2 is responsible for warming the climate and there is still debate about the extent to which "global" warming is actually "global" and there us still debate about whether this "global" warming has stalled (but only in the minds of those who have so hitched their wagon to that meme that they daren't admit they might have got it wrong).
Stop digging.

Jan 25, 2012 at 7:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

So which bit(s) are you denying then?

- The anthropogenic source of emissions?

- The radiative physics?

- The best estimate of climate sensitivity to 2xCO2?

I suppose I should have asked a long time ago, really.

Jan 25, 2012 at 6:56 PM | BBD

More buzz words from the scientifically illiterate.

Jan 25, 2012 at 7:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

RKS

I am starting to take a genuine dislike to you.

Jan 25, 2012 at 7:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Mike Jackson

There isn't any serious debate about the extent to which CO2 is responsible for recent warming. Nor is there debate over the extent to which global warming is global (whoever put that into your head?). And I have heard enough about GW 'stalling' to last me a lifetime. Please understand (for the nth time) that:

- natural variability has not stopped

- it can temporarily over-print warming forced by CO2

- short-term variation doesn't alter long-term projections of trend

It's really very simple.

We've got evidence of them all. You been sleeping this long while?

Why is it so hard for you to grasp that what you are doing is (as I have just said) extrapolating from a few to the entire field so creating a completely false equivalence?

Jan 25, 2012 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Nor is there debate over the extent to which global warming is global (whoever put that into your head?)
One third of the CRU data (when eventually they released it) showed declining temperatures. Do keep up.
And I have heard enough about GW 'stalling' to last me a lifetime.
http://tinyurl.com/6qsrqcn. Looks pretty flat to me.
And before you start wittering on about cherry-picking and short-term data and all your other excuses try to remember I did not say that global warming has stopped, only that it has stalled. There has been no global warming for the last 10 years according to your friends at woodfortrees.org and I very carefully did not cherry-pick the data base; simply went with their temperature index though I'm sure you can find another set that gives you the answer you want i.e. any answer as long as it makes you look right and other people look wrong.
Face it, BBD; there are a lot of people who don't agree with you and you don't have a monopoly on scientific wisdom. Painful as it must be for you, they might just be right and you might be wrong.

Jan 25, 2012 at 8:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

BBD - I am fully aware that glaciers are not the best proxies for global or even local temperatures. The point I was making is that about 90% of the ice loss in Glacier Bay happened between the late 1700s and 1950, before human CO2 emissions became significant. But that said it is well accepted that the planet has been warming since the end of the Little Ice Age, and that the recession of most glaciers around the world reflect this. Are you now denying this?

I don't see the relevance of your second point - I was referring to the warming of the last 200 years, not the early Holocene. Your little lectures about the Milankovitch Cycles are becoming predictable and tedious.

Wake me up when the warming is sufficient enough for us in Scotland to have a growing season long enough to ripen tomatoes (in a greenhouse) or get a sun flower to set seed.

Jan 25, 2012 at 8:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

In passing, I note that the use of an intermediary such as Request Initiative essentially conceals the identity of the requester.

Can an FOI request be made to reveal the identity of other FOI requesters ?

Jan 28, 2012 at 8:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterPunksta

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