Global Warming Policy Foundation: The wealthy backers behind the climate change sceptics

The GWPF was set up by Lord Lawson to bring 'reason, integrity and balance' to the climate change debate

Tom Bawden
Environment Editor
Wednesday 09 December 2015 22:44
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GWPF financial backer Sir Michael Hintze abseils down the Gherkin during a charity event in September
GWPF financial backer Sir Michael Hintze abseils down the Gherkin during a charity event in September

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) was set up by Lord Lawson in 2009 because he was “deeply concerned” about the costs of policies to tackle climate change and wanted to bring “reason, integrity and balance” to the debate.

Lord Lawson, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer under Margaret Thatcher and is a well-known climate sceptic, has always insisted that his organisation does not have an agenda, although its output has frequently been shown to be at odds with scientific consensus on global warming.

The foundation is run by Benny Peiser, a former senior lecturer in sports science at Liverpool John Moores University. He has previously said that the group “does not have an official or shared view about the science or politics of global warming”, adding “although we are aware of course that these issues are not settled” – an addition that distinguishes him from 97 per cent of climate scientists who say the issue that mankind is largely responsible for climate change is settled.

For his part, Lord Lawson has previously called the authoritative and conservative United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change group of scientists “alarmist”. He has also labelled as “wrong-headed” the ground-breaking Kyoto Protocol of 1997, in which countries pledged to cut carbon emissions.

GWPF’s financial backers are mostly a secret. Sir Michael Hintze, a leading billionaire Conservative Party donor who founded the £5bn CQS hedge fund, is the most prominent known financier of the group.

Lord Cavendish, a Tory peer who pioneered UK windfarms before adopting sceptical views on climate change, has also been revealed as a backer of Lord Lawson’s group.

Neil Record, the founding chairman of currency management firm Record Currency, and Lord Nigel Vinson, a wealthy industrialist, are the other known backers. Mr Record has given more than £300,000 to the Conservative Party as well as £18,000 of donations to the Tory energy minister Matthew Hancock.

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