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MP appointed to Parliament's science committee is part of climate change denial think tank

Exclusive: Graham Stringer risks 'wasting valuable time' over discussing whether global warming is real

Tom Embury-Dennis
Friday 15 September 2017 13:38 BST
Graham Stringer is a long-time global warming sceptic
Graham Stringer is a long-time global warming sceptic (Reuters)

A new member of the Commons committee meant to ensure Government decisions are based on sound scientific evidence is also a trustee of an organisation that promotes climate change denial.

Graham Stringer, a long-time sceptic of the consensus scientific view on global warming, was appointed unopposed to the Commons Science and Technology Committee on Monday alongside seven other male MPs.

The appointment comes almost two years after the Labour MP joined Nigel Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) think tank, which has a lobbying wing dedicated to opposing policies that limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Rebecca Newsom, senior political adviser at Greenpeace, told The Independent the appointment was “odd” and risks the committee “wasting valuable time having more discussions about whether climate change is real”.

“You would think that a broad alignment with mainstream science would be a basic requirement for any MP sitting on the Science and Technology Committee,” she said.

“So it’s rather odd that out of hundreds of possible Labour MPs, one with climate sceptic affiliations should have made it onto the committee.”

In 2014, Mr Stringer was one of only two MPs to vote against the Energy and Climate Change Committee’s acceptance of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) conclusion that humans are the dominant cause of global warming.

Minutes of the report reveal the Blackley and Broughton MP tried unsuccessfully to remove a sentence endorsing the IPCC’s projections of future warming, as well as a paragraph concluding “warming is expected to continue in the coming decades”.

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In a BBC interview in 2015 Mr Stringer falsely claimed there was “no scientific evidence” linking climate change to the floods that ravaged Britain that winter.

The 67-year-old has also courted controversy with his stance, which is not backed by evidence, that dyslexia is a “cruel fiction” that should be consigned to the “dustbin of history”.

The GWPF, Britain’s leading climate sceptic think tank, has been repeatedly accused of misrepresenting the science and cherry-picking findings to fit with its stance on the issue.

In 2014 the Charity Commission ruled that the foundation had breached its guidelines by promoting climate change denial. In response the GWPF created a lobbying arm, the Global Warming Policy Forum, which is not subject to the commission’s rules.

In January the forum hosted Myron Ebell, a climate change denier and adviser to Donald Trump, who told the London audience that Brexit offered an “opportunity” for the UK to shed EU environmental regulations.

And as recently as last year, the GWPF itself published a letter by Peter Lilley MP, another trustee, which made a number of misleading claims about The Stern Review, a 2006 paper on the economics of climate change.

The Science and Technology Committee has also attracted criticism for its lack of diversity. Of the nine members elected so far eight are men, and all but one are white.

Mr Stringer told The Independent: "I’ve been on the science and technology committee for approximately 10 years. I’ve got a degree in chemistry and worked in the industry for 10 years.

"I try to bring my training as a scientist to all of my work."

On accusations he is a climate sceptic, the MP said: "I am sceptical about everything – that is what scientists are. But there has been an enormous amount of shoddy work masquerading as science with regards to climate change."

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