Climate change denial charity Global Warming Policy Foundation wins 2022 Rusty Razor award Michael Marshall The Skeptic

A registered charity which exists to cast doubt about climate change and calls for an end to the commitment to net zero carbon emissions, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), has today been named the 2022 recipient of the “Rusty Razor” award, the prize given by The Skeptic to the year’s worst promoters of pseudoscience.

The GWPF was set up in 2009 by long-term climate change denier Lord Nigel Lawson, with the goal of  challenging the “extremely damaging and harmful policies” proposed by governments to mitigate global warming. Since then, it has published a number of reports which underplay the threat of climate change, including a 2021 paper which misleadingly concluded that “extreme weather phenomena have not become more extreme, more deadly, or more destructive” – a conclusion which has been comprehensively debunked by climate science experts.

The organisation is based in the headquarters of the Institute of Economic Affairs, a Tufton Street lobby group which has admitted to receiving funding from the oil industry to press ministers on environmental issues. The Chairman of both the IEA and the GWPF, Neil Record, had donated more than £300k to the Conservative party by 2015, including £18k to then-energy and climate change minister, Matt Hancock.

In October 2021, the GWPF rebranded as “Net Zero Watch”, around the same time that former trustee Steve Baker MP formed the Net Zero Scrutiny Group of MPs, which routinely cites research material from the GWPF as part of their call to water down or roll back policies that would tackle climate change by reducing carbon emissions.

In 2022, the GWPF faced accusations of receiving fossil fuel industry funding to push its climate denial agenda, leading to campaigners urging the Charity Commission to strip the organisation of its charitable status.

The Skeptic Editor Michael Marshall said: “This year, the UK has seen record temperatures, a severe heatwave, a drought, and even wildfires, while other countries have experienced devastating floods and extreme hurricanes. These are a direct consequence of climate change, which is why it is so troubling that there are groups that continue to undermine efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

“For years, the Global Warming Policy Foundation has sought to downplay, doubt, and outright deny the threat posed by climate change. Now that the public overwhelmingly recognises that the threat is real, the group have shifted their focus, and seek to attack efforts to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to zero.

“Most troublingly of all is the influence the group has on the very corridors of power. A dozen of their current or former trustees sit in the House of Lords, and the Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Steve Baker MP, is a close associate and former trustee of the group, as is Graham Stringer MP, who sits on the Science and Technology Committee.

“Given the group’s prolific attempts to weaken and undermine public and political will to tackle climate change, the open door it appears to have to the heart of government, and the unclear nature of its funding – even as it enjoys the tax incentives and conferred legitimacy of a registered charity – the Global Warming Policy Foundation is a deserving winner of the 2022 Rusty Razor award”

The ‘Rusty Razor’ award was announced as part of The Skeptic’s annual Ockham Awards at a ceremony that took place during Saturday’s QED conference on science and skepticism, in Manchester. Also recognised during the event was the BBC’s Disinformation Unit, who won the 2022 award for Skeptical Activism.

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A climate change denial charity with close ties to the Conservative government, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, has today been named the 2022 recipient of the “Rusty Razor” award
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