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Head of parliamentary science and technology committee: are there bigger players involved in the Global Warming Policy Foundation?

  • 02 Mar 2011, 15:00
  • Christian

The Chair of the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee has launched a scathing attack on Lord Lawson's climate sceptic charity the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

The Science and Technology Committee's enquiry into the climategate affair cleared the University of East Anglia of any scientific wrongdoing, and at a 'Science of Climate Change Briefing' held at the University of Liverpool on the 10th February Andrew Miller MP said that "none of [the enquiries] found any evidence whatsoever that there was anything other than honesty at UEA".

The GWPF had called for the enquiry to be reopened. But Mr Miller, who heads the committee, sharply criticised them for misrepresenting the committee's conclusions, and for their refusal to reveal who their funders are:

Let me say: when the GWPF declares the source of their funds then I'll re-open the enquiry. I want to see a balanced debate about what's going on, because that worrying point I started with about the language that is used rather suggests to me that there are bigger players involved in the GWPF than is declared in their published accounts - with half a million pounds declared as anonymous donations for example.

The GWPF released their annual accounts at the end of last year. Accounts filed at Companies House show that a total of £503,302 was raised by the charity during their first year of operation. Just £8,186 came from membership contributions. In the report, GWPF director Lord Lawson wrote: "It is understandable that donors do not wish to be publicly engaged in controversy.

"This is particularly true of the GWPF, where the soil we till is highly controversial, and anyone who puts their head above the parapet has to be prepared to endure a degree of public vilification. For that reason we offer all our donors the protection of anonymity."

In other remarks, Mr Miller praised science journalism in general, but suggested that news editors needed to reflect on whether they are doing a good job of portraying where the weight of scientific opinion lies. He also noted that there were important issues around freedom of information raised by the UEA affair. His committee had concluded in their report:

"On the mishandling of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests, the Committee considers that much of the responsibility should lie with the University, not CRU. The leaked e-mails appear to show a culture of non-disclosure at CRU and instances where information may have been deleted to avoid disclosure, particularly to climate change sceptics."

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