International Policy Network

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Please note, this page has been archived since 2011 and will not be updated. 

The International Policy Network (IPN) is an influential UK thinktank which "aims to bring down barriers to enterprise and trade, in order to achieve a world of opportunity, peace and prosperity."

The IPN founded and co-ordinates the Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change, a worldwide network of right-wing thinktanks opposing action on climate change. Amongst their UK member organisations are The Taxpayers Alliance and The Adam Smith Institute. Julian Morris said when setting up the coalition: "Interest groups exaggerate the threat of climate change in order to support their call for urgent global and national regulation of carbon emissions."

The IPN received at least $50,000, from ExxonMobil's "climate change outreach" programme, the Daily Telegraph reported in 2004. In August 2010, the IPN produced a document titled "seven myths about green jobs". The report draws on work which was originally funded by the Institute of Energy Research, which in turn has received funding from ExxonMobil.

Julian Morris, the executive director of IPN, has described Sir David King, a former chief scientist to the government who has campaigned for action on global warming, as "an embarrassment to himself and an embarrassment to his country." Morris addressed the 2008 Heartland Institute's global gathering of climate sceptics.

Morris was named in a funding application to tobacco company RJ Reynolds, as the proposed co-editor of a book aiming to 'highlight the uncertainties inherent in 'scientific' estimates of risk to humans and the environment resulting from exposure to certain hazards.' One of the included hazards was passive smoking. The book was eventually edited by Morris' co-director Roger Bate, with Morris named in the acknowledgements.

The IPN has received funding from the world's largest tobacco companies. Morris has argued that "Most of our more than 200 donors are individuals. We also accept support from foundations and businesses, but we do not accept funding from government or political parties. We conceive and implement our own projects. Our donors have no influence on what we say or how we say it."

Between 2001 and 2003 Morris' co-director at IPN was Roger Bate. Bate has held a variety of positions in conservative think tanks in the UK and in the US, including at the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Bate was a founding Director of Africa Fighting Malaria, a pro-DDT lobby group. In 1998 Bate wrote to Philip Morris asking for funding for the new organization and offering his services as a consultant " influencing the WHO on their tobacco protocol". He has said that he was "never a tobacco lobbyist". The legacy Tobacco Documents however demonstrate that he had numerous associations with Philip Morris throughout the 1990s.

Bate is listed as an adviser to the Exxon funded ' Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow' , a US based libertarian climate sceptic group which runs the website Climate Depot, and which co-sponsored the ' Copenhagen Climate Challenge', a sceptic gathering that ran in parallel to the UN climate summit. In 2000, Bate told the Today programme that cutting carbon emissions had been "folly all along."

Linda Whetstone is chair of the IPN. Whetstone is a trustee of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the influential free-market think tank founded by her father, Antony Fisher. Antony Fisher also set up the Atlas Foundation and the Institute of Economic Affairs and helped in the early stages of the Manhattan Institute, the Pacific Research Institute and the Fraser Institute. Linda Whetstone is a past chair and president of her local Conservative Party association, and is married to a Conservative councilor.

Linda's daughter Rachel Whetstone is vice-president of public affairs for Google. Rachel Whetstone is married to Steve Hilton, David Cameron's director of strategy and former chief of staff to Michael Howard while he was Conservative leader. Rachel is a trustee for Policy Exchange, the think tank said to be closest to David Cameron, and a former lobbyist for Portland PR.

Kendra Okonski is an environment and development analyst for IPN and a prominent spokesperson for the think thank. Okonski is a former research assistant for the influential US-based Competitive Enterprise Institute, which promotes climate scepticism in the US, and which has received millions of dollars in funding from ExxonMobil and Koch Industries.

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