Richard North

Please note, this page has been archived since 2011 and will not be updated. 

Dr Richard A E North is a blogger, political analyst and author. He has co-authored several books with Christopher Booker of the Daily Telegraph, including Scared to Death, From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth. Dr North is a climate sceptic commentator and played a key part in the "Amazongate" story, as well as propagating allegations made against Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) chairman. Both stories were followed by published apologies and retractions from the newspapers involved, with the latter reported to have resulted in considerable legal costs.

Dr North studied a PhD in food hygiene at Leeds Metropolitan University and has not studied academically in a climate-related field, or published peer reviewed academic papers on climate change. He appeared as a witness for the activist group London Greenpeace (unaffiliated with Greenpeace) against McDonald's, supporting claims that the majority of food poisoning cases were related to eating meat. North also campaigned against government policy on behalf of the United Kingdom Egg Producers Association during the salmonella scare. Since then, he has collaborated with Booker on a number of campaigns challenging scientific findings or government policy.

Dr North runs the EU Referendum blog, which in 2006 was described as being the third most influential in Britain by the Financial Times. He is about to publish with Booker a book titled  Climategate to Cancun: The Real Global Warming Disaster Continues… In 2009 he published  Ministry of Defeat 2003 - 2009: The British in Iraq. His previous books have been collaborations with Booker and include The Mad Officials: How The Bureaucrats Are Strangling Britain and  The Castle of Lies: Why Britain Must Get Out of Europe.

Between 1999 to 2003 Dr North was research director for the political grouping containing UKIP in the European Parliament. North said he resigned from UKIP to avoid being fired after falling out with the party leader and MEP Nigel Farage. Following his resignation, North said:

I am not and was not prepared to be a bag-carrier. Nor would I fetch and carry for Farage, or write his letters, or be available to pour him into a taxi when he was so blind drunk that he could no longer stand, or cover for him when he failed to turn up for morning appointments because he had been out on the tiles all night long. I am almost old enough to be his father, but I am not in the business of being his nanny.

Dr North worked in partnership with Christopher Booker in an investigation into the finances of Dr Rajendra Pachauri. The sub heading of one article in The Sunday Telegraph claimed Pachauri was "making a fortune from his links with 'carbon trading' companies", resulting in what the newspaper described as a "conflict of interest" with his IPCC role. However, an  investigation by KPMG found the allegations were untrue. The Sunday Telegraph published an apology and retraction of the allegation.

Dr North is also credited with creating the "Amazongate" controversy in which he claimed that a statement made by the IPCC that 40 percent of Amazon rainforest could be threatened by a decrease in rainfall was bogus. The criticism  first appeared on Dr North's blog and was repeated in the Sunday Times with the headline " UN climate panel shamed by bogus rainforest claim" under the byline of environment editor Jonathan Leake. The online version of the story credited "research" from Dr North.

Scrutiny of the relevant part of the IPCC report found that while it was poorly referenced, the science behind the claim was well established and supported by peer-reviewed research. Following a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission from Dr Simon Lewis, a Royal Society research fellow and member of the Earth and Biosphere Institute at the University of Leeds, the Sunday Times was forced to publish a page-two apology and retract the article acknowledging it was inaccurate.

Dr Lewis wrote in his complaint to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) that

Had I known Richard North was connected to writing the Sunday Times piece I would have refused to comment or answer questions about the Amazon as North is in no way a trustworthy writer when it comes to the careful assessment and reporting of scientific knowledge.

Dr Richard North, profiled here, is distinct from right wing commentator Richard D North, Media Fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs, who maintains a blog here.