Five questions for Lord Lawson and Benny Peiser

The Chair and Director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation appear before a Commons this afternoon. Left Foot Forward sets out 5 questions they must answer.

The Chairman and Director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation appear before the Science and Technology Select Committee this afternoon. Left Foot Forward sets out five questions they should be asked.


1. Who funds the Global Warming Policy Foundation?

Lord Lawson has written in the Independent on Sunday:

“the GWPF was “funded entirely by voluntary donations from a number of private individuals and charitable trusts. In order to make clear its complete independence, it does not accept gifts from either energy companies or anyone with a significant interest in an energy company”.”

Who are these private individuals and charitable trusts?


2. Why is the GWPF sharing offices with the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining?

The GWPF are based at 1 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y 5DB.

Also at this address is the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, which “exists to promote and develop all aspects of materials science and engineering, geology, mining and associated technologies, mineral and petroleum engineering and extraction metallurgy, as a leading authority in the worldwide materials and mining community.”


3.What links does Lord Lawson have with big oil?

Lord Lawson told Channel 4 News that, “I have no links to oil companies of any kind”.

But the Central Europe Trust – which he chairs and in which he has “significant shareholdings” – claim as clients BP Amoco, Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Texaco, and Total Fina Elf.


4.Why does the GWPF’s academic advisory council include a number of climate sceptics?

The aim of the GWPF “is to provide the most robust and reliable economic analysis and advice”.

Why then does their small academic advisory council include well known climate sceptics including:

Ian Plimer, the author of “Heaven and Earth – Global Warming: The Missing Science”

• Philip Stott who has written that “global warming is a faith

• Sir Ian Byatt who has faced calls to be sacked as chairman of Scotland’s water regulator for his thoughts on climate change; and

• Professor Richard Lindzen who appeared on the Great Global Warming Swindle.


5. Why does the GWPF’s board of trustees include a known climate sceptic?

The Liverpool Daily Post quotes remarks made by GWPF trustee, the Bishop of Chester:

The row followed the Bishop of Chester’s speech in a House of Lords debate on energy, in which he said discussion about the causes of global warming was “still open”.

Describing himself as a “scientist in a previous incarnation”, Dr Forster – whose diocese includes Wirral – said there was no consensus among climate scientists that “carbon dioxide levels are the key determinant”.

And he told peers: “Climate science is a notoriously imprecise area, because the phenomena under investigation are so large.

“That makes precision difficult to achieve.”

As you’re here, we have something to ask you. What we do here to deliver real news is more important than ever. But there’s a problem: we need readers like you to chip in to help us survive. We deliver progressive, independent media, that challenges the right’s hateful rhetoric. Together we can find the stories that get lost.

We’re not bankrolled by billionaire donors, but rely on readers chipping in whatever they can afford to protect our independence. What we do isn’t free, and we run on a shoestring. Can you help by chipping in as little as £1 a week to help us survive? Whatever you can donate, we’re so grateful - and we will ensure your money goes as far as possible to deliver hard-hitting news.

27 Responses to “Five questions for Lord Lawson and Benny Peiser”

  1. House Of Twits

    RT @leftfootfwd Five questions for Lord Lawson and Benny Peiser:

  2. Rory

    Have you actually sent these questions to Lord Lawson or is this just another example of LFF innuendo-spreading?

  3. Oxford Kevin

    I don’t know why we would trust Peiser on anything. He claimed that the review by Oreskes of all papers on the ISI scientific research database which included the terms global climate change found that none of the 928 papers containing those terms did not question the theory of AGW was fraudulent. He claimed to have 34 papers that rejected or doubted the consensus. A year later he finally released the list of papers and we find that 33 of the papers were completely ambiguous on climate change and one piece of grey literature was not peer reviewed and published by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists challenging climate change.

    During that year the denialosphere spent most of the time claiming how fraudulent the study by Oreskes was.

    This is the tactics of desperation where you don’t have the facts on your side, but a willing blogosphere accepting without skepticism any noise that challenges AGW.


  4. Billy Blofeld

    I have only one similar question for Left Foot Forwards……..

    “How much money does the Communication Workers Union give to Left Foot Forwards?”

  5. Steve Martin

    Bollocks, listen to yourself, touting the frase “climate deniers” in the same manner as “holocaust deniers”. Shameful.

    Your questions are completely flawed and only show your entrenched biase on this issue.

  6. Anon E Mouse

    Will –

    1. Why not write and ask who funds them? Who funds LFF? Surely what they say is what matters…

    2. Who else operates from this building? What’s wrong with that organisation? It’s legal and there was a time Labour used to support the mining community…

    3. When did oil become an illegal commodity? (That question takes me back in time Will…)

    4. Isn’t scepticism part of scientific study? Why wouldn’t one include opposing views on a board?

    5. Ditto above.

    Seems to me Will that this is typical of the left – smear the messenger again.

    The fact is Dr Benny Peiser may be wrong in everything he says until one day he is right and surprise surprise he has now stated that the data presented so far from the CRU (Does no one at LFF actually care about FOI at all?) is incomplete.

    It is either incomplete or it’s not. Phil Jones either threatened legal action or he didn’t. That is the issue LFF should be checking. The character of this man has no relevance on the *facts* and I just wish LFF would stop the personal attacks on individuals who do not share it’s minority opinion on this climate change nonsense….

  7. Oxford Kevin

    Of course the data from CRU is not complete. CRU has a legal obligation to various government met offices around the world not to release data that belongs to them. If you are so desperate for the data, why don’t you just go and purchase it from those very same met offices. You wont be able to make it public but you can do whatever research you need with it.


  8. Oxford Kevin

    As to Peseir it is not about whether he is right or wrong in this instance, but about claiming something that was false and standing by it for a year so that the claim could be used to bash those who accept AGW over the head with.


  9. Anon E Mouse

    Kevin – Oh I see now. A taxpayer funded university is not subject to foi?

    Why wouldn’t all these organisations, particularly those funded by taxpaying peoples around the world just publish their raw data and let the various organisations use and interpet the data as they wish?

    That way people could make up their minds regarding the veracity of the data that is published and used to punish those very same taxpayers with unreasonably excessive taxes on the essentials need to conduct their lives – I mention specifically John Major and his “Fuel Tax Escalator”.

    And as for standing by a flawed argument well that just happens in life. I’m still waiting for WMD to be found in Iraq, yet most decent fair minded people just accept a mistake when they see it and don’t dwell on the details. A bit like the glaciers melting by 2035 I guess.

    All of which fails to address my central point about shooting the messenger and smearing individuals for political gain…

  10. John77

    I disagree with Lord Lawson on Global Warming and many other things but incompetent smears do not help. Firstly, private individuals have a right to spend their money in any legal way that pleases them and so MYOB. Secondly a lot of companies & organisations have posh official addresses: it does not mean that there is any link between them – my principal client shares a City address with more than a dozen other companies who share only a landlord, a commissionnaire and a loo. Thirdly Lord Lawson is not an executive in CET, he is 76 years old and gives some advice on strategy and politics to clients who need it – hardly Royal Ddutch-Shell or Total (had you not noticed that Texaco was taken over by Chevron a few years ago – maybe you were still at school?). Fourthly if GWPF is independent it should include climate sceptics as well as “true believers”
    That Sir Ian Byatt has faced calls to be sacked because he is associated with GWPF cannot be an argument against GWPF: it can be an example of the sectarian bigotry of AGW campaigners who treat anyone who is linked to anyone who questions their belief as a heretic fit to be burned. Your argument in this case is cyclical.
    Your link reports the Bishop making statements that are clearly factually correct with press comments on unreported statements. The solar cycle WILL result in global warming – it is only the extent of the additional warming contributed by mankind that we can change
    Oxford Kevin’s first comment should be published as “failed SAT level 2 English Kevin”
    “He claimed that the review by Oreskes of all papers on the ISI scientific research database which included the terms global climate change found that none of the 928 papers containing those terms did not question the theory of AGW was fraudulent. He claimed to have 34 papers that rejected or doubted the consensus. A year later he finally released the list of papers and we find that 33 of the papers were completely ambiguous on climate change and one piece of grey literature was not peer reviewed and published by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists challenging climate change.”
    Apart from the “did not question” when it should read “questioned”. The 33 papers that were ambiguous did not accept the theory unconditionally and the one not peer reviewed challenged it. So, if one assumes that “failed SAT level 2 English Kevin” is telling the truth, the review by Oreskes was wrong.
    I am trying to tell people that burning 180 trillion tonnes of coal in 40 years is bound to warm things up (even if not by as much as the sunspot cycle) but when you disseminate incompetent smears you are not much help (think Jo Moore and Damian McBride compared to Al Campbell and Charlie Whelan)

  11. Oxford Kevin


    Thanks for the grammar lesson. I am sure that you will provide me with more.

    I meant by ambiguous that the papers in question did not challenge the theory of climate but also did not support the theory of climate change.

    In other words Oreskes was correct and Peiser kept his list of 34 papers for a year so that the AGW skeptics could run with the story and they did.

    Thanks again for the lesson.


  12. Will Straw

    Will Straw

    Thanks for the comments:

    John 77, Anon, Rory – this is not a smear or innuendo, these are legitimate concerns that many in the environmental movement has about the GWPF. Given the subject matter and their claim to want “to provide the most robust and reliable economic analysis and advice”, it is completely legitimate to ask who funds them and which axes they have to grind.

    Rory – As it happens we’ve not had a penny yet from CWU but we’re still hoping for a donation.

    Steve – why don’t you read the piece before writing angry comments. We didn’t use the phrase “climate deniers” once (I regard Lawson as a sceptic rather than a denier although others would disagree; the jury is out on Peiser). Nonetheless, the use of phrase “climate denier” is legitimate shorthand for someone who denies the existence of manmade climate change. It has absolutely nothing to do with the holocaust except in the eye of the beholder.

    Oxford Kevin – many thanks for your supportive words. Peiser is a dodgy character.


  13. Anon E Mouse

    Kevin – No comments on Phil Jones and his remarks at the committee yesterday?

    Do you think it is acceptable to stifle perfectly reasonable questioning, perhaps to contribute to the questioners thirst for knowledge, by acting in such a way?

    (I just heard him on R4 so please don’t start saying he hadn’t sent “awful emails”. Let’s stick to the facts please Kevin).

    I suppose the fact we have just had the coldest winter since 1978 means nothing to you?

    (Oh let me guess Kevin although you localise GW effects when they suit your case eg Amazon rainforest but not when they don’t)

  14. Ned


    Altogether now, WEATHER IS NOT THE SAME AS CLIMATE…seriously how many more times?

  15. Lawson remains silent on funding as committee debates "climategate" | Left Foot Forward

    […] sceptic Lord Lawson has again failed to answer questions over who funds the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) during his appearance at the Science and […]

  16. Anon E Mouse

    Ned – Then why do the Climate Change oppressors keep announcing that whenever there is localised flooding, for example Boscombe several years ago in the South West, that if we don’t change our ways it’ll happen more often?

    Why is it those delusional folk are allowed to make those claims but not the other way round? We all understand the difference between climate and weather but why is it OK for the climate change alarmists to *keep* doing this based on localised events but not sceptics?

    For example the IPCC says warming temperatures cause an increase in hurricanes and they site Katrina and Dennis. By any definition these are localised *weather* events. The cause may be blah blah whatever but the effect is the hurricane.

    So if it’s ok to show the effects (which are disputed by the leading hurricane experts in the field – how long before their characters are dragged through the gutter?) why not the other way round?

    Seems it’s OK to mention specific localised weather events when trying to bully and scare people into accepting a minority opinion but not ok the other way round.

  17. Oxford Kevin

    In response to Mr Mouse’s comment March 1, 2010 5:00 pm

    The UK has no control over foreign governments and their ownership of climate data, many of those met offices try and recoup some of the taxpayers investment in the metoffices by selling the data, that is the reason nothing more, nothing less. The UK metoffice as a result of this whole affair has requested that the various met offices around the world make their data available unrestricted. From what has been said all but 6 country metoffices have agreed. But until all do CRU cannot, because it is illegal is for them to release the data from the countries who have so far refused to agree to release their data. That is why they cannot release the data in full. Why is this so hard to understand? It is interesting that Canada with a climate skeptic prime minister is one of the countries that is still refusing to release its data.

    What I still don’t understand though is when the data is available from the various mettoffices around the world, why did they keep badgering CRU for it, when they could have very easily purchased the data from those metoffices directly?

    Any data that is owned by CRU should of course be subject to foi and I would expect CRU to comply with foi requests appropriately.

    In response to Mr Mouse’s comment March 2, 2010 8:51 am

    I take umbrage to your phrase, “Let’s stick to the facts please Kevin”. I work hard to keep to facts that have a basis, you know this, but others don’t and could take the meaning from your words that in the past I haven’t done so.

    I would never have said anything about the Amazon implying that temperature changes in the Amazon could be used to suggest they were representative of temperature changes globally. Anything that I have written on the Amazon was related to an article, an IPCC report and poor reporting by Jonathan Leake when he had the correct information available to him. The article in question discussed the impact of Global Warming on the Amazon rainforest and the fact that for 40% of the Amazon the percentage of water content in the soil is very close to the level where even a small reduction means a collapse of the rainforest ecosystem. You have completely turned this around, from global temperature change and its possible impact on a locale to weather changes in a locale implying changes to climate.

    It is not sensible to project localized short term temperature variations when looking at global temperature change. Because for every anecdote there is a counter anecdote, for example Perth in Western Australia has just had its joint equal hottest summer on record, and in Southern Brazil they had an unprecedented heat wave with temperatures of 46.3 degrees centigrade combined with high humidity in February. This is the reason why if you want to see whether the planet is warming it is necessary to look at the global temperature picture, not at specific bits of it, or over short time periods like a season.

    Turning this around, once you know that the planet is warming you might want to consider what the global, localized or short time scale effects might be as a result of that warming. The study on the Amazon rainforest was one of those, other studies have looked into localized flooding events because a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture which provides the potential for heavier rainfall events. You can never say a particular very heavy rainfall event is proof of global warming, but it is perfectly reasonable to say that global warming can make heavy rainfall events worse and to do research as to where this might happen.

    Having said that I would never ascribe a single weather event to be caused by AGW, attribution is impossible.

    As to Phil Jones, of course as he said himself he wrote some awful e-mails, but writing an e-mail full of hyperbole at the heat of the moment is different from actually doing what you have said. Phil Jones demonstrates this when it comes to his e-mails to do with keeping certain papers out of the IPCC reports, where since those papers where fully discussed in the reports, what he wrote obviously at a time of frustration and his actions are two different things. This is again demonstrated with comments by him about stopping certain papers from being published in journals, where once again those papers where published. This demonstrates that Jones had used e-mail as a form of casual communication where it would seem the writing of the e-mail was more about letting off steam rather than a statement of action that he was going to take.

    Having said that one e-mail in particular relating to destroying information is damaging and I fully agree that it should be properly investigated. Since Jones has demonstrated that his casual communications and his actions aren’t the same I think the best thing to do is wait for the result of the investigation. Making statements about this issue prior to the results of the investigation is speculation and character assassination.

    Having said all this there is nothing in all of the e-mails and data files that have been released that there is even any hint of cooking the temperature data books, absolutely none whatsoever.

  18. Leading climate sceptics: CRU emails did nothing to question the science | Left Foot Forward

    […] the science In an astonishing but largely unreported u-turn yesterday, two of Britain’s leading climate sceptics, Lord Lawson and his colleague Benny Peiser – both of the Global Warming Policy Foundation […]

  19. Anon E Mouse

    Kevin – Data released by the CRU has been used as part of the overall picture of this so called global warming and if that data has been destroyed or manipulated then that is wrong – and regardless of your protestations people do believe manipulation has taken place.

    I have never read anything you have written on global warming other than your response to my inability to find anything conclusive regarding the MWP and the fact I believed it was around one and one half degrees warmer than today – I still do but cannot find data to prove it.

    You must also be aware that my comments regarding the Amazon was just to show the wild claims made by these people with a vested interest to do so. I could have used the glaciers melting, the hurricanes, UK flooding or whatever.

    Finally you have no way of knowing if the CRU has or has not manipulated data in this issue any more than I do since not all the data has been released but if those people had kept the raw data and published what they had before they put it through their software (which discounts solar activity btw) we could all judge for ourselves. It’s just sloppy science.

    If our lives weren’t being affected by their claims I wouldn’t care but they are and I do.

    Finally my mentioning of keeping to the facts is purely because, on this site you get claims from other Greens – specifically one Rupert Read – that are frankly outlandish, feel like something from a science fiction movie and do nothing to further his cause.

    To date you have been the only supporter of AGW that actually argues his point rather than simply saying I refuse to debate it or you’re a denier – well you get the point.

    I also reserve the right to my opinion of Phil Jones as you do with Peiser. To date Jones’s attitude to dissent has been disgraceful, his record keeping unsatisfactory and his whole approach to evidence based science questionable (by virtue of his working practices).

  20. Oxford Kevin

    Why would CRU include in the code they have written for making adjuestments to the temperature data include the effect of solar activity. Their code doesn’t include the effect of greenhouse gases either should that be taken to mean that they don’t think greenhouse gases do anything to the climate, I don’t think so.

    Of course I have no way of knowing either way whether Phil Jones changed the data to give a particular result, neither do you. The released e-mails were all in areas which were highly contentious for the Climate Research Unit and obviously the person who obtained them used search terms on these contentious topics when selecting which e-mails to include. if there was going to be any evidence of cooking the data then it would have been in these e-mails and there is none.

    If you have a particular beef with any commenter, don’t generalize and assume that other “Greens” will behave in the same way.

    As I keep on saying the raw data is available from the original metoffices and can be purchased from them. It would not be impossible to do and if a bright young grad student was given it as a project they could make a real name for themselves if they showed that CRUs analysis was incorrect. It would be the making of a scientific career. If the grad student was doing the work at a University they could get the data for free from the necessary metoffices but like CRU they would not be allowed to publish the raw data.


  21. Scientists face asymmetries in public debates on climate change | Left Foot Forward

    […] response, Benny Peiser, a social anthropologist who heads up the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, said: “You painted a picture that is slightly one side of the honest scientist on the one […]

  22. Phil Randal

    Five Questions for Lord Lawson & Benny Peiser shame that @r4today can't be bothered to ask them #climate #deniers #bbc

  23. Proof reading, not science | Joss Garman

    […] funds it even as it seeks greater transparency from scientists, and whose head, Lord Lawson, has explicit links to the fossil fuel industry. Benny Peiser, not a climate scientist but a social anthropologist at […]

  24. Proof-reading vs. climate science » Climate Safety

    […] funds it even as it seeks greater transparency from scientists, and whose head, Lord Lawson, has explicit links to the fossil fuel industry. Benny Peiser, not a climate scientist but a social anthropologist at […]

  25. Lawson still won't come clean about sceptic foundation's funding | Left Foot Forward

    […] claims that GWPF has no ties to any energy companies but, as reported here on Left Foot Forward, many questions remain unanswered. Why, for example, does the GWPF share its offices with a major mining company? […]

  26. The Guardian’s “Climategate” debate: a mixed blessing » Climate Safety

    […] seemed to be composed of elements of the denial lobby. Benny Peiser – a serial paid advocate for mining industry front-groups – was in attendance, as was the eccentric weather theorist Piers Corbyn – whose […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.