Since last election, 92 percent of Reform UK’s donations have come from oil and gas investors, high polluters, and climate science deniers

The findings about Reform’s funding come as the UN General Secretary calls for a fossil fuel advertising ban to “directly confront those in the fossil fuel industry who have shown relentless zeal for obstructing progress.”

Nigel Farage announcing he has become leader of Reform

Since the 2019 general election, Reform UK has received more than £2.3 million from high-polluting industries, firms with oil and gas interests, and climate science deniers. This equates to 92 percent of the party’s donations.

Nigel Farage announced he was the new leader of Reform UK this week, replacing Richard Tice, who is now the party’s chairman. Promising to scrap all Net Zero goals, Reform is arguably Britain’s most prominent climate sceptic party.

Analysis by the climate change news site DeSmog shows that in the past 12 months, Nigel Farage’s party has received £200,000 from First Corporate Consultants. The company is owned by Terence Mordaunt, director and former chair of the climate sceptic think-tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

Since the 2019 election, Reform has also received over £500,000 from Jeremy Hosking, the long-time Conservative Party donor, who donated £1.7m to Vote Leave in 2016 and made major donations to the Brexit Party led by Farage. He also became a founding donor to the Reclaim Party, led by Laurence Fox. In 2021, Hosking’s investment company, Hosking Partners, had around £108 million invested in the energy sector, two-thirds of which was in the oil industry, and millions in gas and coal.

More than £1.1 million in donations to Reform have come from Richard Tice, former leader of the party. Tice is a well-known climate science sceptic, who has made some bizarre and inaccurate comments about climate change, including claiming that C02 is “plant food” and therefore “not a problem.” In April, he was humiliated by Green Party leader Carla Denyer on Question Time during an exchange about what action needs to be taken to combat the climate crisis. 

Since the start of 2020, Reform has received more than 50 loans totalling around £1.4 million from Tisun Investments, which is owned by Tice, the DeSmog investigation shows.

In the last five years, Reform has also accepted £465,000 from Christopher Harborne. Harborne owns the aviation fuel supplier company AML Global. According to the company’s website, its distribution network includes “main and regional oil companies.”

In response to DeSmog’s request for comment, Harborne issued a statement on the AML Global website.

“I am not a climate science denier and … I do not seek to influence any government through donations or lobbying regarding their policies on climate change or in favour of corporate interests,” he said.

DeSmog’s investigation into the funding of Reform UK, comes as the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for a ban on fossil fuel advertising.  Guterres described coal, oil and gas corporations as the “godfathers of climate chaos” who had distorted the truth and deceived the public for decades.

Guterres has called for more urgent political action on climate change and a “clampdown” on the fossil fuel industry.

“We must directly confront those in the fossil fuel industry who have shown relentless zeal for obstructing progress – over decades,” he said.

The comments, which were the UN General Secretary’s most damning condemnation yet of the industries responsible for bulk global warming, came as new studies showed the rate of global warming is rising.

According to data from the EU’s climate service, every month in the last year set a new global temperature record for the time of year.

Separate research by a group of around 50 leading scientists found that the rate of global warming caused by humans has continued to increase. The scientists found that ongoing high emissions of warming gases mean the world is getting closer to breaking the 1.5C warming mark on a longer-term basis.

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor of Left Foot Forward

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