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Brexit, Climate Alarmism And The GWPF Myth

Peter Foster, Financial Post

Some people have cast the entire Brexit campaign as a plot by the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). But claims of a GWPF plot are pure paranoia.

One knowledgeable friend to whom I spoke about Brexit when I was in Britain recently said that he knew that the EU was doomed, but that he was going to vote to stay. Why? Because if Britain left, it would be blamed for the EU’s inevitable collapse.

That’s why it is important to refute the idea that Britain’s vote to leave the EU has endangered, or doomed, a fundamentally viable entity. The EU is a failed project because, to turn one of the favourite mantras of Eurocrats back on them, it is “unsustainable.”

The immediate problem for Britain is that the Scaremongers of Stay, who have spent recent months preaching disaster, now have to face the consequences of their alarmism, which unfolded in falling global stock markets, and a falling pound, on Friday.

Turbulence was exacerbated by the fact that the alleged “smart money” had bet that the British bulldog would choose to continue — like the proverbial frog — sitting in the slowly heating pan of regulation rather than make the effort to jump out.

It is a bit rich for Bank of England Governor Mark Carney — who is still lauded by the CBC for “shepherding” Canada through the post-2008 crisis (which we are arguably still in) — to declare the bank will take “all necessary steps” to calm markets when it was Carney who helped roil them so much in the first place.

Like “sustainability,” “all necessary steps,” or “whatever it takes” are foundational conceits of the macrostabilizers, betraying the belief that bad policy consequences can always be kicked down the road. A majority of voting Brits have now concluded it’s the road to serfdom.

Among those with omelette on their face is President Obama, who threatened that Britain would be sent to the “back of the queue” when negotiating future trade deals. The fact that he used the British term “queue” rather than “line” suggests that the Conservative government actually wrote his speech. But did he never consider how close the phrase “back of the queue” is to “back of the bus,” with its implications of flagrant discrimination?

In fact, Britain has just had its Rosa Parks moment.

On the other hand, the last thing Brexiteers needed was congratulations from Donald Trump, who was in Scotland opening a golf course. That’s because approval from The Donald provides ammunition for all those bien pensants who claimed that Brexit was all about the racism and the xenophobia of Little Englanders.

Concern about control of the country’s borders was certainly a factor, but the more fundamental issue was regaining control of the country’s laws and regulations, and thus avoiding more omnivorous supra-nationalism.

Not merely does Brexit promise to unwind — or slash — a Gordian knot of red tape, it points a welcome dagger at the heart of the greatest supra-national bureaucratic pretension since the Soviet Union: to manipulate global climate.

One of the many strong arguments against the EU is its Brussels-generated role in the pushing climate alarmism and draconian policy. The Climate Agenda is of the Eureaucracy, by the Eureaucracy and for the Eureaucracy, and is cheered on by their wonkish brethren around the world. Science has been corrupted and misrepresented. Skeptics have been cast as deranged “deniers” or shills for Big Oil, while wind, solar and biofuel policy disasters have been resolutely ignored.

Despite all the sunny talk about last year’s Paris conference being a “breakthrough,” the issue has descended into bureaucratic zombie-hood, which is just fine with the bureaucrats. There’s nothing they like more than cleaning up a mess, even if it is of their own making.

Britain has, until now, participated fully in this policy of economic self-immolation. However — as the green left has pointed out with horror — many of the leading Brexiteers are openly skeptical about the Climate Agenda. Indeed one of them, Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London, is in line to become the next British prime minister.

Some have even cast the entire Brexit campaign as a plot by the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a skeptical think tank founded by Lord Nigel Lawson, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer. Lawson was one of the most convincing campaigners for the Leave side. Another key Brexiteer was Conservative Justice Secretary Michael Gove, who had also campaigned against the bias of climate education on the basis of a critical, and entirely accurate, GWPF report.

But claims of a GWPF plot are pure paranoia. While other prominent associates of GWPF, such as journalist and best-selling author Matt Ridley, have written about the wild exaggerations of the Don’t Leave brigade, I personally know two leading figures in the GWPF who were on the Remain side. Indeed one of them was the individual I described at the beginning of this column.

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