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Lorne Gunter: Globe Lobbyists & Climategate Whitewash

How did the British establishment become so caught up in promoting global warming alarmism?

Not only were British scientists at the heart of the controversy known as Climategate – the discovery in late 2009 that many of the world’s leading climate scientists had been hiding data that undermined the global-warming theory and attempting to keep sceptical views out of academic journals – but now we discover that a powerful, but little-known organization, made up of mostly former British politicians, has been spending millions of tax dollars flying its members around the world to lobby governments and sway international climate conferences.

One of the group’s most-prominent members also chaired one of the allegedly “independent” investigations into Climategate that – surprise! surprise! – exonerated the British scientists involved of any scientific wrong-doing.

It would be hard to write a novel about this that sounded plausible. Nonetheless, it appears to be true.

On Sunday, London’s Telegraph newspaper ran an expose on Globe International, a not-for-profit company sometimes also known as Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment. According to the Telegraph:

Set up with the backing of Tony Blair, then the Prime Minister, and run by a group of British MPs and peers the organisation, Globe International, started life as an All Party Group based in the House of Commons.

It is now run as an international climate change lobbying group flying its supporters and experts club class to international summits to push its agenda. Last year, it said, it spent around £500,000 flying its supporters to these meetings.

It has also paid out at least £75,000 on travel for prominent UK politicians, including for its former presidents Elliot Morley, the ex-Labour environment minister now facing jail for expenses fraud, and Stephen Byers, the former Labour cabinet minister who was suspended from the Commons after he was filmed describing himself a “cab for hire” when offering to lobby his parliamentary contacts for cash.

Globe International also plans to lobby hard for an new international climate treaty to place Kyoto at next year’s Rio 2012 UN summit.

Lord Ronald Oxburgh, one of Globe’s directors, is also honorary president of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, an industry group representing companies that want to bury carbon emissions in the ground to keep them from reaching the atmosphere. He is also chairman of Falck Renewables, a wind-energy company seeking to set up wind farms all across Europe, and an advisor to Climate Change Capital, an investment firm specializing in start-up funding for low-carbon energy and manufacturing companies.

At the same time, Lord Oxburgh was chairman of the official University of East Anglia investigation into Climategate, which was centered at the university’s own Climate Research Unit. Responsible for determining whether anything unethical was done in Climategate, Lord Oxburgh did not disclose his involvement with Globe International when he was appointed to head the investigation – an investigation that cleared the academics involved of most wrongdoing.

If a large international oil company were found to be suppressing scientific research that proved a link between fossil fuel burning and global warming, and was then investigated by a director of an international association of oil corporations – a director who did not bother to divulge his possible conflict of interest – would you put any faith in his findings? Probably not. Yet environmentalists and reporters the world over have repeated Lord Oxburgh’s findings again and again as proof their theory and the scientists behind it are solid.

I have for years fought the suggestion that global warming theory is a hoax and a conspiracy, preferring instead to believe it is the product of well-intentioned, but nonetheless mistaken mindset among lefty academics who find it easy to believe that man-made industrial emissions are threatening the planet.

But as more and more proof comes out about the cloaked activities of environmental lobbyists and politicians, it becomes harder and harder to deny a conspiracy exists.

Financial Post, 26 April 2011