Jacob Rees-Mogg’s GB News show under Ofcom investigation

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Image of Climte-change denier and Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Image of Climate-change denier and Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg. Chris McAndrew public-domain image via WikiMedia. Please see Notes.

An episode of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s State of the Nation GB News show faces an Ofcom investigation on whether it complied with the rules of the broadcast regulator.

The programme in question covered a breaking news story about the civil trial verdict involving Donald Trump, which led to 40 complaints being made to Ofcom. The investigation will focus on whether the programme complied with rules which prevent politicians acting as newsreaders.

The regulator said, “our investigation will look at the programme’s compliance with our rules which prevent politicians from acting as newsreaders in any news programmes, unless exceptionally, it is editorially justified”.

The right-wing news channel that boasts Nigel Farage as a presenter and most recently Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson, is no stranger to Ofcom scrutiny. An investigation remains ongoing into the Saturday Morning show with Esther and Philip broadcast on GB News, related to the same rule.


Notes. I claim that Jacob Rees-Mogg is a Climate-change denier and Brexiteer. These claims are confirmed at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Rees-Mogg

Continue ReadingJacob Rees-Mogg’s GB News show under Ofcom investigation

Rishi Sunak Boasts That Oil Funded Think Tank ‘Helped Us Draft’ Crackdown on Climate Protests

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Original article by Adam Barnett and Sam Bright republished from DeSmog according to their republishing guidelines

The prime minister praised Policy Exchange, which received $30,000 from oil and gas giant ExxonMobil in 2017, for shaping laws that target green activists.

Image of InBedWithBigOil by Not Here To Be Liked + Hex Prints from Just Stop Oil's You May Find Yourself... art auction.
Image of InBedWithBigOil by Not Here To Be Liked + Hex Prints from Just Stop Oil’s You May Find Yourself… art auction.

Rishi Sunak has confirmed that a fossil fuel-funded think tank helped to draft his government’s laws targeting climate protests. 

Speaking at Policy Exchange’s summer party on Wednesday (28 June), the prime minister boasted that the think tank’s work “helped us draft” the government’s crackdown on protests, according to Politico.

OpenDemocracy reported last year that Policy Exchange’s US wing, American Friends of Policy Exchange, which provides funds to the UK branch, received $30,000 (roughly £23,700) from oil and gas giant ExxonMobil in 2017.

Two years later, Policy Exchange published a report entitled “Extremism Rebellion”, in reference to the environmental protest group, calling for the police and the government to clamp down on eco protests. 

An Extinction Rebellion spokesperson told DeSmog that this story “exemplifies the stranglehold that private interests have on our democracy.”

Ministers have been clear that new police powers are designed to stop climate protests. The former Home Secretary Priti Patel cited tactics used by Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain when arguing for what became the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022. 

Sunak’s statement yesterday appears to confirm Extremism Rebellion’s allegation that sections of the 2022 law were ‘directly inspired’ by Policy Exchange’s report.

The “Extremism Rebellion” report said that legislation relating to public protest needed to be “urgently reformed” in order to “strengthen the ability of the police to place restrictions on planned protest and deal more effectively with mass lawbreaking tactics”.

This was implemented in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, which came into effect in April 2022 and awarded the police new powers to decide what constitutes a ‘disruptive’ protest and to more harshly punish those involved.

In the year to April 2023, more than 2,000 people were arrested and 138 spent time in prison for their involvement in campaigns by Just Stop Oil, the climate protest group.

Those encarcerated included two protesters who were each sentenced to more than two and a half years in prison – the longest sentences for peaceful climate protest in British history, according to the group – for causing a ‘public nuisance’ by scaling the Dartford Crossing.

This crackdown on protests has been continued by current Home Secretary Suella Braverman, a vocal critic of the UK’s net zero targets, who singled out Just Stop Oil when advocating further powers in the Public Order Act 2023, which received Royal Assent in May.

The legislation, which has been labelled as “draconian” by its opponents, allows the police to pre-emptively intervene to shut down protests and creates new offences for what it describes as “guerrilla tactics”, all of which have been used in recent climate protests.

The law criminalises protesters for attaching themselves (or coming equipped) to lock on to other protesters or buildings, threatening a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine or both.

For organising protests that block key infrastructure including “airports, railways, printing presses, and oil and gas infrastructure” protesters are threatened with up to 12 months in prison, while tunnelling is set at three years.

The law follows a November report by Policy Exchange that said it was “imperative” for protesters who repeatedly obstruct the highways to be “swiftly arrested, convicted and punished”. It further urged that “magistrates and judges should be imposing severe sentences on repeat offenders who aim deliberately to harm the public by breaching the criminal law”.

Sunak, who worked at Policy Exchange before his 2015 election to parliament, also used the summer party to make a jibe about the Labour Party’s links to Just Stop Oil, one of whose funders, Dale Vince, has donated £1.4 million to the party since 2014. 

Sunak’s comments echoed the claim made often by senior Conservatives, that Labour’s opposition to new North Sea oil and gas projects is linked to Dale’s donation. Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, has repeatedly attacked Labour over the connection, writing in the Daily Mail that Labour has become “the political wing of Just Stop Oil”. 

In fact, the International Energy Agency has said that new oil and gas projects are not compatible with keeping warming below 1.5C – an international climate goal that has been adopted by the UK government.

Meanwhile, DeSmog revealed in March that the Conservative Party received £3.5 million from fossil fuel interests, high-polluters and climate science deniers last year alone.

Policy Exchange and Climate Change

Policy Exchange was co-founded in 2002 by Michael Gove, who has been a mainstay in the cabinet since 2010. The think tank continues to retain significant influence in Westminster: Policy Exchange alumni make up a greater number of special advisers in Rishi Sunak’s government than any other think tank.

At the 2022 Conservative Party conference, Jacob Rees-Mogg, at the time serving as Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary, said: “I believe that where Policy Exchange leads, governments have often followed.”

Lord Frost, is currently a senior fellow at the think tank. He was also recently appointed as a director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) – the UK’s principal climate science denial group. This week, Frost – who also attended the Policy Exchange summer party – gave a speech criticising Sunak’s government for offering voters “more net zero”. 

Since 2016, Policy Exchange has hosted events at the Conservative Party conference sponsored by energy companies and trade groups including: wood-burning bioenergy firm Drax, gas and electricity supplier E.on, British Gas parent company Centrica, the gas and electricity industry body Energy Networks Association, gas generation company Cadent Gas, trade association Hydrogen UK, and the Sizewell C nuclear plant. 

According to VICE News, while the think tank does not advertise the cost of sponsored meetings at party conferences, other similar organisations charge over £12,000 to host an event, which lasts about 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, the chair of the Policy Exchange board is Alexander Downer, who served as Australia’s Foreign Minister from 1996 to 2007. Downer has expressed climate science scepticism in the past, claiming that we are “going through an era” of global warming, and saying that Australian climate leadership would be expensive “virtue signalling”. 

Downer was appointed as the High Commissioner to the UK in 2014 by Tony Abbott, who also recently joined the board of the GWPF. 

Policy Exchange and 10 Downing Street have been approached for comment.

Original article by Adam Barnett and Sam Bright republished from DeSmog according to their republishing guidelines

Continue ReadingRishi Sunak Boasts That Oil Funded Think Tank ‘Helped Us Draft’ Crackdown on Climate Protests

High-Profile Allies of Anti-Net Zero Parliamentary Group Revealed in Telegraph Letter

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Original article by Adam Barnett and Sam Bright republished from DeSmog according to their republishing guidelines.

Conservative MP and former Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg. Credit: Simon Dawson / 10 Downing StreetCC BY-NC-ND 2.0

New allies of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group (NZSG) of MPs and Lords have today been revealed in a letter published by the Telegraph

The NZSG campaigns against the UK’s legally binding net zero commitments. The letter reveals new supporters among influential Conservative MPs and peers not previously known to back the group including former Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-MoggLord Frost, Iain Duncan Smith, Andrea Jenkyns, Jonathan Gullis, and Miriam Cates. 

The chair of the NZSG, Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay, coordinated the letter – which called for the suspension of a UK scheme that imposes costs on energy-intensive industries for their carbon emissions. The letter was signed by 29 Conservative MPs and peers.

The revelation comes as the Climate Change Committee (CCC), the government’s independent advisory body on climate change, today stated that the UK is missing its climate targets on nearly every front. 

The government has been criticised for supporting the continued exploration of North Sea oil and gas sites, in the face of warnings from international climate and energy bodies. Chris Stark, chief executive of the CCC, has said that political leadership was “missing” in the pursuit of net zero. 

“The CCC’s report could hardly have been more damning – tearing the government to shreds over its abysmal progress on tackling the climate emergency, and its utterly misleading arguments that fossil fuel expansion is somehow necessary before reaching net zero,” Green Party MP Caroline Lucas told DeSmog.

“Yet this letter from the Net Zero Scrutiny Group proves that Rishi Sunak has clearly been spending more time listening to a group of climate delayers and deniers in his own party, rather than scientists and independent experts … It’s time for the prime minister to slam the door in the face of fossil fuel interests once and for all.”

All signatories of the letter were asked by DeSmog to confirm whether they were members of NZSG. Only two of the 29 parliamentarians – Conservative MPs Holly Mumby-Croft and Jack Brereton – denied being formally part of the group, while a third, Kelly Tolhurst, said that she was in favour of net zero but that “there is not just one way to meet net zero and it is right to raise concerns over policy that could impact the competitiveness of the UK.”

Founded in 2021, the NZSG has never released a full list of its members, meaning that the parliamentarians linked to the group can only be discerned from the individuals who sign its public letters. 

The New Allies

The list of NZSG allies released today includes individuals associated with the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the UK’s principal climate science denial group, which has extensive ties with the parliamentary caucus.

The letter in the Telegraph was signed by Conservative MP Andrea Jenkyns and Lord Frost, both of whom are directors at the GWPF, which regularly questions the scientific basis of human-caused climate change. 

The majority (54 percent) of Conservative MPs who signed the NZSG letter are either current or former members of the European Research Group (ERG) – a faction of the Conservative Party that supported a ‘hard’ Brexit and was reportedly the model for the NZSG.

This includes Rees-Mogg, a former chair of the ERG who served as Business and Energy Secretary from September to October 2022. As revealed by DeSmog, Rees-Mogg spoke of his desire for people to “stop demonising oil and gas” in a private meeting with the head of the United Arab Emirates’s state investment company while serving in the cabinet. 

Rees-Mogg has a long record of opposing climate action. In 2014 he claimed that efforts to limit global warming “would have no effect for hundreds or possibly a thousand years” and in 2013 he blamed high energy prices on “climate alarmism.”

Rees-Mogg currently hosts a show on climate sceptic broadcaster GB News, as do fellow NZSG signatories Esther McVey and Philip Davies

New MPs not previously associated with the NZSG include Miriam Cates, Conservative MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, who at the National Conservatism Conference in May claimed that “epidemic levels of anxiety and confusion” among young people are being caused by teaching, among other things, that “humanity is killing the Earth”.

The NZSG allies also include several parliamentarians embroiled in controversies. For example, Reclaim Party MP Andrew Bridgen, who was expelled from the Conservative Party in April for comparing the use of Covid vaccines to the Holocaust. 

The Reclaim Party itself has a history of opposing climate action. Its website says that “net zero climate policies punish the poorest in society” and the party’s leader Laurence Fox has argued for scrapping “those woke billions” that “we are spending each year to appease the sun monster with offerings of net zero”.

Another signatory of the NZSG letter was Scott Benton, who had the Conservative whip suspended in April after a newspaper sting caught him offering to lobby on behalf of the gambling industry and leak confidential documents.

The full list of signatories was as follows: Craig Mackinlay, Sir Iain Duncan-Smith, Sir Jacob Rees-MoggLord FrostEsther McVeySir John Redwood, Dame Andrea Jenkyns, Sir Robert Syms, Mark Francois, David Jones, Kelly Tolhurst, Sammy Wilson, Andrew Lewer, Jack Brereton, Miriam Cates, Chris Green, Jonathan Gullis, Philip Hollobone, Adam Holloway, Julian Knight, Marco Longhi, Karl McCartney, Holly Mumby-Croft, Philip Davies, Bob Seely, Greg Smith, Andrew Bridgen, Scott Benton, Baroness Foster of Oxton, Baroness Lea of Lymm, Lord Lilley, Lord Moylan, Lord Strathcarron.

Greg Smith told DeSmog that he is “committed to challenging assumptions on the best way to end our reliance on fossil fuels and decarbonisation.”

He added: “There is a lot of groupthink in this space that just doesn’t stack up when challenged and it is better to work out the better solutions now than wait for them to go wrong and mess up people’s lives.”

The Net Zero Scrutiny Group

The Net Zero Scrutiny Group was set up in 2021 and campaigns against climate action and for more fossil fuel extraction. The group has publicly pushed for more North Sea oil and gas exploration, the removal of green levies from energy bills, and lifting the UK’s ban on fracking for shale gas.  

As DeSmog has reported, the group has extensive ties to the GWPF and its campaign arm Net Zero Watch (NZW) – sharing personnel, resources, and campaign goals. 

NZSG chair Craig Mackinlay’s has employed GWPF and NZW head of policy Harry Wilkinson, a former researcher for GWPF founder Nigel Lawson, as a parliamentary aide. At the time of its launch, NZSG’s deputy chair Steve Baker MP was a director of the GWPF, and received £5,000 from GWPF chair Neil Record while in that role. 

Baker, who is not on today’s list, stepped down from GWPF in September to become a government minister, and in October said he was still administrator of the NZSG’s WhatsApp group but was no longer lobbying the government on climate policies. He received another £10,000 from Record in February.

NZSG’s policy demands track those of NZW, and Mackinlay has helped promote NZW reports. In March 2022, Mackinlay gave a supportive quote to a NZW report calling for “rapid” new North Sea exploration and for wind and solar power to be “wound down completely”. 

The GWPF continues to deny climate science. A recent paper called the UK’s record temperatures in 2022, which saw a 40C heatwave, “a warm year, but unalarming”. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s foremost body of climate scientists, says that “Climate change has already increased the magnitude and frequency of extreme hot events” and that “future extreme events will also occur with unprecedented frequency”.

The GWPF’s influence also appears to be growing. In May, Allison Pearson, the Daily Telegraph’s chief interviewer and a columnist at the newspaper, joined the GWPF board, where she sits with former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Lord Frost, and Andrea Jenkyns. 

Craig Mackinlay was approached for comment. 

Original article by Adam Barnett and Sam Bright republished from DeSmog according to their republishing guidelines.

Continue ReadingHigh-Profile Allies of Anti-Net Zero Parliamentary Group Revealed in Telegraph Letter

Revealed: 1 in 3 GB News Hosts Spread Climate Denial On Air in 2022

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Original article by Adam Barnett republished from DeSmog according to their republishing guidelines.

GBNews presenter Nigel Farage. Image by Gage Skidmore via wikimedia, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

A majority of GB News hosts attacked climate action on the channel in 2022, while one in three spread climate science denial, a DeSmog analysis can reveal. 

Opponents of green policies have seized on the energy crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to denounce the UK’s net zero target and push for new, environmentally-damaging fossil fuel extraction. 

Broadcaster GB News has faced criticism for spreading anti-green messages to millions of viewers since its launch in June 2021. GB News CEO Angelos Frangopoulos has previously defended the platform by claiming that it presents “multiple sides of the climate debate”.

However, an in-depth DeSmog analysis of GB News’s output from 2022 reveals a pattern of hostility to climate action, including outright climate science denial. 

DeSmog reviewed dozens of YouTube video clips of 31 GB News hosts over a 12 month period. Our analysis found that at least 16 hosts (52 percent) attacked on air the UK’s climate policies, including its net zero target. 

Presenters claimed that net zero will cause “death by poverty and starvation”, “poses an existential threat to the free world”, and called for the UK to “drill, baby, drill” for more fossil fuels. 

The analysis also showed that ten hosts (32 percent) broadcast views in 2022 that challenged or rejected the scientific consensus on climate change. Presenters dismissed the role of climate change in extreme weather, such as the UK’s record 2022 heatwave, claiming “the polar bears are doing fine” and that “the ice in Antarctica is getting thicker every day”.

The world’s leading climate science group, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned in 2022 that efforts to tackle climate change were being delayed by “rhetoric and misinformation that undermines climate science and disregards risk and urgency”.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) MP John Nicolson – who sits on Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee – called DeSmog’s analysis “damning” and urged Ofcom to take “urgent” action, while US-based media and climate expert Allison Fisher said that GB News was using “a similar playbook as Fox News”.

At least four GB News hosts have ties to right-wing political parties that are hostile to climate action, while its ranks include well-known anti-green MPs from the Conservative benches. The channel also frequently platforms activists from climate science denial groups such as the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). 

All but two of the hosts who spread climate delay and denial in 2022 are still working at GB News. And, in recent months, GB News has hired two more anti-green MPs as presenters: former Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, and current Conservative Party Deputy Chair Lee Anderson.

A GB News spokesperson told DeSmog: “GB News embraces a wide range of voices on all major issues such as climate change and policy.” They claimed that DeSmog’s research excluded “other hosts, guests, politicians, and commentators on GB News who have robustly and resoundingly argued different views on climate policy and science”.

Adapted image. Credit: Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0), Lee Goddard (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) / Infogram

‘Polluting Public Discourse’ 

Communications regulator Ofcom has repeatedly found GB News to have broken broadcasting rules with false claims about Covid vaccines, and is probing the channel’s use of MPs as hosts. But, until now, GB News’s climate coverage has largely evaded scrutiny.

“GB News prioritises polemicists over journalists,” Nicolson told DeSmog. “Many of GB News’s broadcasts pollute public discourse with right-wing propaganda.

“There is an urgent need for Ofcom now to act. We do not want to go further down the American Fox News route of unchallenged, often scientifically illiterate, culture war propaganda spewing into our homes.”

An Ofcom spokesperson told DeSmog: “In line with freedom of expression, broadcasters are free to broadcast programmes about climate change from a range of different perspectives. 

“Under our rules, however, any scientifically unsubstantiated claims must be handled with care and put properly into context – for example, by receiving adequate challenge – to ensure audiences are not misled.”

‘Net Zero Must Die’

In 2022, GB News frequently aired claims about climate policy that run counter to the scientific consensus, DeSmog’s findings show.

Net zero targets were a favourite topic. The UK’s 2050 net zero target is legally binding and backed by the world’s top climate scientists. Rapidly cutting carbon emissions is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5°C and avoid the worst impacts of climate change, including drought, famine, and ill health, according to the IPCC. 

Yet, net zero was the subject of attacks from GB News hosts last year, with the presenters often veering into conspiracy theories

For example on 5 November, host Neil Oliver used his show to attack “net zero [and] the green agenda”, which he claimed was part of “a hellish potpourri of policies guaranteed to condemn hundreds of millions to death by poverty, death by starvation”. 

Mark Steyn claimed on an 18 May episode of The Steyn Line that climate policy was part of a conspiracy to bring about “a controlled demolition of the western world” by “sinister globalist[s]”. Steyn parted ways with GB News this year after Ofcom ruled that his false claims about the safety of Covid vaccines had broken its standards over potentially harmful content. 

Flagship host Dan Wootton argued on 10 March that the war in Ukraine meant “for now the rush to net zero must die”. He urged the government to “frack, frack, frack” for shale gas. In a 2 November show, Wootton attacked Rishi Sunak for agreeing to attend the “eco doomfest” COP27 climate summit, while a graphic on the screen referred to “the deranged march to net zero”.

Mark Dolan, in a 22 September episode of Mark Dolan Tonight, said: “Blindly pursuing net zero threatens to hasten the decline of the west, and therefore poses an existential threat to the free world.” 

In a 9 December show, Dolan praised plans to open a new coal mine in Cumbria, saying the UK should “drill, baby, drill” for coal, oil and gas, and adding: “I think the push for net zero here is another element of liberal progressivism which is infecting the west.”

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that any new fossil fuel projects would be incompatible with limiting warming to 1.5°C. Coal emits the most CO2 of any fossil fuel. 

In July, star host Nigel Farage – who has a long record of opposing climate action – used his GB News platform to launch a campaign for a Brexit-style referendum on net zero. 

On 6 December, GB News host and Reclaim Party leader Laurence Fox argued for scrapping “those woke billions” that “we are spending each year to appease the sun monster with offerings of net zero”.

Fellow host Nana Akua claimed on 16 July that net zero was “a money-spinning, extreme and impossible goal” that “only relates to the zero sum you will have in your bank account by the time they’re done with you.” 

View the GB News climate disinformation profile

‘Man-Made Climate Change – I Don’t Buy It’ 

GB News hosts also frequently challenged or rejected the scientific consensus on climate change in 2022. 

On 16 July, during the UK’s record-breaking summer heatwave, host Calvin Robinson accused the Met Office of “alarmism”, adding: “Man-made climate change, I don’t buy it, because how much of an impact do we really make if we’re talking about carbon levels?”

On her 16 July show, Akua accused the print media of “climate alarmism” over warnings about the heatwave, which she said “really isn’t that bad,” adding of such warnings that “in any case, most of the time, they’re wrong”.  

Six days later, Akua said: “If we [humans] only generate 3.5 percent of CO2 and the rest of it is natural, then surely the CO2 is not the reason for the climate changing because it’s such a small proportion?” 

A day earlier, host Beverley Turner called heatwave warnings “fear mongering” in order to “facilitate state control over your life”. Turner also spread baseless claims warning viewers to “be aware of green issue propaganda which will serve large corporate interests”, which is “part of a plan to register us all to a Biometric ID and a social credit score system that’ll tell you when you can and can’t leave the house for the sake of the planet”.

On 8 August, Farage questioned the link between extreme weather and climate change, saying: “Which is it? Is climate change giving us floods in the [US] midwest or drought in southern England? I’m confused.”

These claims about the heatwave contradict the IPCC, the Met Office, and a study by the World Weather Attribution service that said the heatwave was made “at least 10 times more likely” by human-caused climate change. 

In a 22 September segment, Mark Dolan cast doubt on climate science, saying: “When it comes to global warming, my mind is open, but after two and a half years of, in my view anti-scientific Covid policies, and junk modelling in relation to the virus, forgive me for having questions and not slavishly following ‘the science’.”

In a 10 December show, Neil Oliver asserted that “the polar bears are doing fine” and “the ice in Antarctica is getting thicker every day” – claims not supported by the scientific evidence

Professor J. Timmons Roberts, co-author of an influential paper on the “discourses of climate delay”, told DeSmog that GB News presenters were “casting doubt on the urgency of meaningful action on climate change and the viability of solutions we now have to this urgent problem. 

“These are classic discourses of delay, honed by the fossil fuel industry and its allies, building on the decades of experience of the tobacco PR machine,” he said.

“GB News appears to be utilising a similar playbook as Fox News to push climate misinformation and throw sand in the gears of climate action,” said Allison Fisher, Climate and Energy Program Director for the US-based media watchdog Media Matters.

“Attempting to discredit climate science, denying the link between our warming planet and ever-increasing extreme weather, all while keeping up a steady drumbeat of attacks on climate solutions and policies intended to address the climate crisis, are tactics Fox News has used for years to misinform its audiences and delay action on climate change.” 

All of the hosts cited in this article have been approached for comment.

Anti-Green Politicians 

At least four GB News hosts have ties to political parties with a record of climate science denial: Nigel Farage, former leader of the Brexit Party (now Reform UK) who also heads up the anti-green group Vote Power Not Poverty; Calvin Robinson, who was a Brexit Party parliamentary candidate in 2019 and a former Reclaim Party advisor; Arlene Foster, former leader of the Democratic Unionist Party; and Reclaim Party leader Laurence Fox. 

Another host, Philip Davies, was one of five MPs to vote against the Climate Change Act in 2008. Davies, Anderson, and Esther McVey – who is also a GB News presenter – are all members of the anti-climate action Net Zero Scrutiny Group of backbench Conservative MPs. 

Owned by the Dubai-based investment firm Legatum Group, GB News reached 2.87 million viewers in December alone, reportedly beating rival station TalkTV in key time slots. Despite this, the broadcaster lost £30 million in its first year on air. 

The Legatum Institute think tank, which is run by the Legatum Group, has previously received donations from a foundation linked to the US-based Koch Industries oil dynasty. Three of the five parties with significant control of GB News’s parent company, All Perspectives Limited, are executives at Legatum.

GB News last year appointed a new chair, Alan McCormick, who is a partner at Legatum and previously shared articles online which dismissed the threat from climate change.

Legatum Group did not respond when contacted for comment. 

‘Biased Messaging’

GB News not only gives a voice to climate denial and delay via its hosts; it also platforms guests who are hostile to climate science and net zero policies.

Frequent guests include Lois Perry of the climate science denial group CAR26, as well as figures from the GWPF, the UK’s principal climate denial group, which campaigns as Net Zero Watch. On 30 April this year, GB News hosted the GWPF’s head of policy Harry Wilkinson in a segment on net zero. 

GB News has also promoted GWPF material under its own banner. In May 2022, GB News published an online story criticising government subsidies for wind farms which, although it was based on a Net Zero Watch analysis, did not reveal the group as its source. 

GB News’s online story carried quotes from Conservative MPs Steve Baker and Craig Mackinlay, both of whom are Net Zero Watch allies. These quotes were identical to the statements featured in the Net Zero Watch press release.

The on-air version of the story featured an interview with Andrew Montford, deputy director of Net Zero Watch, while the story was also cited in a new report by the influential Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) think tank that called for a “phase out” of renewable energy subsidies.

Richard Wilson, board member of the Stop Funding Heat campaign, said GB News was pushing “biased messaging on climate change and net zero.”

Wilson urged advertisers to pull support for the channel, saying: “Any company that cares about climate change, and the future of humanity, should be steering well clear of GB News.” 

Fisher at Media Matters added: “At a time when the window to act on global warming is rapidly closing, the last thing the world needs is another Fox News.”

For a full breakdown of GB News’s record on climate, visit its new profile in DeSmog’s climate disinformation database.

Additional research by Joey Grostern

Using online video footage of GB News segments, mainly on YouTube, DeSmog analysed the comments made on air in 2022 by the presenters listed on the GB News website. 

We excluded six of these 37 listed hosts – Mark Longhurst, Rosie Wright, Darren McCaffrey, Mark White, Ellie Costello and royal correspondent Cameron Walker – as they were news anchors or reporters who did not regularly express opinions.

DeSmog’s analysis found that, of the 31 GB News hosts, 16 (52 percent) attacked climate action on air, while 10 (32 percent) challenged or rejected basic climate science. 

We defined “attacks on climate action” as hosts attacking “net zero” and efforts to cut CO2 emissions, or supporting a major increase in fossil fuel extraction, e.g. overturning the UK’s fracking ban or opening a new coal mine. We excluded specific calls for more North Sea oil and gas extraction because, while this still contradicts the IPCC and IEA, it is a more mainstream position, held for example by the current UK government.  

We defined “climate science denial” as hosts rejecting or casting doubt on the role of human-caused CO2 emissions on global warming, and on its role in extreme weather events such as last year’s record heatwave in the UK. 

The analysis did not include the regular attacks on climate protesters by GB News, or contestable claims about the UK being a “world leader” on climate action. 

In drawing up these definitions DeSmog was guided by the peer-reviewed 2020 “discourses of climate delay” paper published by Cambridge University. 

We were not able to review all of GB News’s 2022 output, as not all of it is currently publicly available after live broadcast, so there may be more examples that were not captured in this analysis. We also found that several hosts made delay or denial statements in 2021 or 2023 which fell outside the time frame and so were not included in this analysis. A full dataset is available upon request. 

Original article by Adam Barnett republished from DeSmog according to their republishing guidelines.

Continue ReadingRevealed: 1 in 3 GB News Hosts Spread Climate Denial On Air in 2022

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