Labour Under Pressure for Reselecting Climate Denial Group Director as Election Candidate

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Original article by Sam Bright republished from DeSmog.

Graham Stringer, Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton, on GB News. Credit: GB News / YouTube

It’s “a scandal” that the party continues to support Graham Stringer, campaigners say.

The Labour Party has been criticised by campaigners after a board member of the UK’s leading climate science denial group was reselected as a candidate at the upcoming general election. 

Graham Stringer, a Labour MP since 1997, has been reselected as the party’s candidate for Blackley and Broughton in Greater Manchester. Since 2015, Stringer has been a director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a group founded to contradict established climate science and advocate against policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions. 

The GWPF has in the past expressed the view that carbon dioxide has been mis-characterised as pollution, when in fact it is a “benefit to the planet”. GWPF director Benny Peiser has said “it’s extraordinary that anyone should think there is a climate crisis”.

Staff members at the GWPF and its sister group Net Zero Watch have been given a regular platform on the right-wing broadcaster GB News in recent months, during which they have claimed that the climate emergency is simply “scaremongering”, that “net zero is doing enormous damage to the economy”, and that “the lights will go out” if we divest from fossil fuels.

“It’s a scandal that Labour is allowing Graham Stringer to stand again,” said Carys Boughton of the Fossil Free Parliament campaign group. “To keep a forthright, prominent climate denier in the fold is to suggest that the party doesn’t understand the urgency of the crisis we are facing. We need Labour to actively stand against the forces that are compromising good climate policy, be they external or within their own ranks.”

The GWPF is based in 55 Tufton Street, Westminster, which has housed a number of libertarian groups that are opposed to clean energy policies and climate science.

Stringer has vocally questioned climate science and policies to achieve net zero emissions. At a Battle of Ideas event in 2023, he said that the policies adopted by the UK to address emissions “make China stronger, make us vulnerable to supply chains that we have no control over, and cost large amounts of money.”

In 2014, Stringer was one of only two MPs on Parliament’s Energy and Climate Change Committee to vote against accepting the conclusion of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that humans are the dominant cause of global warming.

Stringer and Conservative MP Peter Lilley said that they did “not dispute the science of the greenhouse effect”, but that “there remain great uncertainties about how much warming a given increase in greenhouse gases will cause, how much damage any temperature increase will cause and the best balance between adaptation to versus prevention of global warming.”

Stringer also planned to join Reform UK’s Nigel Farage and Richard Tice for their launch of a net zero referendum campaign in 2022 (though he later pulled out of the event). Reform wants to scrap the UK’s 2050 net zero target, while both Farage and Tice are critics of climate science. Tice has claimed that “CO2 isn’t poison. It’s plant food”.

Speaking on GB News about his initial decision to campaign alongside Farage and Tice, Stringer said that “I’ve argued for a long time against the extra costs being placed on people to achieve net zero.” 

Energy price rises triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 were exacerbated in the UK – the worst hit country in western Europe – due to its over-reliance on gas. The Office for Budget Responsibility, the government’s independent spending watchdog, has said that “the costs of failing to get climate change under control would be much larger than those of bringing emissions down to net zero”.

Conservative peer Lord David Frost is a director of the GWPF alongside Stringer. Tory and Reform donor Terence Mordaunt is also a director of the GWPF, while Conservative politician Andrea Jenkyns is a director of Net Zero Watch.

“Labour can claim a serious commitment to environmental and climate policy. Or it can select as an MP a candidate who is on the board of a Tufton Street climate science denial think tank. But it can’t do both,” said Jolyon Maugham, director of the Good Law Project. 

Labour and Climate Change

The Labour Party has this week been finalising its list of candidates for the general election, with its full slate set to be submitted on Friday (7 June) ahead of the 4 July vote. 

The party has been campaigning prominently on the issue of clean power, pledging to create a state-owned renewable energy investment vehicle, GB Energy, that it says will help to “speed up and scale the deployment of new technologies”. 

Labour has also said that it plans to remove fossil fuels from UK electricity production by 2030, five years earlier than current government plans, and to ban new North Sea oil and gas licences. 

Reports suggest that the party views climate change as a key dividing line of the election campaign, with Rishi Sunak’s Conservative government having overseen the watering down of several net zero policies over the last year. Sunak launched the election campaign by claiming that he had “prioritised energy security and your family finances over environmental dogma”.

However, Labour has been criticised for dropping its plan to invest £28 billion a year in green infrastructure to reach net zero. On announcing that the policy would be scaled down, Labour leader Keir Starmer said that “fiscal rules come first”, adding that higher interest rates meant that financing the plan would be more expensive. The pledged investment has now been reduced to £15 billion a year. 

Labour did not respond to DeSmog’s request for comment, but a spokesperson previously told The Guardian: “The choice at this election is clear: a Conservative government that pollutes our rivers with record levels of toxic sewage, is led by and funded by climate deniers and fails to meet our climate and nature targets; or a Labour government that will restore nature, deliver the largest investment in clean energy in our history so we can cut bills for families, make Britain energy independent and tackle the climate crisis to protect our home for our children and grandchildren.”

Original article by Sam Bright republished from DeSmog.

Continue ReadingLabour Under Pressure for Reselecting Climate Denial Group Director as Election Candidate

COP26 New summary day 3

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I’m reaching a few conclusions about COP26. It isn’t serious about addressing climate change because governments are sucking up to the filthy rich and powerful. That’s what refusing to address aviation is about, all the private jets and Bezos and actors appearing. Aviation appears to be a good target for climate activism, it’s hugely damaging and far more likely to get public support. I’ll be going to my local airport on Saturday.

In UK and worldwide we need to elect some Greens or e.g. nationalist parties, with strong green policies. It’s happening anyway, Bristol is likely to elect some Green MPs at the next election. The Greens are taking votes from Labour and hopefully people will realise that the current Labour party is undeclared Tory and anti-democratic in party actions, Stalinist really. [ed: Stalinist as an insult: authoritarian dictatorship with a total disregard of others’ perpectives, crushing and destroying people.] It’s a shame that the elections are so far away in 2024.

The Brexit dark money lobby has a new target – climate change action

Officially the UK government has committed to Net Zero by 2050, but behind the scenes an organised, well-funded opposition to climate change action is growing on the Conservative Right. And many of those at the vanguard – and their tactics – come straight from the veterans of Brexit.

A classic example of this appeared in The Telegraph this week: the day before the Budget, it reported a YouGov survey that found a majority of the British public “want a referendum on Boris Johnson’s net zero plans” by the next general election – a majority of those who expressed a preference, that is.

Perhaps it’s because I spent so long looking at the dark money behind Brexit, but the first thing I thought while reading The Telegraph’s story was: “Who has paid a professional pollster to carry out a survey on a question nobody is asking?”

The answer is something called Car26.org. This, The Telegraph informed its readers, is a “new campaign group calling for a referendum on net zero proposals and a pause in eco regulations until such a ballot is held”.

Yep, you read that right. No climate change mitigation policies until a referendum on Net Zero. Sound familiar?

The taxpayer-funded European Research Group of Conservative MPs – which played a starring role in the UK’s exit from the EU – has largely morphed into the Net Zero Scrutiny Group. The Global Warming Policy Foundation — which long promoted climate change denialism — has been relaunched as Net Zero Watch. Wycombe MP Steve Baker, the “Brexit hardman”, is a leading light in both.

Boris Johnson races back from COP 26 on private jet to meet climate change sceptic pal

..

Hours after telling world leaders in Glasgow to stop “quilting the earth in an invisible and suffocating blanket of CO2”, Mr Johnson controversially hopped on board a chartered private plane.

His spokesman defended the decision saying: “It is important that the prime minister is able to move around the country and we have obviously faced significant time restraints.”

A No 10 spokesperson said: “All travel decisions are made with consideration for security and time restraints.

Boris Johnson’s luxury private plane habit laid bare as he spends £216k on flights

‘I was jailed for protesting against climate change but Johnson refuses responsibility’

As world leaders come together this week at COP26, I write this from a cell in Wandsworth Prison where I am serving a 12-month sentence for a peaceful climate protest, after climbing on an aeroplane during Extinction Rebellion’s October Rebellion in 2019.

‘Reality check’: Global CO2 emissions shooting back to record levels

The world’s “carbon budget” is the total emissions allowed to retain a 50% chance of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5C, but analysis shows this will be blown in 11 years if the current rate of emissions continues.

COP26 protests in Glasgow see five people arrested by police

Police have made five arrests as hundreds of climate activists marched through Glasgow as part of demonstrations around the Cop26 summit.

The protest was one of several in Glasgow on Wednesday, as the Cop26 summit discussed the financial system.

Police Scotland said on Wednesday evening that five arrests had been made.

Two of the arrests took place after a number of officers were sprayed with paint. Cans of spray paint were also seized.

COP26 Glasgow: Greta Thunberg and 58,000 activists expected

More than 58,000 activists including Greta Thunberg are set to protest in two COP26 rallies in Glasgow this weekend. 

It wasn’t just fancy world leaders and smug glossy fossil fuel parasites attending Cop26

First Dog on the Moon

Continue ReadingCOP26 New summary day 3