DeSmog tells us that it “was founded in January 2006 to clear the PR pollution that is clouding the science and solutions to climate change.” That sounds like something that sceptics might welcome, except that only pollution spreading in one direction seems to be covered. Further:

Our research databases provide vital information on over 800 organizations and individuals responsible for spreading misinformation on a range of energy and science topics.

I went to have a look at the Climate Disinformation Database and was surprised by some notable omissions (I’ll leave you to guess who I’m talking about) and what I regard as surprising inclusions.

Kate Hoey is there. A Labour MP from 1989 to 2019 and now elevated to the House of Lords as Baroness Hoey of Lylehill and Rathlin, I hadn’t noticed that she was particularly prominent when it comes to discussing climate change, nor was I aware that she is responsible for climate disinformation (a sceptic, as we might say, or a denier as others might call her). Her Wikipedia page contains not a single reference to climate change. Baffled, I thought I would check her record when voting on climate change-related issues in Parliament, by taking a look at the They Work For You website.

There I discovered that on 4th June 2013 she voted to allow financial incentives for small-scale low-carbon generation of electricity to be paid to plants which were previously too big to be eligible. On 11th July 2018 she voted not to reduce support for former coal power stations running wholly or in part on biomass such as wood or other plant material. As it happens, I disagree with her on that issue, but I can’t see how it puts her in the DeSmog Hall of Shame (or Hall of Fame, as I prefer to think of it).

What else, then? Well, on 11th July and 17th October 2012 she voted against establishing a Green Investment Bank, but that seems to have been part of composite legislation, and on its own I don’t see that it should have put her beyond the pale in DeSmog’s eyes. Especially as, on that latter date, when it must have been obvious that the Green Investment Bank was going ahead, she also voted to require it to act explicitly in support of the target of reducing UK carbon emissions to 20% of 1990 levels by 2050.

On 4th June 2013 she voted to require the setting of a target range for the amount of carbon dioxide (or other greenhouse gases) produced per unit of electricity generated, and on 4th December 2013 she voted to allow carbon dioxide emissions limits to be set in respect of existing stations which fit pollution abatement equipment. On 8th September 2015 she voted against applying the Climate Change Levy tax to electricity generated from renewable sources.

So far, so good, as the Guardian might say. So what on earth has she done wrong? This can’t be it – on 14th March 2016 she voted to set a decarbonisation target for the UK within six months of June 2016 and to review it annually thereafter and to require a strategy for carbon capture and storage for the energy industry. A few weeks later, on 3rd March 2016 she voted to reduce the permitted carbon dioxide emission rate of new homes. So I’m still not getting DeSmog’s problem.

Perhaps it’s because on 12th November 2012 she voted against increasing taxes on fuel by 3% as of January 2013. It seems a small crime in the scheme of climate heresies, so it can’t be that. Perhaps it’s her approach to fracking? Although on 26th January 2015 she voted to explicitly require an environmental permit for hydraulic fracturing activities, a little over two weeks later, on 11th February 2015 she voted against requiring a more extensive set of conditions to be met prior to consent for hydraulic fracturing being given. Then, on 16th December 2015 she voted against greater restrictions on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract shale gas in National Parks, the Broads, areas of outstanding natural beauty, World Heritage sites, and near points where water is abstracted for domestic and food production purposes. That might put her in the wrong camp, I suppose.

Or perhaps not. Will the real reason please stand up?

A look at her profile on DeSmog’s website, combined with a ctrl + f search for the word “climate” throws up these terrible crimes:

She was appointed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to the House of Lords in a July 2020 honours list which received criticism for including several of Johnson’s prominent political allies as well as known deniers of climate science.

The word “deniers” offered a link which I followed. If you’re interested, it named Charles Moore; Claire Fox (sins include being a former Brexit Party MEP and “describing the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as “advocacy research”. In a tweet, she said it would be a “betrayal of scientific inquiry” to treat the body as “high priests of The Science and final word on climate”.”); Michael Spencer; Nigel Dodds; and Nick Herbert. Guilt by association, it would seem.

What else did my climate word search throw up in the way of justification for Baroness Hoey’s inclusion in the Hall of Shame?

Following the reported leadership dispute with Labour Leave, Hoey co-founded Grassrooots Out, alongside prominent DUP climate science denier Sammy Wilson.

It seems that guilt by association continues to plague her. Anything else? Oh yes! Her website apparently once included this shocking statement:

Climate change remains both a threat and an opportunity, as we look to move towards a new, green, low carbon economic and energy future. Labour has promised to meet our carbon reduction targets, while seriously addressing energy efficiency and insulation and banning fracking.

At the same time, we must support consumers who have faced rising energy bills as the government have failed to ensure that the industry has enough working competition to keep prices low. We will cap the average duel fuel household energy bill remains below £1000 per year, and introduce public sector energy competitors to keep the market honest.

In February 2016:

she co-founded Grassroots Out, a pro-Brexit campaign group supported by Ukip, David Davis and Liam Fox along with prominent climate science denier Sammy Wilson.

Repetition apparently makes the case more serious.

In April 2016 she, along with Arron Banks, travelled to the USA and their:

agenda also included meetings with the Atlantic Council, the American Foreign Policy Center and US-based think tanks known for spreading climate disinformation the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute. Meetings with the US Treasury Department and the Department of State were also organised.

I assume the last two meetings were acceptable. Clearly meeting diverse groups of people with differing political views is problematic.

Perhaps most shocking of all (and even I think this might have been a mistake) in May 2017:

Astrophysicist and climate science denier Piers Corbyn, who regularly speaks at climate science denial events, was pictured campaigning alongside Hoey in Vauxhall.

In February 2018:

Hoey declared that the Good Friday Agreement which secured peace in Northern Ireland was “unsustainable” prompting backlash from Ireland’s deputy prime minister Simon Coveney.

Similar comments were previously made by climate science denier Tory MP Owen Paterson and hardline Brexiteer Daniel Hannan.

Also, in July 2018:

Hoey was one of three Labour MPs (including Frank Field, climate science denier Graham Stringer as well as suspended MP Kelvin Hopkins) to vote with the government and narrowly avoid a major defeat for Theresa May over the Brexit Customs Bill.

And in that same month, what followed was obviously utterly unforgivable:

She backed an amendment to the bill which would force the government to agree to commit to never having a border in the Irish Sea — against an EU proposal to allow Northern Ireland to remain in the customs union.

The amendment was signed by DUP MP and climate science denier Sammy Wilson [boy, do the people at DeSmog dislike Sammy Wilson], Tory MP and adviser to the climate science denial group the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Owen Paterson, Tory MP and former chairman of the Northern Ireland select committee Laurence Roberston, and Conservative MPs Martin Vickers and William Wragg.

Hours before the vote in the Commons,Hoey and Frank Field were pictured [the horror!] speaking to the hardline Brexiteer and former Brexit junior minister Steve Baker, also a member of the European Research Group, a publicly-funded Tory research group aiming to ensure a hard Brexit is not compromised.

You would think she might have learned a lesson!

Ben Pile, once of Cliscep, also features. Ben is a busy boy, and so the section devoted to him is replete with many entries, too many to cite here. And whilst Ben doesn’t shy away from controversy, and I certainly don’t agree with everything he says and does, can anyone tell me what’s wrong with this?

Pile wrote an article for Spiked which criticised the government’s plan for a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, stating: “It is big on hyperbole, setting bizarre, unrealistic goals, while short on detail of how to reach them.”

Characterising net zero decarbonisation as undemocratic and expensive, Pile wrote: “The UK climate agenda, despite being three decades old and having faced zero political opposition, lacks anything resembling popular support or democratic legitimacy,” adding: “It is dependent on technology that does not yet exist or is not yet proven to be economically viable.” He also claimed it was “inevitable” that net zero policy would result in “a reduction in most people’s living standards and quality of life”.

Or this?

Pile wrote a report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation asserting that the UK’s climate assembly, a group assembled from UK citizens to discuss responses to climate change, was an antidemocratic imposition by green policymakers lacking a democratic mandate. He stated: “the Assembly was convened by political campaigning and lobbying groups, funded by special interests. Its composition did not reflect that of the broader public.”

Or this?

In a video on his YouTube channel “Climate Resistance,” Pile characterised Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s 10-point plan for a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ as “the most expensive political project in history,” stating “it will cost the public many trillions of pounds. Domestic gas boilers will be abolished, and homes will need to be retrofitted to make them compliant with new legislation, costing each household tens or possibly hundreds of thousands of pounds over the coming decades.”

Pile disputed the cost implications of Johnson’s plan, stating: “It [the plan] will increase the cost of energy and other utilities, increase the cost of living and increase the prices of other goods and services.”

Pile continued: “If this radical agenda, which is highly dependent on expensive, uncosted and unproven technology, goes wrong, it could plunge Britain into an endless economic depression.”

By the way, that last segment was dated 7th December 2020. It’s starting to look prescient. Hall of Shame or Hall of Fame?

What about this?

Pile produced and directed an anti-wind power campaign video called Lost Horizons, with the subtitle: “How the EU’s obsession with wind energy is destroying Britain’s coastlines and communities.”

Actually, I can see why that needs to be criticised – the obsession with wind energy isn’t confined to the EU, and I think it was wrong so to categorise it – the SNP in Scotland are, after all, even worse.

Remind me – how does DeSmog categorise this section of the website? Oh yes, that’s right:

Our research databases provide vital information on over 800 organizations and individuals responsible for spreading misinformation on a range of energy and science topics.

Hmmmm…..

20 Comments

  1. For the likes of DeSmog Blog, Ben Pile is the worst sort of denier.

    Not because he is high on denial, but because he has a tendency to investigate things and then make correct predictions. His explanation for the popularity of Green policies even with supposedly right wing politicians — because it makes them look forward thinking and stateman-like, without the bills arriving during their term in office — explains a lot of what we see around us.

    Piers Corbyn doesn’t bother the climate alarmists. His sort of ranting opposition-to-everything is rather good for them, really.

    Like

  2. If sceptics also kept a “climate disinformation” database, would the two databases have any overlap?

    I suspect not. I also suspect that the sceptics’ version would be greeted with horror by those who think nothing is amiss with the alarmists’ one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chester Draws:

    Piers Corbyn doesn’t bother the climate alarmists. His sort of ranting opposition-to-everything is rather good for them, really.

    I think it’s a very complex picture with Piers. I prefer Ben Pile, as you do. I suspect you’re right that so do the likes of DeSmogFog. When ex-environmentalist and relative youngster Marijn Poels made his film The Uncertainty Has Settled (now free to view on YouTube and rather good) the GWPF put on a showing in May 2017, followed by questions for the director. He interviewed two people at length: Corbyn and Freeman Dyson. Two completely different levels of credibility there, for me, as I said to Benny Peiser afterwards, who promptly invited me to dinner with Poels, Josh the cartoonist and a couple of others. (The partial transcript of the conversion with Dyson was only put up in March 2019.)

    But Piers has some strengths. I thought his verdict on Donald Trump in the Daily Express in October 2020 was very balanced:

    Asked about which policies had won him over, Mr Corbyn praised Mr Trump’s commitment to jobs as well as him becoming the first US President not to start a war in over 30 years.

    It wasn’t unconditional Trumpism but two very good reasons to support the man, in my view, with the first highly congruent with all of our concerns as climate policy sceptics. So I choose not to write Piers Corbyn off. But then I don’t like writing people off generally. I’m currently reading Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland’s amazing new book The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World. It’s superb. Yet there may be areas of the ‘climate crisis’ Freedland and I disagree about. To which I respond “So?”

    Like

  4. Richard, I went down this rabbit hole while following a link at Bishop Hill Unthreaded, where tomo had drawn attention to DeSmog’s section on Andrew Montford. Perhaps I should have included that in my article. However, once there, I was staggered by the number of people and organisations listed, and then I stumbled on Kate Hoey’s name. Even by the standards of alarmist websites, that just felt wrong, and so I investigated.

    It seems that it’s now standard practice in some quarters to try to silence debate by labelling those you disagree with as purveyors of mis- (or dis-) information – even when, as things turn out, they largely agree with you, or at least don’t disagree with you much. In Kate Hoey’s case, she has been put beyond the pale simply because of the company she has kept some of the time. Whatever happened to full and free debate, respect for the opinions of others, and – as you point out – being perfectly happy to disagree with much that someone else thinks or says, while still being able to enjoy and respect some of their other views and work?

    As for ex-President Trump, I think he debased the Presidency, and I could never have voted for him if I were a US citizen. That said, despite his faults (which in my opinion are legion) his instincts have been proved to be right, in my mind at least, by subsequent events, with regard to many important issues – I think his instincts have been spot-on regarding the need for energy security (and don’t those German establishment figures who ridiculed him when he pointed out the danger of Germany’s reliance on Russia for energy look pretty stupid now?); regarding Iran; regarding China and North Korea; and of course regarding the futility of the Paris Climate Agreement. And like you I give him full credit for starting no new wars, unlike most of his predecessors. I couldn’t vote for him, but I hope that unlike most of the establishment, I recognise a curate’s egg when I see one, and I don’t suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    Returning to DeSmog, they seem obsessively anti-Brexit, and see links between Brexit-supporters and “climate science deniers” everywhere they look. Perhaps that is why Kate Hoey features in their hall of shame. This might be worth a read:

    https://www.desmog.com/2022/03/18/mapped-how-the-net-zero-backlash-is-tied-to-climate-denial-and-brexit/

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The section on Andrew Montford is also well worth a read.

    https://www.desmog.com/andrew-montford/

    I can’t see how most, if not all, of it could be regarded as objectionable by anyone other than a climate zealot. This section appears without any apparent sense of irony:

    “Montford was invited onto BBC Scotland’s “Nine” news programme on the day of a global climate strike by school students. The move led to green groups refusing to appear on the show and the segment was eventually cancelled.”

    As for this – how shocking!

    “Stance on Climate Change
    April 4, 2010

    “I believe that CO2, other things being equal, will make the planet warmer. The six million dollar question is how much warmer. I’m less of a sceptic than people think. My gut feeling is still sceptical but I don’t believe it’s beyond the realms of possibility that the AGW hypothesis might be correct. It’s more the case that we don’t know and I haven’t seen anything credible to persuade me there’s a problem.””

    Such thoughts obviously put him beyond the pale, and make him a climate misinformation person.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This was one of those very good Cliscep threads which got eclipsed by another closely following and closely related: John’s How to Become an Überdogg. But I was reminded of the original this week and I’ll tell you how, because it has everything to do with guilt – and maybe enlightenment – by association.

    As Boris Johnson got into trouble earlier in the week, triggered by his lying about former whip Chris Pincher as well as Private Eye’s revelations of what he’d got up to with his then-mistress in his office as foreign secretary, I was impressed by the statements of Tory MP George Freeman. So I looked back to the time Boris had sacked Freeman, in his first reshuffle, in February 2020, and found this

    Then, next to a tweet mentioning Freeman, I found another, by somebody coming from a very different political stance: Emma Hilton. I’d been excited to meet Emma, a developmental biologist, in June 2019, having got to know and appreciate her on Twitter – see her most famous and hilarious series of tweets turned into a web page, From humans to asparagus, females are females. I bowled up to her after the excellent meeting in Westminster that month on women’s sports and the strident trans demands to be included, a subject that’s still live and kicking. Here she is on YouTube at that event: A Woman’s Place is on the Podium. And she remembered me. All good. So far.

    Emma Hilton’s star was rising and rightly so. So in February the Wall Street Journal published a op-ed on the issue by her and Colin Wright, an evolutionary biologist and journalist. And that garnered praise from folks in America with whom Emma strongly disagreed politically. She was deeply troubled by the guilt by association that was coming her way from the trans lobby and new left generally. So she tweeted something. And the next day apologised for it. And it was that last bit that I really liked. Throw the guilt by association garbage where it belongs.

    Read and learn DeSmog. And many others.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. That story about a gender critical scientist and feminist, one of integrity and humility, seemed handy at a time that all of us climate sceptics interested in who should be the next UK prime minister are going to have to compromise. We now know that our favourite Tory MP, Steve Baker, isn’t going to stand but has endorsed 42-year-old Attorney General Suella Braverman. What a good surname that is, given our predicament.

    The mantra that Braverman, and everyone standing (that I have noticed, anyway), has repeated is that Boris Johnson has got it 100% right in his response to the Ukraine conflict. And, here’s the surprising thing: even many of his greatest critics, in the media, on the Left and in the furious Remoaner remnant, have pretty much agreed. Something to be proud about as Brits at last? Dominic Cummings apparently didn’t think so on 11th May:

    And … the media is overwhelmingly cheering this total shitshow … ‘say what you want about Biden and Boris they’ve played a blinder on Ukraine…!’

    > Pundits one minute: Haha Boris is such a useless clown he can’t do the simplest thing without fucking up.

    > Pundits the next minute: Boris is doing a cracking job on ramping up war, but why isn’t he escalating even more, it’s only nukes, Putin’s bluffing, don’t live in fear!

    Even when the consequences are 100s of Auschwitz’s in an afternoon then many more Auschwitz’s as millions more die from poisoning and starvation, there is practically no cognitive dissonance over these incommensurable judgements…

    https://dominiccummings.substack.com/p/snippets-4-and-ama-1200-13-may-hundreds (paywalled)

    Because I agree with Cummings on this I know I’m going to have to compromise. And hope the worst case doesn’t come about. And that the new leader has tremendous insight and courage in the heat of having to make such decisions.

    You may have other opinions than mine. But you won’t get exactly what you want from the new UK prime minister either. It’s the reason some people turn to prayer. The annual parliamentery prayer breakfast was in the morning of Wednesday 6th July, by the way. Later in the day, in his blockbuster resignation speech, that got the ball rolling, Sajid Javid quoted from Les Isaac, the speaker that morning and founder of Street Pastors – someone I’m very familiar with and admire greatly. As John would argue, I’m sure, causation is hard to prove in such cases. But I have my suspicions.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Every time the MSM starts making a fuss about §elections for PM, etc I’m reminded of Douglas Adams:

    “The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.

    To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.

    To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Richard, as regards Suella Braverman, I read this today:

    “In order to deal with the energy crisis we need to suspend the all-consuming desire to achieve net zero by 2050. If we keep it up, especially before businesses and families can adjust, our economy will end up with net zero growth. We don’t want to end up like the Germans, going cap in hand to Putin for heating and power.”

    https://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/1637704/suella-braverman-conservative-party-leadership-boris-johnson-resignation-attorney-general

    Like

  10. So, both Braverman and Badenoch have made it through the first stage – which I for one consider good news! But I’ve only just noticed this tweet from last night, which I found striking.

    Because it was Sharron Davies who was the lead speaker at that event on womens sports in June 2019 at which Emma Hilton also spoke, as mentioned above.

    Of course somebody pseudonymous with just 23 followers had to have a go playing the race card against the Tories but got short shrift.

    Good point. And look at the beautiful balance of the eight candidates remaining. Four women, four men. Four white, four non-white. But for me, like Davies, Kemi is the pick of the bunch.

    Like

  11. DeSmog’s take on the Tory leadership candidates:

    “Kemi Badenoch Gifted Tory Gala Ticket by Climate Denial Funder
    Suella Braverman, Penny Mordaunt and Jeremy Hunt are also among Conservative party leadership candidates with direct or indirect links to the Global Warming Policy Foundation.”

    https://www.desmog.com/2022/07/13/kemi-badenoch-gifted-tory-gala-ticket-by-climate-denial-funder/

    How shocking is this?

    “Badenoch is one of the most outspoken critics of the UK’s 2050 net zero target in the leadership contest, calling it “unilateral economic disarmament”. She maintains “it was wrong of us to set a target without having a clear plan of the cost and knowing what it would entail”.

    She claims to “believe in climate change” but said “there is a better way of going about these things.””

    How curious is this?

    “Ed Miliband MP, Labour’s Shadow Climate Change and Net Zero Secretary, told DeSmog: “Any Conservative leadership candidate engaging in climate denial or taking money from climate deniers must explain to the British people why they oppose action that will cut energy bills and deliver energy security for our country.””

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Mark – from your DeSmog link

    “March 7–10, 2019
    Truss spoke at the “World Forum” of the American Enterprise Institute, one of the richest think tanks in the U.S with a history of climate science denial. According to the Parliament’s Register of Members’ Financial Interests, the AEI spent over £8,200 on expenses for Truss to attend the event.60”
    so I had a look at ref 60.

    1st up was (i’ll just give the money & info if relevant)
    Abbott, Ms Diane
    £100 from the Guardian
    £2,000 Donor status: trade union
    £2,000 Name of donor: Mahir Kilic
    International Flights £1,586.50; (2) accommodation £292.74; transport £215.19; total £507.93
    Destination of visit: Beijing, China
    Dates of visit: 28 July – 2 August 2019
    Purpose of visit: to participate in the 2019 Young Leaders Roundtable and to build
    UK-China understanding and partnership on environment and climate change
    issues.

    can’t be bothered to read the rest, but found it strange that accommodation cost £292.74 but transport £215.19 !!!

    Like

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