Hall Of Shame or Hall of Fame?

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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 FoundationOwen 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.


via Climate Scepticism

July 1, 2022

Hall Of Shame Or Hall Of Fame? – Climate Scepticism (cliscep.com)