National Conservatism’s climate deniers 

May 17, 2023

By Philip Pearson

The Tories National Conservatism gathering in London (May 15 2023), with its shivering echoes of National Socialism, brings together a high-level platform of global warming deniers and sceptics drawn from the heart of this government, its cabinet and the media.

As DeSmog points out, the NatCon conference is organised by the US-based think tank the Edmund Burke Foundation, aiming for a ‘revival’ of a political philosophy based on ‘national identity and culture’ alongside ‘god and country’.

A lack of leadership is preventing the UK from making essential investment to prepare the UK for climate change, according to the government’s independent advisers, as Rishi Sunak pursues new fossil fuel extraction Energy and climate policy are oddly absent from the agenda, but many of the speakers and their parent organisations have a record of hostility to climate action, a scepticism of climate science, and interests in fossil fuels.

So here’s a who’s who of key speakers:

  • Keynote Home Secretary Suella Braverman MP, who last year promised vowing to suspend the ‘all-consuming desire to achieve Net Zero by 2050’.
  • Participating Conservative peer David Frost, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), founded by former Conservative Chancellor Nigel Lawson, the UK’s most prominent climate science denial group. 
  • Lee Anderson, Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party, who has claimedthat people are ‘sick to death’ of net zero.
  • Former Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, pro-fracking, who has said that taking action on climate change is ‘unrealistic because ‘it would have no effect for hundreds or possibly a thousand years.’
  • Speaker and Conservative MP John Hayes, former energy minister, whio according to Open Democracy, received £150,000 between 2018 and 2020 from Lebanon-based oil company BB Energy for work as a “strategic advisor”.
  • Tory MP Miriam Cates, who used her speech to claim that ‘epidemic levels of anxiety and confusion’ among young people are being caused by ‘culture, schools and universities’ teaching that ‘our country is racist, our heroes are villains, [and] humanity is killing the Earth.’

The London conference hosts other British speakers who have refuted the scientific consensus on climate change in recent years.

Keynote speaker Douglas Murray, Associate Editor at The Spectator, argued in 2020 that ‘terrible policy decisions’ were being made due to ‘the false belief that we are seeing an increase in catastrophic weather events.’

Speaker Melanie Phillips, a regular contributor to the Daily Mail, The Spectator wrote in The Times in 2022 that ‘there is no evidence that anything is happening to the world’s climate that lies outside historic fluctuations.’ 

The Edmund Burke Foundation, which has organised the conferences since 2021, is a US think tank founded in 2019 under the founding principle that “public life should be rooted in Christianity and its moral vision, which should be honoured by the state and other institutions both public and private.” 

The conference chairman Christopher DeMuth, is tied to a number of think tanks that have opposed climate action. He served as president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) from 1986 to 2006, a wealthy and influential conservative think tank whose representatives have consistently cast doubt on humanity’s contribution to climate change. 

In 2001, DeMuth wrote in the AEI’s Energy Crunch publication that ‘The Kyoto Treaty Deserved to Die’, and cast doubt on climate science. ‘Whatever the causes, we don’t know if future warming trends will be large or small, or whether the net environmental and economic consequences (including both beneficial and harmful effects) may be large or small. . 

But, as DeSmog points out, a study published in 2021, which reviewed over 3,000 scientific papers, found that over 99 percent of climate science literature says that global warming is caused by human activity.

With thanks to DeSmog: