julian morris

How an ExxonMobil-Funded Think Tank Took Over a Scientific Journal

This epic history series post reveals how the ExxonMobil-funded International Policy Network think tank took over a scientific publication as “guest editor”.

The real coup de grâce for Julian Morris came in 2005, when he persuaded his friend and fellow sceptic, Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, (pictured) to allow staff at his UK think tank, the International Policy Network (IPN) to “guest edit” her Energy and Environment journal.

This was startling: a free market think tank, funded by an oil company that was actively engaged in attacking climate science to protect its own financial interests, had taken over a scientific publication.

That Time When an International Free Market Think Tank Attacked The Kyoto Protocol

This DeSmog UK epic history post looks at how Julian Morris’s free market think tank spread its influence in its attack on the Kyoto Protocol.

The free marketeer, Julian Morris, and his team at his International Policy Network (IPN) think tank continued to lead the charge against climate science in the autumn of 2003 – all the while secretly receiving generous funding from ExxonMobil.

In October 2003, Morris unleashed a vitriolic attack on the Kyoto Protocol along the familiar theme that the restrictions on fossil fuels would strangle economic growth.

How the Free Market Friendship Between Julian Morris and Roger Bate Came to an End

This DeSmog UK epic history post recalls the falling out between long-term friends and free marketeers Julian Morris and Roger Bate.

The free market International Policy Network (IPN) was launched amid much fanfare in 2001 with Julian Morris and Roger Bate at the helm. Almost immediately John Blundell, the director of the Institute of Economic Affairs and IPN board member closed down the Environment Unit.

The war against climate science was about to embark on a new journey, with a purpose built think tank ready to take to the front line. The IPN would try and convince the world that free market economics - and climate denial - were in the interests of the poorest people and the most impoverished countries.

The IPN tried at first to keep its funding from ExxonMobil and British American Tobacco secret, fearing journalists would not take them seriously if the vested interests of their financial backers were known. And it was only a few years before Morris and Bate apparently fell out - with Bate being the first of the three men to leave for the United States.

Morris and Bate were long-term friends and started a company together, and were known to most people in the sceptic community as a brilliant double act. 

How Julian Morris Led the British Charge Against Climate Science in 2003

Our latest DeSmog UK epic history series post looks at Julian Morris’s ExxonMobil-funded, climate sceptic publication Adapt or Die.

Julian Morris, the president and founder of the International Policy Network (IPN), was leading the British charge against climate science and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2003.

The London-based free market think tank published Adapt or Die: The Science, Politics and Economics of Climate Change just in time for the climate negotiations at the Conference of the Parties (COP) summit held in Milan in December.

Adapt or Die was a veritable directory of climate sceptics from both the UK and the US.

Who Was Responsible For Thatcher's Climate Change U-Turn?

This DeSmog UK epic history series post investigates the dramatic U-turn taken by the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher from environmental advocate to climate change sceptic.

The climate denier's greatest success during the early 2000s was the apparent conversion of Margaret Thatcher, from the climate cause she so forcefully and eloquently championed as the British prime minister between 1975 and 1990, to a loyal sentry guard for the sceptic cause.

Thatcher published her autobiography Statecraft in 2002, shortly before she stepped out of the limelight due to her failing health. The autobiography included a long passage in which she renounced her former beliefs and even revised the meaning of her original 1990 address.

How a Tobacco-Funded Think Tank Recruited Scientists in the Attack Against Climate Change

The DeSmog UK epic history series continues with the first in a double-bill feature on how the European Science and Environment Forum joined the sceptics’ vitriolic attack on climate science.

Roger Bate, head of the Environment Unit at the free market think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), was an extremely energetic man.  

Not only did Bate (pictured) help to organise the first major climate denial conference in Britain, hosted by the IEA in 1995, but he also established his own think tank, the European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF), by turning the contacts he made into funders and contributors.

You Will Never Guess Who Was Really Behind Britain's First Climate Denial Propaganda...

A humble pamphlet is the subject of DeSmog UK’s latest instalment in its history series. This pamphlet would prove critical in the relentless critique of climate science.

Julian Morris, research fellow at the Atlas Foundation – a libertarian think tank founded by Antony Fisher – started work on the infamous pamphlet Global Warming: Apocalypse or Hot Air? in 1994.

Along with Roger Bate of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in London, the two co-authored the humble red pamphlet that would prove instrumental in attacking the science of climate change.

This Is The Exact Moment An Oil and Tobacco Funded Think Tank Imported Climate Denial To Britain...

The DeSmog UK epic history series investigates how Thatcherite John Blundell challenged the young Roger Bate to set up an Environment Unit within free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Future historians interested in establishing how Britain became a chief cheerleader of scepticism only 30 years after Thatcher led the world on climate change science and policy will have to begin on the morning of 1 January 1993.

It all began at the offices of the free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Lord North Street (pictured). Here, historians will discover that it was John Blundell, a diehard Thatcherite and the IEA’s new director general, who undid this part of Thatcher’s legacy.

Almost as soon as he arrived in Westminster to head up the IEA, Blundell called the young, erudite Roger Bate into his new office and “challenged” him to establish a new Environment Unit within the institute.

Mont Pelerin Society A Window Into Ideological Heart Of Kochtopus Climate Denial

It’s known as the Kochtopus – the extensive network of think tanks, institutes, university departments, political funding arms and “grassroots” activist groups funded by oil billionaires Charles and David Koch.

The multi-tentacled network has pumped tens of millions of dollars into groups that deny the risks of human-caused climate change.

But if it is Koch cash that helps fuel these groups, then what is it that fuels the Koch brothers themselves beyond the obvious financial interest?

As DeSmogBlog has revealed, Charles Koch is a long-standing member of the Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) – a global group of industrialists, academics and economists who share the “neoliberal” ideology of limiting government control.

If the Koch network has many groups dangling from its tentacles, then Charles Koch’s membership with the Mont Pelerin Society provides a window into the ideological heart of the Kochtopus.

DeSmogBlog today publishes the global membership directory of the Mont Pelerin Society as it was in 2010, with all personal contact details redacted.

Exclusive: Mont Pelerin Society Revealed As Home To Leading Pushers Of Climate Science Denial

THERE’S a popular talking point coming from climate change denialists that all people who accept the science and the need to act on it are somehow blinded by faith.

In Australia, climate science contrarian columnists can barely touch their keyboards without typing out the words “global warming faith” or explaining how human-caused global warming is some sort of “new religion”.

This “climate religion” narrative often goes hand-in-hand with another favourite denialist talking point where climate scientists are only doing what they do because there’s a dollar in it.

Presumably the laws of physics, the melting ice sheets, the increasing risk of bushfires, the hottest decades on record and the acidifying oceans are also waiting for their cash.

Maurice Newman, the man hand-picked by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to be the government’s top business advisor, loves both of these debating points.

Newman has described climate scientists as being a “global warming priesthood” and belonging to a new “religion”. In a second opinion column in two weeks in The Australian, Newman repeats his cynicism over the IPCC and climate scientists, describing them as a “cartel” that “will deny all contrary evidence”.  Newman even repeats the myth that in the 1970s scientists were certain the world was heading for global cooling, when in fact, as this study shows, a healthy majority of scientific papers were predicting the opposite. 

Yet Newman has a deep belief system of his own, having long been associated with a form of “classic liberalism” – a particular world view which advocates small government and low regulation of the activities of businesses.

Not only that, but he is a member of a global society of influential business people, academics and think tank associates known as the Mont Pelerin Society who share the same broad ideology.

The Mont Pelerin Society

The Mont Pelerin Society was established in 1947 by free market economist and philosopher Friedrich von Hayek.

Maurice Newman, a Mont Pelerin member since 1976, has long been an admirer of the work of Hayek and fellow free market economist Milton Friedman, a past president of the Mont Pelerin Society.

Newman was responsible for bringing Friedman to Australia in the mid-1970s, at a time when Newman was helping to set up the Centre for Independent Studies – a Sydney-based free market think tank.

Mont Pelerin’s website explains that while all members don’t agree on everything, “they see danger in the expansion of government, not least in state welfare, in the power of trade unions and business monopoly, and in the continuing threat and reality of inflation.”

The Society, which holds a meeting annually in different parts of the world, also explains how its members see their society “as an effort to interpret in modern terms the fundamental principles of economic society as expressed by those classical economists, political scientists, and philosophers who have inspired many in Europe, America and throughout the Western World.”

To become a member, individuals have to be nominated by a current member and then seek endorsement by the membership committee before being endorsed. 

DeSmogBlog has obtained a full list of the society’s members that includes senior representatives of many of the world’s foremost “free market” think tanks actively pushing back on proposed policy solutions to tackle climate change.

The list, from 2010, includes almost 500 people from 52 countries, with the bulk of members coming from the United States and the United Kingdom. The 70-page list includes private contact details. DeSmogBlog has decided to publish only extracts with contact details redacted.

Among the notable members is Charles Koch (list excerpt here), the US oil billionaire who has been a Mont Pelerin Society member since 1970.

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