Liberty Institute

Liberty Institute (India)

Background

The Liberty Institute is a free market think tank located in New Delhi, India. Founded in 1996, it describes itself as “dedicated to empowering the people by harnessing the power of the market.” and it seeks to “build understanding and appreciation of the four institutional pillars of a free society – Individual Rights, Rule of Law, Limited Government and Free Market.” [1]

The Liberty Institute's website, LibertyIndia.org, was last updated in 2004 and it is unclear if the group is still active. A WHOIS report shows that the website registration was last updated in June of 2013. [2]

The Liberty Institute claims to conduct research and advocacy on public policy issues and its areas of interest include development economics, education, environment, health, security, and trade. It also organizes conferences and has a “growing publications programme.” 

LI has been criticized by environmental groups including Climate Revolution for claiming that passive smoking isn't harmful and for “being employed by oil companies to question climate change.” [3]

According to the Institute's original website, “Although the socialist empire has collapsed, many of us think that the intellectual and ethical attractions of the socialist ideal have remained strong.” [1]

In an interview with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, LI president Barun Mitra says that the Atlas Network that inspired him to start his own think tank and “the seeds of Liberty Institute were planted in late 1995, early 1996.” According to Mitra, Atlas was “instrumental” in getting the Liberty Institute started: “first with intellictual inputs and incentives, and then seed funds and organizational support.” [4]

Stance on Climate Change

“Some people insist that 'renewable energy' and 'sustainable development' must be the future for Third World countries,” says Barun Mitra, president of the Liberty Institute in Delhi, India. “But poor people need sustained development – not sustainable development. They need to protect their families from real, immediate, life-threatening risks – instead of being condemned to squalor and premature death, to address distant, hypothetical dangers like global warming.” [12]

“The climate always changes. The issue is whether it is man induced, anthropogenic global warming or it is a natural cycle of various factors from solar cycles to the ocean temperatures. I think the issue is not so much the science. I think the fundamental problem is the tendency to use science for a particular policy outcome. I think the science is never and answer… . Science cannot give us an answer on anything.” [5]

Funding

According to their original website, The Liberty Institute “solicits the support of all freedom loving individuals and organizations. It does not accept funding from governmental agencies.”  It does not list details on those donors. [1]

Key People

The following people were are listed on the Liberty Institute's website (which has not been updated since 2004): [1]

Board of Trustees

  • Mohit Satyanand — Chairman
  • V.S.P. Kurup
  • Anil Patel
  • Sundar Daniel
  • Tanmayee Dass
  • K. Jaisim
  • Barun S. Mitra — Managing Trustee, President

Board of Advisors

  • Vikram Bajaj — Managing Director, Uncle Chipps Company, India.
  • Gurcharan Das — Author, management consultant, Chairman of the Advisory Board, Citibank India, and former CEO of Procter & Gamble, India,
  • J. J. Dutta IFS (retd.), former Chief Wildlife Warden of the Government of Madhya Pradesh, India.
  • Deepak Lal — James S. Coleman Professor of International Development Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA.
  • Tibor R. Machan — Distinguished Fellow and Professor, Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics, School of Business and Economics, Chapman University, California, USA.
  • Rita Simon — American University, Washington, DC, USA.
  • Rakesh Wadhwa — Executive Director, Casino Everest, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Actions

LI Climate Conferences

The Liberty Institute hosts its own conferences on climate change in India “bringing together scholars to dispassionately discuss the various facets of climate science, science policy, and the various economic policy options.” [6]

For example, in February, 2011, the Institute hosted a conference titled “The Unsettled Science Of Global Warming: Where Do We Go From Here” by Indian climate change skeptic Madhav Khandekar.

The conference description said the event “will survey the global warming science and will highlight several uncertainties in the science” and “present an alternative approach of a simple adaptation strategy to 'combat' future climate change.” [7]

May 21 - 23, 2012

The Liberty Institute is listed as a co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute's 7th International Conference on Climate Change. [8]

June 30 - July 1, 2011

The Liberty Institute was a co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute's Sixth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC6) in Washington, DC. [9]

2011

The Liberty Institute helped publish the Heartland Institute's 2011 NIPCC report in India.

According to their website, “Over the past year, Liberty Institute, with the support of the Heartland Institute, printed the NIPCC report in India, for wider dissemination.” [6]

March 8 - 10, 2009

The Liberty Institute was a co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute's Second International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC2) in New York. [10]
 
DeSmogBlog researched the funding behind the conference's sponsors and found that sponsor organizations had received over $47 million in funding from energy companies and right-wing foundations, with 78% of that total coming from Scaife Family foundations. [13]

April, 2008

In April 2008, The Liberty Institute partnered with the UK based Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change to launch “Civil Society Report on Climate Change” in New Delhi which criticised the IPCC and argued that climate change wasn't a big problem. [3]

2005

Barun Mitra, President of the Liberty Institute, joined the Atlas Network for the “5th Annual Liberty Forum” in Miami, Florida to receive the Julian L. Simon Award from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI)

Mitra says that it was Julian Simon who first introduced him to Atlas, and gave him the idea to start his own think tank. “So that is how the seeds of Liberty Institute were planted in late 1995, early 1996,” he said. According to Mitra, Atlas was “instrumental” in getting the Liberty Institute started: “first with intellectual inputs and incentives, and then seed funds and organizational support.” [4]

Liberty Institute Contact & Location

Liberty Institute [1]
Julian L. Simon Centre
C-2/13, Sahyadri, Plot 5, Sector 12
Dwarka, New Delhi 110 078 
 India

Tel: 91-11- 45665193
Telefax: 91-11-28031309
Email: [email protected] 
Web sites: www.InDefenceofLiberty.org | www.EmpoweringIndia.org

Related Organizations

The Liberty Institute is a member of the Cooler Heads Coalition, a group that openly disputes man-made climate change. [11]

The Liberty Institute was a member of the Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change, a group founded by the International Policy Network (IPN).  It is unclear of the Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change is still active, as their website is no longer live. [3]

The following “Liberty Partners” were listed on the Liberty Institute's website in 2012. (They no longer list partners on their current website).:

Resources

  1. Liberty Institute Mission & Vision,” Libertyindia.org.  Archived October 23, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6cV3iE6DO

  2. Whois Record for LibertyIndia.org,” DomainTools. Accessed October 23, 2015. 

  3. (Press Release). “Climate change deniers spreading misinformation: Environmental groups,” Sanjay Kumar (ANI), June 18, 2011. Archived October 23, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6cV7XvNEd

  4. Liberty Institute (India): One-on-one with Barun Mitra, President” (PDF), Competitive Enterprise Institute, July 12, 2005. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  5. “Is Climate Change Real?” Transcript from “Face The Nation” with Sagarika Ghose. Reproduced by the Liberty Institute, January 20, 2010. *No longer available on live web.

  6. Challenging Climate: Exploring the intellectual climate surrounding the planet's climate,” Liberty Institute, India, March 22, 2012. Cached on Google, October 4, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  7. The Unsettled Science Of Global Warming: Where Do We Go From Here,” Liberty Institute, February 15, 2011. Cached on Google, August 8, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  8. Cosponsors,” 7th International Conference on Climate Change. Archived May 10, 2012.

  9. Sixth International Conference on Climate Change Conference Program (PDF), the Heartland Institute. Archived July 25, 2015.

  10. Co-Sponsors,” The 2009 International Conference on Climate Change. Archived April 28, 2011.

  11. About,” GlobalWarming.org. Archived October 24, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6cVQaF6uM

  12. Roy W. Spencer, Paul K. Driessen, and E. Calvin Beisner. “An Examination of the Scientific, Ethical and Theological Implications of Climate Change Policy” (PDF), Interfaith Stewardship Alliance, 2005. Archived .pdf on file at DesmogBlog.

  13. Heartland Institute's 2009 Climate Conference in New York: funding history of the sponsors,” DeSmogBlog.

Other Resources