Nigel Lawson

Nigel Lawson

Credentials

Background

Nigel Lawson, named Lord Lawson of Blaby, has spent the majority of his professional career involved in British politics and journalism. In the early 1960s and 70s, Lawson served as an Editor or columnist for a number of newspapers including The Financial Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Spectator, The Evening Standard, and The Times[3]

In 1974, Lawson was elected a member of parliament for the Conservative party where he held a seat until 1992. As a member of parliament, Lawson was eventually named Chancellor of the Exchequer—the highest economic and financial position in the British government—by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Lawson held this position from 1983-1989. [3]

Currently, Lawson contributes guest columns to world newspapers. He is the founder of The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a think-tank skeptical of the science behind anthropogenic (man-made) global warming as well as the policies that are being implemented to curb climate change. Even though Lawson has no professional credentials in the area of climate change, he has often been described as an “expert” by the media. [4]

According to an interview conducted by The Telegraph in 2008, Lawson states he did not develop an informed interest in climate change until 2005 when he took part in a government committee exploring the economic factors involved in global warming. [5]

Climate skepticism runs deep in the Lawson family. His son Dominic Lawson is a journalist for the British newspaper The Independent. Dominic Lawson has used his columns to question the science behind climate change and criticize the IPCC. Dominic Lawson is married to Rosa Monckton, the sister of the infamous climate denier Christopher Monckton. [6]

Stance on Climate Change

September, 2016

“I don't question for a moment that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and that, all things being equal, this will lead to warming of the atmosphere. And that it's true that scientists differ greatly on how big the effect is, but there is huge agreement that there is some effect. 

But we account for less than two percent of global carbon emissions. And so it is crazy for us–we can't do anything on our own–and if the rest of the world […] is not going to go down this route […] it's not doing any good. 

I have long since come to the conclusion […] that [climate change] is an economic issue. […] My judgement is the most cost-effective way of dealing with it is though adaptation, and I believe that is perfectly do-able.” [7]

2008

“Lawson agrees that there has been some global warming over the past hundred years and that increased man-made emissions of carbon dioxide are partly to blame. But he argues that natural causes are more important than commonly agreed and that the science of climate remains in its infancy.” [8]

Key Quotes

“Gradual and moderate warming brings benefits as well as incurring costs. These benefits and costs will not, of course, be felt uniformly throughout the world; the colder regions of the world will be more affected by the benefits, and the hotter regions by the costs. 

“But overall, it is far from clear that the inhabitants of the planet as a whole would suffer a significant net cost, or indeed any cost at all.” [5]

Key Deeds

May, 2016

Lord John Krebs and a number of other scientists wrote an open letter to the editor of The Times, suggesting the paper has been influenced by Nigel Lawson's Global Warming Policy Foundation. [9]

“Two aspects are particularly concerning,” the letter to the editor reads. “The first is that neither the quality bar that broadsheet newspapers regularly apply to scientific evidence, nor the simple concept of balance, appear to exist in all of your paper’s reporting on climate change (although we note, for example, that your coverage at the close of the Paris climate summit was both balanced and comprehensive). The second concern is that many of the sub-standard news stories and opinion pieces appear to concern, in some way, GWPF. Whether any newspaper should involve itself repeatedly with any pressure group is a matter for debate; it would be deeply perturbing to find that a paper as eminent as The Times could allow a small NGO, particularly one whose sources of financing are unknown, a high degree of influence.”[9]

Lord Krebs notes that their open letter was particularly a response to two articles in The Times, “one saying global warming isn't happening, quoting an un-refereed study by a professor of statistics, and another one saying that the oceans aren't getting more acid, reports in which the author was later quoted on the web as saying the article in The Times completely misrepresented his own scientific paper.”[9]

Audio of the interview between John Krebs and Robyn Williams below: [9]

February 3, 2016

Nigel Lawson was named chairman of the Vote Leave campaign, reports The Guardian. [10]

“Vote Leave is competing with the rival group Leave.EU to be designated as the official Brexit campaign by the Electoral Commission,” The Guardian reported. Mills said: “We are delighted that Lord Lawson has agreed to provide leadership to the board as we prepare for the start of the referendum campaign.” [10]

The Independent revealed that a number of inter-related groups, many with direct connections to the “Brexit” movement, all share a 55 Tufton Street address with the Global Warming Policy Foundation: [11]

  • Global Warming Policy  Foundation
  • Global Vision
  • The European Foundation
  • Civitas
  • Taxpayers’ Alliance
  • Business for Britain
  • Big Brother Watch
  • UK2020

DesmogUK tracked the connections between climate science deniers and those campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union, and created the interactive map below. [12]

(Zoom in and out to see the web of relationships between the residents of 55 Tufton Street and its neighbours. Hover over the lines to see the type of relationship between the two entities, and click on the person or organisation’s name to find out more (this will open up a new tab where you can find out more information about all of this entity’s various relationships and stance on climate change):

    December, 2014

    Nigel Lawson is a contributor to the book Climate Change: The Facts published by the Institute of Public Affairs and featuring “22 essays on the science, politics and economics of the climate change debate.” The Institute of Public Affairs, while not revealing most of its funders, is known to have received funding from mining magnate Gina Rinehart and at least one major tobacco company. [13]

    The book includes essays and articles from a range of climate change skeptics, with contributors including the following:

    According to Editor Alan Moran in a post at Catallaxy Files blog on Climate Change: the facts 2014, Nigel Lawson “[E]xplores the dire economic implications of trying to cease the use of fossil fuels. He also demonstrates the trivial effects of the warming that is predicted and discounts their claimed negative effects, noting that sci­entific developments mean we are far less hostage to climate shifts than in previous eras.” [14]

    July, 2014

    Nigel Lawson accused the BBC of silencing the debate on global warming. He wrote his criticisms in an article in the Daily Mail titled “'I've been banned by the BBC!': Ex-Chancellor Lord Lawson, a passionate climate change sceptic, accuses BBC bosses of silencing debate on global warming.

    In his article, Lawson wrote: “If there is to be a ban on non-scientists discussing climate change issues (which I do not, of course, support), this should in the best BBC tradition be an even-handed one. That is to say, they should also ban non-scientists such as energy secretary Ed Davey, Ed Miliband, Lord Deben (chairman of the government’s climate advisory committee), Lord Stern (former adviser to the government on the economics of climate change and development) and all the others who are regularly invited to appear.” [15]

    The Guardian reports how BBC rejected Lawson's claims that BBC had been silencing the global warming debate. The BBC statement read: [16]

    “Nigel Lawson has not been banned and nor is there a ban on non-scientists discussing climate change. We have also not apologised for putting him on air. The BBC is absolutely committed to impartial and balanced coverage, whatever the subject, and would not bow to pressure from any quarter whatever the story. This ruling found a false balance was created in that the item implied Lord Lawson’s views on climate science were on the same footing as those of Sir Brian Hoskins.
    “Our position continues to be that we accept that there is broad scientific agreement on climate change and we reflect this accordingly. We do however on occasion offer space to dissenting voices where appropriate as part of the BBC’s overall commitment to impartiality.”

    2009

    Nigel Lawson founded a climate-change think-tank, The Global Warming Policy Foundation where he currently serves as Chairman. [4]

    The GWPF's initial mission was “to bring reason, integrity and balance to a debate that has become seriously unbalanced, irrationally alarmist, and all too often depressingly intolerant.” [17]

    The GWPF's “Academic Advisory Council” is made up of a number of noted climate skeptics including Christopher Essex, Matt Ridley, Paul Reiter, Nir Shaviv, Philip Stott, Richard Tol, Benny Peiser (director), Freeman Dyson, Richard LindzenIan Plimer, and many others. [18], [19]

    Currently, Benny Peiser is the Director of the GWPF[19]

    Peiser has long opposed mainstream science's conclusions about anthropogenic global warming; in 2005 Peiser said he had data which refuted an article published in Science Magazine, claiming 100% of peer-reviewed research papers on climate change agreed with the scientific consensus of global warming.  Peiser later revealed he found only one paper that disagreed with the scientific consensus, and that paper was published by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. [20], [21]

    The GWPF chooses not to disclose its funding sources. However, it does state that does not “accept gifts from either energy companies or anyone with a significant interest in an energy company.” [4]

    March 8, 2007

    Lawson appeared on the Great Global Warming Swindle, a program broadcast on Channel 4 Television on March 8, 2007. According to Tyler Durkin, the writer and director of the program, “global warming is a hoax foisted upon an unsuspecting public by conspiratorial environmentalists.” [22]

    Channel 4 received over 265 complaints regarding the accuracy of Swindle, including complaints from The IPCC and Sir David King about how they were portrayed on the program. [23]

    Complaints included a 180+ page document (PDF) assembled by numerous writers, scientists, and two former chairs of the IPCC that accused the program of “displaying erroneous or artificially manipulated graphs, and presenting incorrect, misleading, or incomplete opinions and facts on the science of global warming and the related economics.” [24]

    The document accuses Nigel Lawson, who is quoted on the program as saying that “there is such intolerance of any dissenting voice” against mainstream views on global warming, of inflating his credentials when he is described as an “expert” on climate science issues.

    When Ofcom reviewed the complaints, they found that Channel 4 broke impartiality guidelines misrepresented statements by former British government scientist David King. Ofcom further found that the film unfairly treated the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and MIT professor Carl Wunsch. [23]

    Other “experts” who appeared on The Great Global Warming Swindle included Tim Ball, Ian Clark, Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer, Patrick Michaels and Fred Singer.

    December 21, 2006

    In 2006, Lawson contributed to the article “The Stern Review: A Dual Critique” (PDF) published in the journal, World Economics. The article critiqued the findings of The Stern Review on The Economics of Climate Change. [25]

    The Stern Review was a report commissioned by the British government, whose conclusions not only supported the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the science behind the theory of anthropogenic global warming, but also advocated immediate action to mitigate the serious global threat climate change poses. 

    Other authors of “The Stern Review: A Dual Critique” include the high profile climate skeptics Richard Lindzen, Ross McKitrick, Chris de Freitas and Bob Carter.

    July 27, 2005

    Lawson was a member of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Select Committee when it launched a skeptical report on climate change released to coincide with the 2005 G8 conference. [26]

    The report, titled “The Economics of Climate Change,” claims that there are “positive aspects to global warming” and describes how “the science of human-induced warming remains uncertain.” 

    It is also critical of the IPCC, describing the UN as being “influenced by political considerations” with regards to climate change science. The report is adamant that the Kyoto Protocol “will make little difference to future rates of warming.”

    Affiliations

    Publications

    According to a search of Google Scholar, Lawson has not published any work in the area of climate science. He is the author of Appeal to Reason : A cool look at global warming.

    Resources

    1. Nigel Lawson,” NNDP. Archived October 13, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/uyYmX

    2. Nigel Lawson profile: The eurosceptic leading the battle against Brussels,” Independent, October 2, 2015. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/i5Hfk

    3. Lord Lawson of Blaby,” www.parliament.uk. Archived October 13, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/AKk7x

    4. Who we are,” The Global Warming Policy Foundation. Archived October 13, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/X4Tut

    5. Christopher Booker. “Lord Lawson claims climate change hysteria heralds a 'new age of unreason',” The Telegraph, April 6, 2008. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/CUWcf

    6. Dominic Lawson: Fight climate change? Or stay competitive? I'm afraid these two aims are incompatible,” Independent, November 22, 2007. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/h4NHJ

    7. Britain’s leading climate change sceptic Nigel Lawson says global warming is real,” Independent, September 14, 2016. Archived October 13, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at desmog. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/4TwWE

    8. Allister Heath. “Pouring on Cold Water,” Literary Review, April, 2008. Archived July 23, 2011. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/86XJ7

    9. The Times accused of biased reporting, misrepresenting climate science,” ABC News, May 7, 2016. Archived September 19, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/VBzPW

    10. Nigel Lawson named chairman of Vote Leave campaign,” The Guardian, February 3, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/3Pr0I

    11. The address where Eurosceptics and climate change sceptics rub shoulders,” Independent, February 10, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Dp4D4

    12. Kyla Mandel. “Mapped: The Cosy Climate-Euro Sceptic Bubble Pushing for Brexit and Less Climate Action,” DesmogUK, June 13, 2106.

    13. Institute of Public Affairs,” SourceWatch. Accessed May 27, 2015.

    14. Alan Moran. “Climate Change: the facts 2014,” Catallaxy Files, December 16, 2014. Archived October 17, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/tCUVU

    15. Nigel Lawson. “'I've been banned by the BBC!': Ex-Chancellor Lord Lawson, a passionate climate change sceptic, accuses BBC bosses of silencing debate on global warming,” Daily Mail, July 9, 2014. Archived October 17, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/t6FLC

    16. Adam Vaughan. “BBC rejects claim that climate sceptic Lord Lawson is being silenced,” The Guardian, July 9, 2014. Archived October 17, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/15igw

    17. Who we are,” The Global Warming Policy Foundation. Archived March 28, 2010. Archive.is URL:  https://archive.is/2fdlm

    18. Academic Advisory Council,” The Global Warming Policy Foundation. Archived October 13, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/rDlCy

    19. Who we are: Dr. Benny Peiser,”The Global Warming Policy Foundation Archived October 13, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/3jDO9

    20. Benny Peiser. Dr. Benny Peiser’s Letter to 'Science' and Its Rejection,” Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), May 4, 2005. Archived March 23, 2014. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/ySrLd

    21. Benny Peiser,” Profile at the Carbon Brief. Archived March 7, 2011. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Zyrbg

    22. Juliette Hughes. “The truth is downright dirty,” The Age, June 2, 2007. Archived October 17, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/c4Gve

    23. Ofcom's findings on The Great Global Warming Swindle,” The Guardian, July 22, 2008. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/eLtFz

    24. “Complaint to Ofcom Regarding 'The Great Global Warming Swindle'” (PDF), ofcomswindlecomplaint.net. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

    25. “The Stern Review: A Dual Critique” (PDF)World Economics Vol. 7 No. 4 (October - December 2006). Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

    26. Lords to G8: UK climate policies 'wildly optimistic',” euractiv.com, July 7, 2005. Archived April 20, 2013. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/dp5Aw

    27. Board of Trustees,” The Global Warming Policy Foundation. Archived October 13, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/lHwxZ.

    28. Board,” Austrian Economics Center. Archived October 13, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/vIlIb

    29. Executive Profile: Nigel Lawson,” Bloomberg. Archived October 13, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/XeZo6

    Other Resources