Conflicts Of Interest At The Committee On Climate Change
By Paul Homewood
h/t Dennis Ambler
The Mail’s story, about how the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy cheated to claim govt grants, recalls another investigation by David Rose three years ago:
Other industries would stand accused of damning conflicts of interest but when it comes to global warming, anything goes…
The Mail on Sunday today reveals the extraordinary web of political and financial interests creating dozens of eco-millionaires from green levies on household energy bills.
A three-month investigation shows that some of the most outspoken campaigners who demand that consumers pay the colossal price of shifting to renewable energy are also getting rich from their efforts.
Vested interest: Lord Deben (John Selwyn Gummer) is chairman of the Committee on Climate Change
Enquiries by this newspaper have revealed:
- Four of the nine-person Committee on Climate Change, the official watchdog that dictates green energy policy, are, or were until very recently, being paid by firms that benefit from committee decisions.
- A new breed of lucrative green investment funds, which were set up to expand windfarm energy, are in practice a means of taking green levies paid by hard-pressed consumers and handing them to City investors and financiers.
- £3.8 billion of taxpayers’ money funds the new Green Investment Bank, set up by the Department of Business and Skills. One of its biggest deals involved energy giant SSE selling windfarms to one of the new green funds, Greencoat Wind. The Green Investment Bank’s chairman, Lord Smith of Kelvin, is also chairman of SSE. The bank says it ‘provided expertise’ to enable BIS to take a £50 million stake in Greencoat, which helped fund the SSE sale.
- The same bank’s chief executive, Shaun Kingsbury, is one of the UK’s highest-paid public sector employees. His £325,000 salary is more than twice the Prime Minister’s.
- Firms lobbying for renewables can virtually guarantee access to key Government policy-makers, because they are staffed by former very senior officials – a striking example of Whitehall’s ‘revolving door’.
This what they had to say about the Committee on Climate Change:
How half of key Climate Change Committee is in the pay of green business
No institution plays a greater role in dictating green energy policy than the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) – the body set up by Ed Miliband when he was Labour Energy Secretary through his 2008 Climate Change Act.
The Mail on Sunday’s investigation has established that four of its nine members have recently had or still have financial interests in firms that benefit from its rulings.
Last week, the CCC urged the Government not to water down its ‘fourth carbon budget’. This binds the UK to slash emissions of carbon dioxide to half their 1990 level by 2025.
The budget also says that by 2030, the CO2 emitted per unit of electric power must be less than ten per cent of what it is at present – a cut of more than 90 per cent.
Energy analyst Peter Atherton of Liberum Capital says this will need investment of between £361 billion and £393 billion. Such a policy would also cut emissions from the electricity industry by about two-thirds.
Amazingly, almost half the CCC’s members, whose decisions affect every UK citizen and the entire economy, have been paid by firms with green interests. They are all paid £800 a day for their part-time CCC work, except for chairman Lord Deben, who gets £1,000.
Dame Julia King, 59, is also a director of the Green Investment Bank, for which she is paid £30,000 a year on top of her £272,000 salary as vice chancellor of Aston University.
The bank, funded by taxpayers to the tune of £3.8 billion, has investment in offshore wind as a ‘top priority’.
The more the CCC’s rulings favour renewable subsidies, the better the bank is likely to do. She lives in a house in Cambridge, which she bought for £740,000 in 2002.
Lord May of Oxford, a former Government chief scientific adviser, is paid an undisclosed amount as a member of the ‘Sustainability Board’ of the global banking giant HSBC.
In the section of its website that deals with its ‘sustainability’ work, the bank lists its four biggest green business opportunities.
Top of the list is ‘low-carbon energy production such as bio-energy, nuclear, solar and wind’ – all directly affected by the CCC’s edicts.
A cross-bench peer, Lord May, 71, is an atheist, but his stated belief that climate change is more dangerous than nuclear war has made him suggest that religious leaders ought to persuade people to support the green cause. ‘Maybe religion is needed,’ he said in 2009.
‘A supernatural punisher may be part of the solution.’
Former adviser: Lord May is now paid as a member of HSBC’s sustainability board
As this newspaper revealed in January, CCC chairman Lord Deben, 74, was until recently chairman of Veolia Water UK PLC, which connects windfarms to the National Grid.
According to energy expert Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University, the drive to renewables means new grid investment will reach £25 billion by 2020. Deben has refused to state how much Veolia paid him. Company records say he resigned on November 12.
His spokeswoman said that this was because the firm was being merged with a sister firm.
He remains chairman of his family consultancy firm Sancroft, which advises companies on ‘global environmental policy’. When he took up his CCC post, he resigned as chairman of offshore wind firm Forewinds.
Prof Sam Fankhauser admits he is paid an undisclosed sum as a director of Vivid Economics, which offers business clients advice on how to respond to green Government policies – such as those set by the CCC
Sam Fankhauser, 49, is a professor at the London School of Economics’ Grantham Institute on Climate Change, funded by the radical green billionaire Jeremy Grantham – the world’s most generous donor to green activist groups.
Prof Fankhauser admits he is paid an undisclosed sum as a director of Vivid Economics, which offers business clients advice on how to respond to green Government policies – such as those set by the CCC.
The firm describes itself as a ‘thought leader’ on the ‘economics of climate change’, adding that it offers ‘insights that are not available elsewhere, allowing us to model the effects of policy on prices [and] profits’.
Other CCC members have spent their careers as academics in fields that help fuel green campaigns.
Sir Brian Hoskins, a fierce critic of climate sceptics, is a climatologist at Imperial College, London, where he is director of another institute funded by Grantham.
Jim Skea is also at Imperial, where he is Professor of Sustainable Energy, and was launch director of the Low Carbon Vehicle Project.
The up to date position is as follows:
Little has changed since 2013. Deben is still Chairman of Sancroft International, which according to its latest accounts has net worth of £1.1 million.
In addition he is non exec Chairman of Valpak Holdings, who boast on their website to be “a leading provider of environmental compliance services”. Part of this involves steering clients through the bureaucratic jungle of the Carbon Reduction Commitment, the scheme introduced in 2010 which was the first piece of compulsory UK legislation to address energy use amongst medium to large non-energy intensive organisations.
Although he resigned as Chair at Veolia Water UK, the House of Lords Register of Interests shows he is now Non-executive Director, Veolia East & Central Europe.
Although this is a separate operation to the UK one, they are both part of the overall Veolia business, and therefore there must still be potential for conflict of interest.
King is still a Director of the Green Investment Bank, for which she was paid £25000 last year.
She is also Director of Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, a technology innovation and research centre for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy. Much of their funding is derived from the public sector, including the European Union, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), Innovate UK and the European Regional Development Fund.
Fankhauser is still Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and Deputy Director of the ESRC-funded Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, both at the London School of Economics, and a Director at Vivid Economics.
Has now left the CCC.
He is still Chair of the Grantham Institute.
Still Professor of Sustainable Energy at Imperial College.
Corinne Le Quéré
She is Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.
Add in the likes of Lord Krebs and Paul Johnson, perennial riders on the quango merry-go-round, and the idea that the Committee on Climate Change is “independent”, “objective” or “balanced”, as it claims, is laughable.