Following two by-election defeats, the resignation of Tory Party chairman Oliver Dowden, and a disastrous address at a Conservative fundraising dinner at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Boris Johnson is about to make its most prominent Tory donor, Sir Michael Hintze, a member of the House of Lords, according to a Sunday Times report over the weekend.
Michael Hintze, a British-Australian billionaire, is a founder of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a UK think tank that was founded in 2009 by former Conservative chancellor, Nigel Lawson, who has a history of making misleading claims about climate change.
GWPF has long been accused of leading the backlash against the government’s net zero policy and spreading misinformation about climate change with “little or no regard” to scientific evidence. James Hansen, a leading Nasa climate scientist, described the organisation as “one link in a devious manipulation of public opinion [regarding climate change]”.
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In May, the prominent think tank was accused of breaching Charity Commission guidelines by accepting donations from oil and gas interests. The charity watchdog received a letter from a consortium of more than 70 scientists, MPs, peers and campaigners, calling for it to strip the group of its charitable status.
The think tank has always refused to fully disclose its donors. However, in 2012, the Guardian reported it had seen correspondence sent by Hintze in which he appeared to indicate he was financially supporting the lobby group. At the time, Downing Street was forced to reveal that the billionaire had been among the leading Tory donors who were invited to privately dine with the then prime minister David Cameron, as a “thank you” following the 2010 general election.
The hedge fund manager will be joined by several other climate sceptic peers in the House of Lords, including Claire Fox, a former Brexit Party MEP, who has frequently dismissed climate science, describing the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as “advocacy research”, and Anne Widdicombe, who has a long history in rejecting the scientific consensus on climate change.