Cloburn Quarry Fuel and Mining Party, the Scientific Alliance and Foresight Communications

October 16, 2007 at 1:29 am | Posted in AIT, BAA, cei, Climate change, Dimmock, Durward, Eduction, Exxon Mobil, Foresight Communications, Marshall Institute, New Party, Political campaigns, Propaganda, Science, Scientific Alliance, Straightteaching, TGGWS | Leave a comment

(Worth knowing. So, too, would be knowing how much of what follows is true …

I must admit, the phrasing of the first paragraph could have been put a little better to reflect reality.  I mean, the controversial lobbying group may well have articulated their own aim as “attacking environmentalists’ claims about global warming”, but Jamie Doward could have shed light on that by saying “to attack the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence for climate change, including the unequivocal warming of our climate system”.  Ah, well.)

Revealed: the man behind court attack on Gore film (ditto)
Fuel and mining magnate backed UK challenge to An Inconvenient Truth

Jamie Doward, home affairs editor
Sunday October 14, 2007The Observer

The school governor who challenged the screening of Al Gore’s climate change documentary in secondary schools was funded by a Scottish quarrying magnate who established a controversial lobbying group to attack environmentalists’ claims about global warming.

Stewart Dimmock’s high-profile fight to ban the film being shown in schools was depicted as a David and Goliath battle, with the Kent school governor taking on the state by arguing that the government was ‘brainwashing’ pupils.

A High Court ruling last week that the Oscar-winning documentary would have to be screened with guidance notes to balance its claims was welcomed by climate-change sceptics.

The Observer has established that Dimmock’s case was supported by a powerful network of business interests with close links to the fuel and mining lobbies. He was also supported by a Conservative councillor in Hampshire, Derek Tipp.

Dimmock credited the little-known New Party with supporting him in the test case but did not elaborate on its involvement. The obscure Scotland-based party calls itself ‘centre right’ and campaigns for lower taxes and expanding nuclear power.

Records filed at the Electoral Commission show the New Party has received nearly all of its money – almost £1m between 2004 and 2006 – from Cloburn Quarry Limited, based in Lanarkshire.

The company’s owner and chairman of the New Party, Robert Durward, is a long-time critic of environmentalists. With Mark Adams, a former private secretary to Tony Blair, he set up the Scientific Alliance, a not-for-profit body comprising scientists and non-scientists, which aims to challenge many of the claims about global warming.

The alliance issued a press release welcoming last week’s court ruling and helped publicise Dimmock’s case on its website. It also advised Channel 4 on the Great Global Warming Swindle, a controversial documentary screened earlier this year that attempted to challenge claims made about climate change.

In 2004 the alliance co-authored a report with the George C Marshall Institute, a US body funded by Exxon Mobil, that attacked climate change claims. ‘Climate change science has fallen victim to heated political and media rhetoric … the result is extensive misunderstanding,’ the report’s authors said.

Martin Livermore, director of the alliance, confirmed Durward continued to support its work. ‘He provides funds with other members,’ Livermore said.

In the Nineties, Durward established the British Aggregates Association to campaign against a tax on sand, gravel and rock extracted from quarries. Durward does not talk to the media and calls to the association requesting an interview were not returned last week. However, he has written letters to newspapers setting out his personal philosophy. One letter claimed: ‘It is time for Tony Blair to try the “fourth way”, declare martial law and let the army sort out our schools, hospitals and roads.’

He later clarified his comments saying he was merely pointing out that the army had done a ‘fantastic job’ in dealing with the foot and mouth crisis. He has also asked whether there has been a ‘witch-hunt against drunk drivers’.

Dimmock also received support from a new organisation, Straightteaching.com, which calls for politics to be left out of the classroom. The organisation, which established an online payment system for people to make contributions to Dimmock’s campaign, was set up by Tipp and several others. Its website was registered last month to an anonymous Arizona-based internet company.

Tipp, who is described on the website as having been a science teacher in the Seventies and Eighties, declines to talk about who else is backing it. ‘There are other people involved but I don’t think they want to be revealed,’ he said.

He said he thought his organisation could bring more cases against the government. ‘There are a lot of people who feel the climate change debate is being hyped up,’ Tipp said. ‘To try to scare people into believing the end is nigh is not helpful. We’ve been contacted by other teachers who raised concerns. There’s a lot of interest, especially from people in the US.’

This would be hilarious if it were not so evil.

SpinWatch has a good few background notes to the characters involved and the way they are portrayed by the media, including:

So, unbeknown to the public, on the radio at lunch-time the BBC interviewed an ex-chemical industry spokesman who works for a front group set up by a quarryman who was talking about a legal case that the quarryman has funded. But that’s obviously too complicated for the BBC or too insignificant a fact to tell their listeners.

source: BBC Messes Up Again on Gore Story

More importantly, there is a cross-fertilisation between the New Party and Durward’s other pet project – he is the founder of the anti-environmental Scientific Alliance. Both the New Party and Scientific Alliance work closely with the PR company Foresight Communications.

The Alliance is one of the leading sceptic organizations in the UK, that campaigns against climate change, against Al Gore’s film and promotes the heavily criticized alternative film “Great Global Warming Swindle”.

source: Revealed: The Hidden Agenda Behind Al Gore Attack

and, going way back in time—six whole years—when this was just a twinkle in the eye of Durward:

Hard rockers: Challenging the green lobby

The views of the green lobby should be challenged, according to a new alliance

Andy Rowell
Wednesday July 11, 2001
The Guardian

Watch out anyone peddling scare stories about how the environment is going to rack and ruin, because a new organisation is out to get you. The Scientific Alliance has been formed, it says, “in response to the growing concern that the debate on the environment has been distorted by extreme pressure groups”.

The alliance, which is currently recruiting staff and hopes to find a high-profile director, says it wants to “put forward the debate about the environment on scientific facts, not the scaremongering that is the trademark of the so-called green lobby”.

According to its web-site, http://www.scientific-alliance.com, it represents “those who are concerned about the growing strength of the environmental movement and the often illogical, emotive and flawed arguments it uses to advance its case”.

To counter views it does not like, the alliance plans a debate forum, lobbying activities and to give a political voice to the “sensible majority” overlooked, it says, by the green lobby.

But what is the alliance? A genuine non-government group, or a corporate front group, reminiscent of the many set up in the US to fight the environmental movement?

Their contact person is Robert Durward. He says: “There is a need for a balancing organisation like this because whatever happens, it’s global warming – if it’s too hot, it’s global warming; if it’s too cold, it’s global warming. I object to people like CPRE and FoE who only give one side of the story.”

Durward is a “a businessman who is totally fed up with all this environmental stuff… much of which is unjustified, such as the climate change levy. We also have the aggregates tax, which will put the UK quarry industry out of business”.

Durward is also the director of the British Aggregates Association (BAA). Indeed, the Scientific Alliance’s phone number is also the contact telephone for both the BAA and Cloburn quarry in Lanarkshire. The domain name for the Scientific Alliance is also registered to Cloburn quarry.

The BAA says that it represents the “commercial interests” of Britain’s independent quarry operators. BAA members have been campaigning against the introduction of an aggregates tax, which has been demanded by “environmental pressure groups who have little sympathy with the quarry industry and have chosen to ignore the efforts made to minimise environmental impact as well as the obvious necessity of our work”.

But the alliance’s concerns also include transport, climate change, biodiversity, the countryside and waste. On climate change, they quote research from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) to back up their argument of the considerable benefits of a “delayed approach to climate change” – the US position. The CEI is one of America’s leading rightwing think-tanks and has close ties to the anti-environmental “Wise Use” movement, which pioneered the use of corporate front-groups more than a decade ago.

They are being advised by Foresight Communications, a new political consultancy which is based near Trafalgar Square, London. The executive handling the Scientific Alliance account is Mark Adams OBE, who was a private secretary for parliamentary affairs at No. 10 for nearly four years. He also worked as private secretary to Tony Blair for six months after the 1997 election.

Durward, who refuses to disclose who the financial backers are for the Scientific Alliance, says he would not play an active role after “getting it started”. “We are hoping to attract academics or people with a scientific background to contribute papers.” They are looking to appoint two full-time staff and say that there has been “a tremendous amount of interest” because the alliance will be “quite popular”.

• Andy Rowell is the author of Greenwash. Applications to join The Scientific Alliance should be sent to Foresight Communications, Golden Cross House, 8 Duncannon Street, London WC2N 4JF, by Friday 13 July 2001.

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