Lord Lawson, former chancellor, is the chairman of Global Warming Policy Foundation. Photograph: Micha Theiner/Rex Features
Neil Record and Nigel Vinson confirm their donations, and are both linked to thinktank that took funds from oil companies
Tuesday 2 September 2014 07.00 BST
Two secret funders of Nigel Lawson’s climate sceptic organisation have been revealed. This is the first time anyone financing the group has confirmed their contributions. Both are linked to a free-market thinktank, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), which has admitted taking funding from fossil fuel companies and has also argued against climate change mitigation.
Lord Lawson has steadfastly refused to name the funders of the Global Warming Policy Foundation since its inception in 2009, stating only that none have significant fossil fuel interests. The GWPF has become the most prominent climate sceptic group in the UK, but critics of the GWPF argue that funders’ names should be made public in the interest of transparency.
The names were uncovered by the investigative blog Desmog UK. Neil Record, the founding chairman of a currency management company Record and an IEA trustee, confirmed he has given money to the GWPF but said the amount was a “private matter”. Record gave the IEA £36,000 to support a seminar featuring Lawson in November 2009 and on the same day Lawson launched the GWPF. Record told the Guardian: “I personally regard the continuing contribution of the GWPF to the climate change debate as very positive in assisting balance and rationality in this contentious area.”
Lord Nigel Vinson, a wealthy industrialist and life vice-president of the IEA, has given the GWPF £15,000 according to Charity Commission records. “I am very proud to fund [the GWPF],” he told the Guardian. “You have to put a question mark over climate change if over the last 14 years the world has not got any hotter.” Scientists argue this “pause” in air temperatures is an illusion, based on cherry-picked data and ignoring the fact that over 90% of trapped heat enters the oceans.
Record and Vinson are the first GWPF funders to confirm their donations. Sir Michael Hintze, a major Conservative donor and hedge fund tycoon, was named by the Guardian in 2012 as a GWPF funder but has not confirmed or denied his GWPF link. Like Record, Hintze is an IEA trustee.