Republican Donor Stands by Scandal-Rocked UK Climate Denial Charity He Helped to Fund

Republican donor David Herro is standing by Lord Lawson’s UK climate change science denying charity – which he helped to fund – amidst allegations that its peer review process is flawed.

In December 2015, Greenpeace revealed that one of the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s (GWPF) leading academic advisers Professor William Happer offered to write an academic paper casting doubt on climate change on behalf of a fictitious oil company. Happer suggested this paper be reviewed under the GWPF’s ‘peer review process’.

When asked whether these revelations have any impact on his decision to fund the GWPF, Herro responded stating: “No comment till proof is provided of an unethical behavior.”

However, GWPF director Dr Benny Peiser has acknowledged to the Independent that the think tank’s trustees should “review” Greenpeace’s findings and “decide how to handle advisers”.

From Wisconsin with a master’s degree in economics, Herro works as a financial analyst at investment management firm, Harris Associates. Herro, a well-known stockbroker, was named international stock fund manager of the decade in 2010 by stock market analysis website Morningstar.

DeSmog UK asked Herro for information on past donations to the climate denial charity and whether he intends to donate again in 2016. We also asked whether the revelations from the Greenpeace investigation and ongoing Charity Commission investigation into the GWPF’s activities would have any impact on his decision on whether to donate again.

Herro simply provided a link to the GWPF’s statement defending its peer review process, which was issued in response to the Greenpeace investigation.

Climate Denial Funding

Last October, Herro outed himself as a GWPF funder in an article in the Financial Times. In this, he attacked corporate leaders who have signed a pledge with US President Barack Obama to meet the challenge of climate change for “appeasing environmental extremism”.

But the GWPF is not the only organisation that Herro has donated to that doubts the science of climate change.

In the lead up to the Paris climate conference, Herro donated $10,000 to the Heartland Institute’s Paris crowdfunding campaign. The Chicago-based free market think tank has long been at the forefront of denying the scientific evidence for man-made climate change.

And, according to Heartland’s '2012 Fundraising Plan' Herro donated $35,000 to the group in 2010, $60,000 in 2011, and was projected to donate a further $60,000 in 2012. These donations went to Heartland’s ‘ECN’ project – its monthly Environment & Climate News publication.

Herro has also donated to the Cato Institute, a Koch-founded Washington, D.C.-based libertarian think tank. A 2012 document by the Cato Institute entitled “ADDENDUM: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States” thanks Herro and other donors “for their support of the activities of the Centre for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute”.

Herro has also been listed as an Illinois co-chair of the American Enterprise Institute's (AEI) National Council – a group of business and community leaders from across the United States “who are committed to the values and success of the Institute”. The AEI is one of the most influential US think tanks, and has been an avid opponent of many environmental regulations, including the Kyoto Protocol.

Photo: Andy via Flickr