By Lindsey Dillon, ...
There are nearly two dozen PR companies representing various fossil fuel and energy companies in Britain according to a new DeSmog UK analysis.
Examining the most recent PR and lobby registry files up to May 2017 shows the scale of the industry’s efforts to influence opinion and policy through the many companies hired to represent corporate interests to both the public and to government.
As DeSmog UK’s map of this network reveals, global public relations firm Hill + Knowlton Strategies is the largest fossil fuel representative, counting oil giants Shell, Total and Statoil as well as fracking companies Cuadrilla, Ineos and IGas among its clients.
BP’s relationship with the National Portrait Gallery is under scrutiny as the museum prepares to today announce the winner of an annual award sponsored by the oil giant.
Many fossil fuel companies operate in notoriously volatile states that hold an abundance of oil and gas. Campaigners Culture Unstained have lodged a 19-page complaint with the gallery, alleging that BP is an unfit sponsor due to the company’s “close association” with regimes “known or suspected to be in violation of human rights”.
The group said BP’s sponsorship of exhibitions and its annual portrait award violates the gallery’s “ethical fundraising policy”, obtained by Culture Unstained through a Freedom of Information request.
“As an American I’m not going to come here and tell the British how to put together a campaign and win, I can only share our experience. And our experience has been that to win you have to develop a strategy at the local level.”
Wenonah Hauter is telling me how anti-fracking campaigners in the UK can keep the shale gas industry out of town. And she should know.
Washington DC-based think tank the Heritage Foundation briefly registered as lobbyists in Brussels, DeSmog UK has learned.
A little noticed entry to the EU Transparency Register on 18 April 2017 showed the climate science denying neoconservative think tank listed as an official EU registrant. However, one month later they were removed from the registry due to “data inconsistencies”.
According to EU rules, anyone who wishes to have a meeting with members of the EU Parliament or Commission must be listed on the EU Transparency Register including providing details about how much money the group spends on lobbying and number of lobbyists.
The second meeting in a month of the newly formed climate sceptic group, the Irish Climate Science Forum, took place behind a veil of secrecy and a media blackout in Dublin on June 1, DeSmog UK can confirm.
Guest speaker was noted climate science denier William Happer, a retired Princeton professor who is currently understood to be on a shortlist for the role of Science Advisor to the climate-denying Trump administration in the US.
Happer is a director of the US-based CO2 Coalition, whose tagline is “Carbon dioxide, a nutrient vital for life”. In December of 2015, Happer was implicated in a Greenpeace investigation where activists posed as consultants for a Middle Eastern energy company and asked Happer and Frank Clemente, an emeritus sociology professor at Pennsylvania State University, to author reports on the benefits of coal and carbon dioxide emissions and keep the source of the funding secret.
Prime minister Theresa May has had a busy few days. She continued to reshuffle her front-bench yesterday, moving a number of junior ministers into new roles.
One MP to find himself in a new job this morning is climate minister Nick Hurd, who has been moved to the Home Office.
He is replaced in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) by Claire Perry, the MP for Devizes in Wiltshire. She was previously assistant whip and a minister in the Department for Transport.
After a tumultuous few days cobbling together a government with the DUP, and trying to persuade the country that she can continue to provide the “certainty” it needs going into Brexit negotiations, Theresa May on Sunday shuffled her cabinet.
So far it doesn't seem things are likely to change very much as most of the key players have kept their roles held prior to the election, perhaps showing the limited options available to the UK's severely bruised PM.
There were some significant changes on the environmental front, however.
Despite the government’s best efforts to boost the industry, fracking remains an expensive business in the UK.
Fracking company Cuadrilla operated at a £3.4m loss over the course of 2016, its latest accounts show. That makes the company about £1m less well-off than a year before, and returns it to the same level of loss it experienced in 2014.