Labour Party political elites in the U.K. are flocking to support a new green campaigning group called Labour Climate and Environment Forum (LCEF). At its launch last year, senior Labour politicians present included Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves and former leader and Net Zero champion Ed Miliband. LCEF claims its team comes from all parts of the labour movement as it seeks a collectivist Net Zero solution to tackle “climate and ecological breakdown”. As we have seen in numerous articles in the Daily Sceptic, none of these types of elite organisations arise from the grassroots. LCEF is funded by the European Climate Fund (ECF) and Clean Air Fund (CAF), both supported by Extinction Rebellion (XR) paymaster Sir Christopher Hohn. Also in the mix is Gower Street, a fund that is currently helping to pay for the latest offshoot of XR.
LCEF is run by Paul McNamee who has worked for the Green Alliance and recently for London Mayor Sadiq Khan. He is said to have advised on the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, Khan’s controversial poor person’s punch-down, and “the Mayor’s presence at COP27”. Sitting on the Advisory Board is Polly Billington, a former BBC journalist, and a key adviser to Ed Miliband in the previous Labour Government that set the U.K. on the path to its unrealistic Net Zero agenda. She was previously instrumental in establishing the local government network UK100. This network targets local authorities by demanding they accelerate Net Zero with various anti-car activities. Needless to say, public consent to such personal restrictions is not seen as a priority. The investigative journalist Ben Pile notes that UK100 is an opaque organisation, “though it admits to being funded by ECF and CAF, both of which are substantially supported and controlled by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and therefore Hohn”.
Money of course makes no distinction between political tribes when there is public policy to be altered in the interests of the few. Net Zero offers huge opportunities for organisations peddling unfounded climate collapse scares and funded by billionaires to influence lawmakers to collectivise the economy and human society. Since such an ambition requires a complete re-engineering of modern industrial society, by happy chance, vast amounts of diverted money, mostly taxpayers’ hard-earned, are available to fund almost any crackpot green scheme and technology going.
As the Daily Sceptic recently noted, almost half the ruling Conservative Party backbench MPs in the U.K. Parliament belong to a Caucus promoting extreme Net Zero ideas that is funded by a small group of green billionaires led, quelle surprise, by the ECF and CAF, along with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers and Oak Foundation. The Caucus is part of the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) which is run by Ben Goldsmith. For his part, Goldsmith is one of five trustees of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.
The LCEF appears to have a number of links with the Green Alliance, which says it is an “independent think tank and charity focused on ambitious leadership for the environment”. In 2019, it was able to signal its considerable virtue by dropping long-standing funding arrangements with Shell and BP. Happily, and perhaps again to no great surprise, new funders in the form of the ECF, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace were able to take up the financial slack.
The LCEF funding from Gower Street is also of some interest, since this relatively small operation seems to pick a number of grantees at the more colourful end of the Net Zero spectrum. The funding for a new XR offshoot, run by XR old hands Gail Bradbrook and Stuart Basden, helps “make good on the potential of Extinction Rebellion”. Cash to Stop Ecocide International helps develop green ‘lawfare’, while the World Environmental Crimes Unit builds a database on individuals “holding back action on climate in the U.K.” Peers for the Planet, a group of 150 members of the U.K. House of Lords, is helped in its mission to put climate change at the top of the political agenda. Grants are also made to the Green Alliance and the CEN.
The sheer scale of the money that is available to fund all these groups from a relatively small number of very rich people is beginning to attract wide attention. It dwarfs the individual contributions made to major political parties in the U.K. The Labour and Conservatives make do with income in the recent past between £30-50 million a year each, but Michael Bloomberg and Sir Christopher Hohn have each contributed $45 million to C40 alone This is a green activist group comprising 100 city mayors around the world. and it is currently chaired by Sadiq Khan. Like C100, it aims to push local areas to press ahead with numerous Net Zero measures including personal movement and diet restrictions. But for Bloomberg, even that $45 million to C40 is chickenfeed compared to the $1 billion that he has given to groups seeking to shut down America’s gas and coal power plants. The goal is to “shut down every last U.S. coal plant” and “slash gas plant capacity in half, and block all new gas plants”.
For all its talk of campaigning on behalf of the wider Labour movement, the LCEF, like the CEN, is further proof of the disconnect between the current crop of politicians and the wider voting public. None of these operations arise from the grassroots. They are funded by a few elites and are part of global political campaigns. Ben Pile estimates that both Bloomberg and Hohn are funding green organisations to the tune of $200 million a year each. Money buys influence and vast quantities are pouring in to bypass the wishes of local electorates. The LCEF might wish it had support from the wider labour movement, but the truth is that it does not need it. It operates within the political system trying to exert influence on profoundly undemocratic policies. In the process, of course, it is supporting any number of virtuous, and rather comfortable, ‘Islington’ lifestyles.