May 23, 2022
From Extinction Rebellion (UK)
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This morning at 10am, a group of writers, scientists, activists and a baroness will gather in Tufton Street on the doorstep of the notorious climate-denial group The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). They will then proceed to the Charity Commission with an official complaint demanding that the group be stripped of its charity status and then filed the complaint with the Charity Commission. You can read the full letter here

The gathering include Baroness Rosie Boycott and Costa Prize winning novelist Monique Roffey. They represent a coalition of groups including Extinction Rebellion, Steve Baker Watch, Eco Action Families, Frack Free Sussex, the Climate Museum UK and three members of the House of Lords. [1] 

Jessica Townsend from Extinction Rebellion, who was one of the Tufton Three found guilty in October for direct action to draw attention to the activities of the GWPF, said [2]: “A charity by definition is for the public benefit. It’s a kind of obscene joke that a fossil fuel lobby group, obstructing government policies on the climate emergency, can masquerade as a charity.”

The complaint follows an investigation by Open Democracy and The Guardian into the financing of the opaque group which led to fossil fuel interests. [3] In particular the GWPF’s receipt of $210,525 dollars from the Sarah Scaife Foundation which has $30m worth of shares in 22 energy companies including $9m in Exxon and $5.7m in Chevron. [4]

The complaint is also backed by a large group of writers, artists, scientists and academics including Ali Smith, Sarah Hall, Irvine Welsh, AL Kennedy, Joe Dunthorne, poets Owen Sheers and Nick Laird, Baronesses Jenny Jones and Nicola Bennett, artists Ackroyd & Harvey and Cornelia Parker, Scientists Simon Lewis and Professor Joanna Haig from the Grantham Institute.

Tom Hardy of Extinction Rebellion, who welcomed the Open Democracy investigation, said: At last this is becoming part of the public record in spite of the twists and turns of logic the organisation puts out into the world, both about itself, its funders and about climate science. They are obstructing progress on a matter of existential importance and history will judge them harshly. If this situation is allowed to continue, it will tarnish the reputation of all charities and bring the Charity Commission itself into disrepute. 

Gemma Rogers, NHS worker, mother of two and founder of Steve Baker Watch,said: “Why is it right that a group receiving fossil fuel funding to basically confuse and tell lies is allowed to call themselves a charity? They are putting the lives of my children at risk and getting a tax break!”  [5] 

Costa prize-winning novelist and Writers Rebel cofounder Monique Roffey, who presented the letter to the charity commission, said: “In Sept 2020, Writers Rebel hosted a major action on the steps of the GWPF, based in Tufton Street. We spray painted Lies, Lies, Lies on the columns of their HQ. Guess what, we were right. In May 2022, GWPF were busted, shown to be receiving substantial donations from a big oil company.  Indeed, they have been lying about where they get their money from to spread even more lies about climate change.” [6] 

Notes for editors:

[1] For a full list of organisations and signatories see the letter of complaint on the XR website: https://extinctionrebellion.uk/2022/05/23/charity-what-charity-letter-of-complaint-about-the-global-warming-policy-foundations-charity-status/

[2] https://extinctionrebellion.uk/2021/10/28/tufton-3-trial-verdict-guilty-of-criminal-damage/, https://writersrebel.com/support-the-tufton-3/.

[3] https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/global-warming-policy-foundation-net-zero-watch-koch-brothers 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/04/climate-sceptic-thinktank-received-funding-from-fossil-fuel-interests.

[4] https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/global-warming-policy-foundation-funding-steve-baker-b2072256.html    

[5] https://www.stevebakerwatch.com, and https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/23/tory-mps-derail-green-agenda-steve-baker-net-zero-scrutiny-group.

[6] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/02/ground-zero-of-lies-on-climate-artists-protest-at-london-thinktanks

ABOUT EXTINCTION REBELLION

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and increasingly rapid climate change. If urgent and radical action isn’t taken, we’re heading towards 4˚C warming, and the societal collapse and mass loss of life that that implies. The younger generation, racially marginalised communities and the Global South are on the front-line. No-one will escape the devastating impacts.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What Emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers |This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook 

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Source: Extinctionrebellion.uk