The Guardian’s Leo Hickman reports today on next Friday’s Information Rights Tribunal when Request Initiative will appeal for the Global Warming Policy Foundation to reveal the identity its seed funder.
The newspaper says leading climate scientists are backing the appeal, arguing that GWPF “routinely misrepresents and casts doubt on the work of climate scientists”.
The London-based climate sceptic thinktank chaired by the former Conservative chancellor Lord Lawson is fighting an FoIA request by Request Initiative to the Charity Commission asking for a bank statement it holds revealing the name of GWPF’s seed donor, who contributed £50,000 for its launch in 2009.
Request’s director, Brendan Montague, submitted an FoIA request to the Charity Commission arguing that the public has a right to know if any donor is related in any way to the oil industry.
GWPF has stated in the past that it does not accept donations from the energy industry, or anyone with a “significant interest” in the energy industry.
James Hansen, the director of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies who first warned the world about the dangers of climate change in the 1980s has also backed Request Initiative’s appeal, telling the Guardian: “If successful, the FOI request may, by exposing one link in a devious manipulation of public opinion, start a process that allows the public to be aware of what is happening, what is at stake, and where the public interest lies.”
MoD wasted £22m on barely used vehicles
A Freedom of Information investigation has revealed the Ministry of Defence has spent £22m on revamping 100 Snatch Land Rovers for Afghanistan, that have barely been used, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Scotland’s colleges running out of bursary funds
The Herald reports that colleges in Scotland are running out of support funds for students, even before cuts of £11 million get implemented. A Freedom of Information request to 40 colleges by NUS Scotland revealed that out of the 28 that answered, 14 have overspent their funds for bursaries last year, with a another eight exhausting their budget.
Despite its calls for more scientific transparency, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has been exposed as extremely secretive, The Guardian reports.
The newspaper reveals Benny Peiser, who is the director of the influential climate sceptic thinktank, has been consistently refusing Freedom of Information requests, leading to accusations of double standards and secrecy about its funding.
The GWPF, which is chaired by Lord Lawson, has also received the criticism of the Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne.
Replying to a report sent by Lawson the Secretary said: “Let me say straight away that [I] believe that you have been misinformed and that your conclusions are poorly supported by the underlying science evidence.” He goes on: “It would be perverse to ignore this well-attested and thoroughly reviewed body of evidence.”
Addressing also Lord Turnbull, a former head of the civil service and GWPF trustee, Huhne continues: “It is not true to say that UK climate change policy relies on a single source of evidence.”
Lawson’s original report questioned the belief in what sceptics refer to as “climate alarmism” and claimed “huge controversy about the relative contribution of man-made CO2 versus natural forces” indeed exists.
Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, stressed GWPF’s negative impact on climate change policy-making and the need for accountability on their part.
More than 1,000 cases of private data loss by UK councils
British councils have lost individuals; private data 1,032 times during the last three years, a Freedom of Information investigation by The Telegraph revealed. The information included details relating to children and vulnerable people in care.
Freedom of information receives huge blow in South Africa
Editors of newspapers across South Africa have been warning against the Protection of State Information Bill that the National Assembly voted in favour of yesterday with a majority of 229 votes. The bill has been viewed as a major assault to freedom of the press and freedom of information. The Mail & Guardian reports the bill – if passed – would allow any organ of state to classify any documents as secret and set out harsh penalties of up to 25 years in jail for whistleblowers.
Olympic Legacy Company spends more than a million in legal bills
The Olympic Park Legacy Company has spent almost £1.3million of tax-payers money to defend a judicial review of its decision to award West Ham preferred-tenant status on the stadium, FoIA requests revealed. The Telegraph reports the challenge came from Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient, who said a £40million loan from Newham breached European state aid rules.