How did Nigel Lawson become big in Spain? With a little help from his powerful friends, of course.
Spain’s former Prime Minister José María Aznar has actively promoted the work of climate science deniers including former UKchancellor Lawson through a thinktank based just behind Madrid’s Ritz hotel, an investigation by La Marea’s Climatica, DeSmog’s Spanish-language partner, reveals.
Aznar has led the FAES Foundation (also known as the Foundation for Social Studies and Analysis) since he left office in 2004. The organisation’s aim is “to create, promote and disseminate ideas based on political, intellectual and economic freedom, as well as to reinforce the values of freedom, democracy, rule of law, free market economy and Western humanism,” according to its website.
FAES has worked towards these aims partly through the promotion of climate science denial.
In 2009, FAES’ publication house Gota a Gota released a version of Nigel Lawson’s climate science denial tome, A Cool Look at Global Warming. It was presented at an event by Elvira Rodríguez, Spain’s former Environment Minister under Aznar.
In the book, Lawson, who is the founder of the UK's principal climate science denial campaign group the Global Warming Policy Foundation, declares: “The new religion of global warming, however comfortable it may be for politicians, is not as harmless as it may seem at first glance. Certainly, the more we analyse it, the more it resembles a da Vinci Code of ecologism.
"It's a great story and a formidable sales success. It contains a pinch of truth… and a mountain of nonsense. And that nonsense can be really very harmful.”
FAES’ 2009 Annual Report says that Lawson’s work “defends the 'uncomfortable evidence' that progress is achieved with 'a free, open and well-functioning market economy', and not with an economy bowed to the demands of the 'new licence to meddle, interfere and regulate: the great cause of saving the planet from the supposed horrors of global warming'.”
Lawson’s wasn’t the only the climate science denial touchstone to be promoted by FAES. A year earlier, Aznar had presented the Gota a Gota publication of an essay by climate science denier and former President and Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, entitled ‘Blue Planet (Not Green)’.
At the event, Aznar said he had been “a modest editor” and stated that Klaus' essay “invites us to put reasonable doubt before politically correct”, reading this passage from the essay: “In the last 150 years, at least since Marx, the socialists have been effectively destroying human freedom, with slogans of apparent human and humanistic interest: for the human being, for his social equality with others, for his good.
"Ecologists do it through slogans of no less noble interest: for nature and for a kind of superhuman good. Let's remember his radical motto: 'Earth First'. In both cases, the slogans were (and are) a simple cover.
"In reality it was (and is) about power, about the supremacy of the 'chosen' (as they consider themselves), over the rest of us, about the implantation of a single correct ideology (their own)”.
Aznar rejects that he is a climate science denier, however, saying:“I am not what some call a climate change denier. I don't know if there is a climate change in which man's action is - or not - determinant.
"I don't know because I'm not an expert scientist on these subjects. What I am is a citizen who today I say loud and clear that I have, like any other citizen, the right to say that there should be freedom to debate issues like this.”
Mat Hope is Editor of DeSmog UK. This article was first published on DeSmog UK, in partnership with Climatica, a publication of La Marea.