The National:

AN Australian hedge fund billionaire who funded a climate science denial group has given the Conservative Party £366,790 since the last election – including more than £100,000 this year.

Lord Michael Hintze – who was handed a peerage by Boris Johnson in 2022 – is a major financial backer of the Tories who has also funded the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), which claims to be a “non-partisan think tank”.

The GWPF is not transparent about its funding and stands accused of being a “major source of misinformation about climate change in the UK”.

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It is based at 55 Tufton Street, London – the home of several other opaquely-funded pressure groups that campaign against net-zero policies.

Another GWPF backer, Neil Record, has given former Tory MPs and the Conservative Party £476,790 since 2008. He is the chair of Net Zero Watch, another opaquely funded organisation which is claimed to be a subsidiary of GWPF.

All the above donations were declared to the Electoral Commission, as required, and there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing.

Commenting on The Ferret’s findings, green campaigners accused the Tory Party of being the “anti-climate party” and they questioned who is secretly influencing climate policy in Britain.

A spokesperson for the Tories said donations are “properly and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission, published by them, and comply fully with the law”. He added: “Indeed, such observations can be made about who our donors are, precisely because our donations are transparently published.”

The Labour Party have also been under pressure after it emerged that a GWPF director was selected as their candidate for Blackley and Broughton in Greater Manchester.

Graham Stringer has been a director at GWPF since 2015. He has questioned climate science and policies to achieve net zero emissions.

Hintze was raised in Australia and is the founder and CEO of Deltroit Asset Management. As well as donating at least £4.7m to Conservative causes, he gave £100,000 to Vote Leave, the official Brexit campaign.

A soldier turned hedge fund manager, he is a noted supporter of the arts and sciences and was granted knighthood in 2013 in recognition of his charitable contributions. In 2022, Hintze was nominated for a peerage by former prime minister Boris Johnson.

In January, it emerged that Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Claire Coutinho had accepted a £2000 donation from Hintze, and last October, he gave £3000 to senior Tory politician Steve Barclay weeks before he was appointed as Environment Secretary.

Neil Record gave £5000 to Steve Baker in 2022. In 2017, Record donated £2000 to the Scottish Conservative group in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk. Record was named as a funder of the GWPF in 2014.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)

THE GWPF was founded in 2009 by former Conservative chancellor Nigel Lawson, and has been lobbying the government to scrap its target to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

In March, it claimed there is a “mistaken belief that weather extremes – such as heatwaves, flooding, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires – are more common and more intense today because of climate change”, which goes against the scientific consensus.

The GWPF has always refused to fully disclose its donors. In 2012, The Guardian reported that Hintze was financially supporting the lobby group.

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The GWPF, a registered charity, was investigated by the Charity Commission in 2014 and found to have breached rules limiting political activity by charities.

It has since been claimed that a group called Net Zero Watch - established after the GWPF was found to have breached Charity Commission rules - was established to front its campaigns.

While the GWPF is a registered charity, and bound by Charity Commission rules limiting political activity, Net Zero Watch is a private company, funded by “private donations”. It claims to be independent. Net Zero Watch has lobbied MPs by providing briefings questioning climate policy.

MPs and the Good Law Project have been urging the Charity Commission to launch another investigation into the GWPF, claiming that the charitable foundation funds non-charitable lobbying work by Net Zero Watch.

They have urged the regulator to strip the GWPF of its charitable status, arguing it does not meet its aims as a charity and is in fact a lobbying organisation.

Net Zero Watch claims that it “highlights the serious implications of expensive and poorly considered climate change policies” and that it is “funded by private donations” although it doesn’t reveal who backs it financially on its website.

“In order to make clear its complete independence, we do not accept gifts from either energy companies or anyone with a significant interest in an energy company,” a statement on its site says.

GWPF’s controversial claims

THE Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, based at the London School of Economics (LSE), has challenged the GWPF’s claims.

In written evidence to Westminster, the institute said GWPF is a “major source of misinformation” about climate change, and it complained to the Charity Commission in 2013, arguing that GWPF’s spread of misinformation about climate change should exempt it from being registered as an educational charity.

The GWPF and Net Zero Watch have been given a regular platform on the right-wing broadcaster GB News recently, during which they claimed the climate emergency is “scaremongering”. GWPF has appeared on the channel more than 35 times over the past seven months, DeSmog reported.

Scottish Greens justice spokesperson Maggie Chapman (above) MSP said: “The Tory Party are the anti-climate party, even now actively pursuing policies that will continue to see global temperatures spiral out of control and wreak havoc to our environment."

She added: “It should come as no surprise to anyone then that their increasingly questionable donations - more often mired in sleaze - include climate deniers, those with vested interests and individuals and groups opposed to reaching net zero.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland divestment campaigner Sally Clark said the UK Government’s recent decisions to award new oil and gas licences and “to roll back on its climate commitments”, means “we need to ask who is influencing UK climate policy.”

She added: "Climate sceptics are denying and twisting the overwhelming scientific consensus to suit their paymasters. They shouldn't be allowed anywhere near decision-makers.

“The fossil fuel industry has been polluting our politics for decades with donations to MPs, lobbying meetings and sponsored events in order to delay and prevent the vital climate action that we need from governments if we are to limit the worst impacts of climate breakdown."

A spokesperson for Just Stop Oil claimed that “British democracy has been bought by oil lobbyists”. They added: “History tells us that when the powerful ignore the interests of the people, we must come together to disrupt business as usual. Every future generation is dependent on what we do right now. It’s time to come together and demand an emergency plan to end the extraction and burning of fossil fuels by 2030.”

A spokesperson for the Conservatives said the party is funded by membership, fundraising and donations. He added: “The Conservative Party has taken a new, pragmatic approach to net zero that will help us reach this target without saddling hardworking families with extortionate and unnecessary bills in the interim. This comes alongside our significant investment in green policies.”

Oil industry donations to the Tory Party

IN 2022, The Ferret revealed that the Conservative Party and their MPs had registered more than £1.7m in donations from climate sceptics and fossil fuel interests since the 2019 general election.

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Our analysis of donations registered with the Electoral Commission from December 2019 found that £1,753,161 has been donated, including thousands of pounds given to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the former prime minister, Liz Truss, and outgoing Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross.

GWPF, Net Zero Watch, Hintze, and the Labour Party did not respond to requests for comments.

The Ferret is an editorially independent, not-for-profit co-operative run by its journalists and subscribers. You can find it at and can subscribe for £5 a month here: