MPs Accuse Charity Commission of “Unlawful Distortion” in Climate Investigation

MPs have challenged the Charity Commission’s handling of its Global Warming Policy Foundation investigation, alleging unlawful delay and highlighting concerns over the think tank’s climate scepticism. Here’s the full story. 

Hard to Ignore

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Piyaset

As the world continues to heat up, and this spring is already set to see more record-breaking weather events, from heat waves to intense storms up and down the UK, the fact that the world is seeing the effects of the climate catastrophe is becoming harder and harder to ignore. 

How Much Money to Make This Go Away?

Image Credit: Shutterstock / MaxZolotukhin

However, there are still some holdouts, think tanks and conspiracy theorists with large audiences, who also usually have suspicious levels of funding from fossil fuel billionaires, who insist that climate change is a hoax.

97% Consensus

Image Credit: Shutterstock / I. Noyan Yilmaz

This is in stark contrast to the 97% of scientists who, according to NASA, are sure that the changes we can see becoming more prevalent are caused by one thing—humans and our rapacious appetite for fossil fuels. 

Legal Challenge

Image Credit: Shutterstock / chrisdorney

Recently, the Charity Commission has found itself embroiled in a legal challenge with Members of Parliament over its handling of an investigation into one such think tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), known for its skepticism towards climate science of all stripes.

Lobbying Disguised as Charity

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Bacho

The commission has accused it of acting unlawfully in addressing the serious concerns raised about the GWPF’s charitable status. The MPs accuse the GWPF of being a lobbying organization disguised as a charity. 

Good Law Project

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Oxford_shot

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, Labour’s Clive Lewis, and Green MP Caroline Lucas, along with the support of the Good Law Project, have initiated a legal challenge against the Charity Commission. 

Unanswered Complaint

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Stokkete

The MPs filed a complaint in October 2022, questioning the GWPF’s charitable status. However, despite repeated inquiries from the MPs, the Charity Commission provided only preliminary updates in November 2022, January 2023, February 2023, and September 2023.

18 Months Previously

Image Credit: Shutterstock / sebra

The Charity Commission claimed that, despite the complaint being lodged 18 months previously, it was still only in the opening stages of its investigation. 

Foot Dragging

Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes

In response to the Charity Commission’s apparent foot-dragging, the MPs have argued strenuously that the Charity Commission is in breach of its legal obligations. 

“Unlawful Distortion”

Image Credit: Shutterstock / nampix

The MPs have argued that the delay is an “unlawful distortion of the public debate regarding the most pressing issue of our time.”

Breaches of Charity Law

Image Credit: Shutterstock / PongWatchara

According to their legal letter, the commission’s inaction undermines the urgency of addressing potential breaches of charity law by the GWPF and its trustees.

One Sided Research

Image Credit: Shutterstock / nampix

The original complaint against the GWPF accused it of violating charity laws by allocating significant funds towards one-sided research and supporting its subsidiary, Net Zero Watch, in campaigning against climate policies. 

Tax Benefits

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dean Drobot

This allegation suggests that the GWPF engages in non-charitable lobbying under the guise of charitable activities, thereby exploiting tax benefits while influencing public opinion on the climate crisis.

Avoiding Tax

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Paul Cowan

The Good Law Project has stressed the implications of charitable funds being diverted to illegal lobbying activities, which would allow the GWPF to avoid paying the total tax required. 

“Very Gently”

Image Credit: Shutterstock / petrmalinak

The GWPF was set up by former Conservative Chancellor Nigel Lawson, who argued against the scientific consensus by stating that climate change is “happening very gently at a fraction of a degree per decade, which is something we can perfectly well live with.”

“Dangerous Climate Denial”

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Quality Stock Arts

Ian Browne, representing the Good Law Project, stated, “While the Charity Commission sits on this complaint, GWPF can keep peddling it’s dangerous climate denial while enjoying both the boost to its reputation and the tax advantages of being an educational charity.”

“Damaging Public Trust”

Image Credit: Shutterstock / blvdone

He continued, “The regulator’s refusal to act is damaging public trust in the charity sector and is a kick in the teeth for the thousands of organizations that scrupulously stick to the rules.”

Suspicious Silence

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Pressmaster

The GWPF has remained silent on the issue. Still, when asked previously about the Charity Commission’s investigation, a spokesperson commented, “It is right and proper that non-charitable activities are not funded by charitable donations, and we take great care to ensure this does not happen.”


Image Credit: Shutterstock / New Africa

They continued, “Any suggestion to the contrary, or attack on the academic credibility of the foundation’s publications, is unfounded. We will, as always, cooperate fully with any questions the Charity Commission considers it appropriate to ask of us.”

“Due Care Takes Time”

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Pressmaster

A Charity Commission spokesperson only confirmed that an investigation was ongoing, stating, “A regulatory compliance case was opened into the Global Warming Policy Foundation when an ‘open letter’ of complaint was received in 2022. During this time, we have been constructively engaging with trustees on the issues raised. We plan to publicly report on the outcome of the case once it has been concluded. Scrutinizing the available evidence thoroughly and with due care takes time.”

Koch Brothers

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Pressmaster

As a charity, the GWPF does not have to reveal its funding sources. However, according to OpenDemocracy, the GWPF has taken money from the Koch brothers, fossil fuel billionaires based in the US who often lobby for climate skepticism and, more broadly, right-wing causes. 

Growing Scrutiny

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov

The legal challenge mounted by MPs against the Charity Commission underscores the growing scrutiny of organizations like the GWPF, whose protestations of innocence are starting to ring a little hollow for some. 

Bottomless Pockets

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Motortion Films

Unfortunately, when it comes to the planet’s destruction, the people, organizations, and think tanks that want to argue that everything is okay and that we should “keep burning oil, please” often have bottomless pockets, which can buy them a lot of connections.

25 Things You CAN’T Talk About Anymore

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Motortion Films

Remember the days when you could freely discuss just about anything without fear of sparking controversy? Well, those days are long gone. In today’s hyper-sensitive world, there are topics so fraught with tension that even mentioning them can lead to heated debates and hurt feelings. 25 Things You CAN’T Talk About Anymore

Stranded: 15 Worst British Cars in History

Image Credit: Shutterstock / John Selway

Ever had a car that spent more time with the mechanic than on the road? A car that turned every journey into a game of “Will we actually get there?” If so, you might just see a familiar face (or should we say, chassis) in our countdown to the most unreliable British car in history. Stranded: 15 Worst British Cars in History

“Britain Will Become Unrecognizable” – Suella Braverman Spells Disaster for UK Amid Steep Rise in Visas Issued

Image Credit: Shutterstock / I T S

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman has warned that Britain will become “unrecognizable,” criticizing the amount of work visas the Home Office has approved, despite only being removed from her role in November. “Britain Will Become Unrecognizable” – Suella Braverman Spells Disaster for UK Amid Steep Rise in Visas Issued

20 Things From the ‘70s That Are Not OK Today

Image Credit: Shutterstock / HappySloth

Step into the time machine and set the dial to the 1970s, a decade of disco, bell-bottoms, and some rather questionable choices. While the ’70s gave us iconic music and groundbreaking TV, not everything from this groovy era would get a green light today. 20 Things From the ‘70s That Are Not OK Today

20 Best and Worst Universities in the UK

Image Credit: Shutterstock / William Barton

Navigating the UK university landscape is like deciphering a complex code of rankings, reviews, and reputations to uncover where you’ll not just learn, but truly flourish. Whether you’re drawn to the historic halls of Oxford or the creative buzz of Goldsmiths, finding your perfect fit is about aligning your aspirations with the unique offerings of each institution. 20 Best and Worst Universities in the UK

The post MPs Accuse Charity Commission of Unlawful Delay in Investigating Climate Skeptic Think Tank Amid Growing Environmental Crisis first appeared on Edge Media.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Tint Media.

Grant Gallacher is a seasoned writer with expertise in politics and impactful daily news. His work, deeply rooted in addressing issues that resonate with a wide audience, showcases an unwavering commitment to bringing forth the stories that matter. He is also known for satirical writing and stand up comedy.

Leave a Comment