Rick Perry, the governor of Texas and former Republican presidential candidate, has criticized Britain for funding an US environmental group project which aimed to “educate” Texan policymakers about climate science.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) was funded by the UK Foreign Office in 2009 to “move them from a state of denial and inaction to one of acceptance and effective action.”
The funding was part of the UK’s promotion of a “low-carbon, high-growth global economy.” Texas was singled out as an influential state which could shift the US federal position on addressing carbon emissions, and because Texas also has higher emissions than the UK. The Foreign Office said that one of the project’s aims was “the sharing of UK experience/expertise on global warming and regulation with Texas.”
Two Texan state lawmakers, including the climate skeptic Republican Troy Fraser, were flown to the UK to receive a briefing with climate scientists and government officials. In Austin, a conference was held which included a video of Prince Charles addressing Texan politicians on the subject of climate change.
Other projects were funded elsewhere in the US, Canada, Russia, China, India and Brazil.
Perry told The Guardian, which uncovered the funding through a Freedom of Information request:
In Texas, we base our policy decisions on sound science and what is ultimately best for our citizens. Man-made global warming remains but a theory and one where thousands of scientists remain sceptical. It would be irresponsible to put our entire economy at risk based on unproven science. Our state has one of the best success stories in cleaning our air, all while remaining the nation’s leading energy producer and job creator. Given these achievements, it would seem those UK tax dollars were misdirected.
“I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects.”
The UK described the project as “very successful” but Jim Marston, the director of EDF’s regional office in Texas, said that although Fraser “came back very enthused … Sadly, his enthusiasm has decreased since, partly because the issue [of climate change] has become so politicised.”
Cartoon by DonkeyHotey
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