UK ministers criticised for appearing at NatCon ‘climate denial conference’

A number of high profile Conservative MPs are set to appear at the National Conservatism (NatCon) conference this week, angering environmental campaigners.

An analysis of the event by DeSmog has found that many speakers have a history of climate denialism and are hostile to net zero. Despite this, and the UK Government’s claims of a commitment to green policy, Home Secretary Suella Braverman (pictured), and Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove are confirmed to deliver keynotes to the audience this week.

Energy and climate policy do not factor on the agenda, and concerns have also been raised about an apparent ‘blocking’ of left-wing media organisations. Byline Times, openDemocracy. Novara Media and JOE all had press applications rejected weeks ahead of the conference beginning yesterday, Monday 15th May, with ‘high demand and limited space’ cited as reasons.

David Frost, a Tory peer, will also feature. As director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, he has been heavily criticised for his role in Britain’s most prominent climate denial group. Elsewhere, Lee Anderson, Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party who has previously said the public is ‘sick to death of net zero’ is also on the speakers list, as is former-Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, who believes climate action is an ‘unrealistic’ goal because it ‘would have no effect for hundreds or possibly thousands of years’.

NatCon is one of world’s pre-eminent gatherings of influential conservative thinkers, and has never been held in the UK before. Organised by US-based think tank Edmund Burke Foundation, Chairman Christopher DeMuth has a record of denying climate science, and served as president of the American Enterprise Institute for 20 years. The organisation has regularly worked to question humanity’s impact on the environment.

In 2020, Conservative backbencher Daniel Kawczynski was reprimanded for attending the event due to its far right political leaning, narrowly avoiding suspension from the party. In the past, guests and speakers have included Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni, Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, and recently-departed Fox News host, Tucker Carlson.

More on climate denialism: 

How climate disinformation sows distrust in Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

Opinion: Can meaningful talks take place at COP27? 



Image: Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street


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