The Daily Mail’s recent re-adoption of climate change scepticism has its origins in a lunch between editor Paul Dacre and former Tory chancellor Lord Lawson.
In recent years, the mighty Mail has shown signs of joining the global warming consensus. While it could never be accused of leading the charge for decarbonisation or of being a green crusader, the tabloid’s take on the issue appeared to be that climate change was serious and worth tackling. Even columnist Melanie Phillips had found other subjects to foam about.
All that changed following a talk between Britain’s foremost tabloid editor and a semi-retired big beast politician who has become the UK’s foremost climate change sceptic. The Mail has “put on the war paint” (a Dacre phrase) and is campaigning against what it calls green taxes – the wide and growing range of levies on gas and electricity consumers, which are used to fund energy efficiency measures and the decarbonising of UK electricity supplies.
And it really is a campaign, complete with front page ‘splashes’, opinion leaders and a long comment piece in June by Lord Lawson, who chairs a climate change sceptical thinktank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation.
Here’s a sample from a Daily Mail leader on 11 July, anticipating the electricity white paper. “With huge doubts surrounding climate change science – experts have just concluded that we are headed for a global temperature drop – ministers must give us a break from green taxation.”
The Mail’s campaign matters, for two reasons. (more…)