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1 George Osborne, Tory chancellor
Osborne took the axe to green energy in Britain late last year, with dozens of solar schemes closing down thanks to the cut in the ‘feed-in tariff’, which helped fund many small-scale solar installations.
The Treasury also scrapped a scheme to make new homes carbon neutral from this year. Yet Osborne found the money in his last budget for road building and an expansion of already-generous oil and gas subsidies. He has said, ‘I would love fracking to get going in the UK and I am doing absolutely everything I can to encourage it.’ That includes tax breaks that he boasts are ‘the most generous for shale in the world’.
2 Michael O’Leary, Ryanair
Ryanair came out against the plan to expand Heathrow – because it’s not enough for them. Ryanair wants ‘three competing runways’ at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.
‘Residents shouldn’t be allowed to block expansion, it’s ridiculous,’ says the airline’s boss Michael O’Leary. ‘If you’re not happy, move.’ Ryanair is one of Europe’s biggest carbon dioxide emitters, with its flights producing as much CO2 as the whole of Cyprus. Meanwhile O’Leary has reportedly just become a billionaire.
3 Nigel Lawson, founder and chair, Global Warming Policy Foundation
The former Tory minister, architect of Thatcher’s privatisation policies, is the founder of Britain’s most prominent climate change denial group (he prefers ‘climate change dissenter’). The ‘foundation’ is a promoter of junk science and a vocal proponent of fracking.
Lawson has demanded that environmental groups make all their funders public, but has refused to name any of the people funding the GWPF. Lawson was found to be linked to Europe’s single biggest CO2 emitter, the Belchatow coal-fired power station in Poland, through his chairmanship of a company called the Central European Trust.
4 Rex W Tillerson, president and CEO, Exxon Mobil
Tillerson has been running Exxon for a decade now, and in that decade Exxon has become the largest – and most polluting – oil firm in the world.
A hundred climate scientists have just called on researchers to reject funding from ExxonMobil because of the ‘well-documented complicity of ExxonMobil in climate denial and misinformation’. The firm has spent over $30 million funding climate denial groups, but there is now a criminal investigation into claims that its own scientific research revealed the reality of climate change as early as 1977.
5 Matthias Müller, chief executive, Volkswagen
Volkswagen was hit by scandal last year after it was found to have fiddled emissions tests. Cars included a ‘defeat device’ that detected when the car was being tested in order to beat the testers.
After the previous chief executive resigned over this, Müller was brought in. He promised to get to the truth – but it’s all gone very quiet since. It is known, however, that the firm fitted at least 11 million vehicles worldwide with the devices, and many of these are still on the road. Some have been found to produce 40 times the allowed emissions limit.
6 Jeremy Clarkson
The Simpsons once asked: who holds back the electric car? Perhaps the single person who’s done the most to sabotage them is Jeremy Clarkson.
When he was presenting Top Gear, the show was found more than once to have staged breakdowns in its reviews of electric cars, even driving them in circles until they ran out of charge and organising a rigged race between an electric car and a petrol car. Yet Clarkson claims it’s climate change that’s a ‘fiction’.
7 & 8 The Koch brothers
It’s worth giving them two places when you consider the impact of Charles and David Koch. The brothers have a fortune of £30 billion each, from their oil refinery firm Koch Industries, making them two of the top ten richest people in the US.
They funnel huge amounts of cash to an array of right-wing causes and Republican candidates, but most prominently to lobbying against action on climate change. Slate calls them ‘the heart of the American climate denial machine’, with Koch money funding a network of climate denial groups – allowing the Kochs to make more profit on every kind of ‘extreme energy’, from fracking to tar sands.
9 Francis Egan, CEO, Cuadrilla
Egan is ‘angry’, he says – angry that opponents of fracking have mostly stopped it going ahead in Britain so far. The firm’s first efforts caused two earthquakes in Lancashire, and a larger test site in Balcombe was stopped by direct action in 2013.
Formerly a senior executive at mining firm BHP Billiton, Egan tends to strike a hard-done-by pose in interviews. He recently complained that when he took the job ‘I was told I’d be drilling lots of wells’. But don’t write off the risk yet: the frackers are hoping the government will force through permission at more sites this year.
10 Amber Rudd, Tory energy secretary
Since taking the post after the 2015 election, Amber Rudd has launched a bonfire of the government’s already-thin green policies. On top of the Treasury’s cuts (see George Osborne, above) she has also stopped funding for onshore wind farms and effectively ended the ‘green deal’, which offered grants for insulation.
She justifies these funding cuts as ‘a level playing field, where success is driven by your ability to compete in a market’ – even though huge subsidies for fossil fuels continue. Despite her claim that Britain would still meet its clean energy targets, a leaked letter revealed a 25 per cent shortfall.
11 Donald Trump
Trump has said outright many times that he thinks global warming isn’t real, and sometimes adds that it was invented ‘by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive’. He has also frequently tweeted things like: ‘I’m in Los Angeles and it’s freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!’
It’d be laughable, except he could easily be the Republican nominee in this year’s US elections, giving climate denial its biggest platform yet – and he might, terrifying as it is, even be president.
12 Miguel Arias Cañete, EU commissioner for climate and energy
This Spanish aristocrat and ex-minister bagged the top energy job in Europe despite being a former oil mogul. He had to sell his oil shares before MEPs would approve his nomination but his family is still in the oil business.
A Corporate Europe Observatory analysis of European Commission data shows that 80 per cent of the meetings Cañete held last year were with business lobbyists. He held 66 meetings with fossil fuel lobbyists compared with just three with renewable energy companies.
13 Michael Hintze, financier
Finally, meet the Tories’ biggest donor of 2014, hedge fund billionaire Michael Hintze. Hintze, who has dined with David Cameron at his infamous ‘dinners for donors’ and was coincidentally awarded a knighthood, was revealed as a funder of Nigel Lawson’s climate change denial group (see above) in an accidental email.
As well as donating to the Tories centrally, Hintze has made direct donations to a large number of Tory ministers. Top of that list is none other than the man we started with: George Osborne.
Kara Moses, Red Pepper’s environment editor, is one of the Heathrow 13. They are encouraging supporters to attend the solidarity protest at the court, sign up to their campaign to stop the new runway and get active in an escalation of the movement.
The police spend little of their time making arrests, and most crimes are not solved, writes Alex Vitale – their real purpose is social control
Many important things happened on conference floor, reports Alex Nunns – but you wouldn’t know it from reading the newspapers
Radhika Desai says Capital by Karl Marx is still an essential read on the 150th anniversary of its publication
The Spanish state is seizing ballot papers and raiding meetings, write Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte – but it is being met with united resistance
The crunch executive meeting ahead of Labour conference agreed some welcome changes, writes Michael Calderbank, but there is still much further to go
Dipesh Pandya speaks to documentary film-maker Sanjay Kak, who for 30 years has been working outside the mainstream to tell a story rooted in the struggles of those excluded by India’s militarism and its narrative of neoliberal growth
Jeremy Gilbert on how radical Labour politics can be inspired by the utopianism of the counterculture
Disasters have unequal impacts – it's the poor and marginalised who suffer most. David Harvey writes on Hurricane Harvey
#MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny
Universal credit isn’t about saving money – it’s about disciplining unemployed people
The scheme has cost a fortune and done nothing but cause suffering. So why does it exist at all? Tom Walker digs into universal credit’s origins in Tory ideology
Meet the digital feminists
We're building new online tools to create a new feminist community and tackle sexism wherever we find it, writes Franziska Grobke
The Marikana women’s fight for justice, five years on
Marienna Pope-Weidemann meets Sikhala Sonke, a grassroots social justice group led by the women of Marikana
Forget ‘Columbus Day’ – this is the Day of Indigenous Resistance
By Leyli Horna, Marcela Terán and Sebastián Ordonez for Wretched of the Earth
Uber and the corporate capture of e-petitions
Steve Andrews looks at a profit-making petition platform's questionable relationship with the cab company
You might be a centrist if…
What does 'centrist' mean? Tom Walker identifies the key markers to help you spot centrism in the wild
Black Journalism Fund Open Editorial Meeting in Leeds
Friday 13th October, 5pm to 7pm, meeting inside the Laidlaw Library, Leeds University
This leadership contest can transform Scottish Labour
Martyn Cook argues that with a new left-wing leader the Scottish Labour Party can make a comeback
Review: No Is Not Enough
Samir Dathi reviews No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics, by Naomi Klein
Building Corbyn’s Labour from the ground up: How ‘the left’ won in Hackney South
Heather Mendick has gone from phone-banker at Corbyn for Leader to Hackney Momentum organiser to secretary of her local party. Here, she shares her top tips on transforming Labour from the bottom up
Five things to know about the independence movement in Catalonia
James O'Nions looks at the underlying dynamics of the Catalan independence movement
‘This building will be a library!’ From referendum to general strike in Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte report from the Catalan general strike, as the movements prepare to build a new republic
Chlorine chickens are just the start: Liam Fox’s Brexit trade free-for-all
A hard-right free marketer is now in charge of our trade policy. We urgently need to develop an alternative vision, writes Nick Dearden
There is no ‘cult of Corbyn’ – this is a movement preparing for power
The pundits still don’t understand that Labour’s new energy is about ‘we’ not ‘me’, writes Hilary Wainwright
Debt relief for the hurricane-hit islands is the least we should do
As the devastation from recent hurricanes in the Caribbean becomes clearer, the calls for debt relief for affected countries grow stronger, writes Tim Jones
‘Your credit score is not sufficient to enter this location’: the risks of the ‘smart city’
Jathan Sadowski explains techno-political trends of exclusion and enforcement in our cities, and how to overcome this new type of digital oppression
Why I’m standing with pregnant women and resisting NHS passport checks
Dr Joanna Dobbin says the government is making migrant women afraid to seek healthcare, increasing their chances of complications or even death
‘Committees in Defence of the Referendum’: update from Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte on developments as the Catalan people resist the Spanish state's crackdown on their independence referendum
The rights and safety of LGBTQ+ people are not guaranteed – we must continue to fight for them
Kennedy Walker looks at the growth in hate attacks at a time when the Tory government is being propped up by homophobes
Naomi Klein: the Corbyn movement is part of a global phenomenon
What radical writer Naomi Klein said in her guest speech to Labour Party conference
Waiting for the future to begin: refugees’ everyday lives in Greece
Solidarity volunteer Karolina Partyga on what she has learned from refugees in Thessaloniki
Don’t let Uber take you for a ride
Uber is no friend of passengers or workers, writes Lewis Norton – the firm has put riders at risk and exploited its drivers
Acid Corbynism’s next steps: building a socialist dance culture
Matt Phull and Will Stronge share more thoughts about the postcapitalist potential of the Acid Corbynist project
Flooding the cradle of civilisation: A 12,000 year old town in Kurdistan battles for survival
It’s one of the oldest continually inhabited places on earth, but a new dam has put Hasankeyf under threat, write Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson
New model activism: Putting Labour in office and the people in power
Hilary Wainwright examines how the ‘new politics’ needs to be about both winning electoral power and building transformative power
What is ‘free movement plus’?
A new report proposes an approach that can push back against the tide of anti-immigrant sentiment. Luke Cooper explains
The World Transformed: Red Pepper’s pick of the festival
Red Pepper is proud to be part of organising The World Transformed, in Brighton from 23-26 September. Here are our highlights from the programme
Working class theatre: Save Our Steel takes the stage
A new play inspired by Port Talbot’s ‘Save Our Steel’ campaign asks questions about the working class leaders of today. Adam Johannes talks to co-director Rhiannon White about the project, the people and the politics behind it
The dawn of commons politics
As supporters of the new 'commons politics' win office in a variety of European cities, Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel chart where this movement came from – and where it may be going