John Constable

John Constable

Credentials

  • B.A., English, Magdalene College, Cambridge. [1]
  • Ph.D., English, Cambridge University. [1]

Background

John Constable is the Energy Editor of the Global Warming Policy Forum, the campaign arm of the climate science denial group the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). Constable was appointed to the position five months before joining the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council. [2], [3], [4]

Constable has privileged access to parliament by being registered as a member of staff for another GWPF academic advisory council m/ember, Lord Matt Ridley, as of June 2017. Constable’s accreditation lists him as director of TAXA publishing and does not mention his role with the GWPF. [5]

Constable was previously director of policy and research at the anti-wind energy campaign group, the Renewable Energy Foundation, whose funding sources are currently unknown. A 2011 report by Constable was funded by ScottishPower Energy People Trust and a 2012 report was commissioned by Calor Gas Ltd. TV presenter Noel Edmonds set up the group and served as chairman when his Devon home became threatened by a windfarm development. [6], [7], [8], [9], [10]

The Renewable Energy Foundation was the subject of a complaint related to its campaigning activities which led to a meeting with the Charity Commission to “discuss amending its objects to accurately reflect the charity's activities and purposes.” [6]

Constable has been a vocal critic of government energy policy and has long opposed subsidies for renewable energy. He was chairman of a local anti-wind farm campaign group called NOWAP until it was dissolved in 2014. [11], [12], [13], [14]

Constable came under fire in 2015 when it was revealed he would be heading a new research unit called the Buckingham Energy Institute at the private University of Buckingham, which the free-market think-tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), was influential in establishing. [7], [15]

Constable has written for the think-tank Civitas on environmental policy, claiming that a shift to renewable power would make the economy stagnate. A 2013 report by Constable was dismissed by the Department for Energy and Climate Change as a “manifesto for imported gas,” rejecting the argument that energy bills would soar due to green policies. [16], [17]

Along with the GWPF, Civitas is among the cluster of organisations based at 55 Tufton Street which broadly share a pro deregulation, free-market outlook, and have been heavily involved in campaigning for Brexit. [18]

Stance on Climate Change

April 2016

When asked during a government committee session whether the country might go back to carbon-based energy generation, Constable stated: “It is entirely conceivable… I am certain we will need to build combined cycle gas turbines.” [19]

March 30, 2015

Responding to criticism of his track record on campaigning against renewable energy, Constable told the Independent: [7]

There is a strong case for reducing emissions as part of an insurance policy against climate change. However, the premium for that insurance policy must be affordable and proportional to the risk.” [7]

June 2012

In a debate on wind power, Constable accused the green movement of “bullying OECD governments into adopting legal mandates for low carbon solutions that are technically primitive and consequently ludicrously expensive.” [20]

Key Quotes

August 10, 2017

In an article entitled “The Scottish wind power racket”, co-written with Matt Ridley and published on the CapX website, Constable claimed wind farms “aren’t welcome” in Scotland, arguing that “the Government in Westminster should put its foot down, in the interests of us all, and stop Holyrood consenting new wind farms and extensions in Scotland.” [21]

February 2016

In an article entitled “Revealed: the great wind farm tax 'con'” Constable told the Sunday Telegraph that government support for onshore wind power is “just spin doctor stuff, it’s playing with words.” Constable had recently joined the Global Warming Policy Forum as energy editor. [22]

May 2013

In a Civitas report Constable states that shifting to renewable energy would mean, “more people would be working for lower wages in the energy sector, energy costs would rise, the economy would stagnate, and there would be a significant decline in the standard of living.” [16]

Key Deeds

May 11, 2019

Constable wrote an article for the Global Warming Policy Forum entitled “Is the Long Renewables Honeymoon Over?” Constable argued that the renewables industry was suffering “deep-seated structuro-physical weakness,” outlining problems being experienced in the wind energy industry. He ended the article by saying: “One explanation, the sole necessary one in my view, is that the physics is against this industry, and that the physics is beginning to tell.” [28]

June 14, 2018

Constable spoke in a Financial Times energy summit debate, opposing the motion, “Fossil fuels are doomed,” stating that “for my own part I suspect renewables really are doomed, on physical grounds, and that the axe of thermodynamic reality is already falling.” [23]

June 6, 2018

Constable wrote an article for CapX criticising the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, despite having insisted in a Guardian comment article three years before that he was “not anti-wind farms – but they should be offshore.” [24], [11]

April 25, 2018

Constable was quoted in a Daily Mail article by long-time climate science denier James Delingpole as saying wind energy will never be a solution “because of fundamental physics” and that the industry merely “gives the illusion that there has been massive technological progress.” [25]

June 28, 2016

Constable joined the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s “Academic Advisory Council”. [4]

April 2016

Constable appeared in front of the House of Lords’ Scottish Affairs committee, and said it is “entirely conceivable” the UK will return to carbon-based power generation despite government support for renewables. The GWPF, Scotland Against Spin and the Scientific Alliance Scotland also gave evidence during the session. [19]

February 2016

Constable is quoted in the Sunday Telegraph article titled  “Revealed: the great wind farm tax ‘con’” criticising the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) re-examination of public funding for onshore wind. [22]

January 31, 2016

Constable was appointed energy editor of the Global Warming Policy Forum, the campaign wing of climate science denial thinktank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation. [27]

March 30, 2015

The Independent reported Constable was to head-up a new Energy Institute at the University of Buckingham — the UK’s only private university, which has strong ties to the Global Warming Policy Foundation. The institute has yet to be set up. [7]

May 2013

Constable authored a paper called “Are Green Times Just Around the Corner?” for right-leaning thinktank Civitas, saying a shift to renewable power would make the economy stagnate. [16]

June 13, 2012

Constable took part in a debate on wind power at the Cheltenham Science Festival, speaking against the motion, “This house believes that Britain should be a fan of wind energy.” In his address, he accused the green movement of “bullying OECD governments into adopting legal mandates for low carbon solutions that are technically primitive and consequently ludicrously expensive.” [20]

Also speaking against the motion was Ben Pile, ex-researcher for UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom and co-founder of the Climate Resistance blog which rejects the scientific consensus on climate change. [20]

August, 2011

Constable authored a paper entitled The Green Mirage for right-leaning thinktank Civitas, arguing that “target-led, state-managed and subsidy-driven clean energy policies are likely to cause the premature adoption of costly technologies exhibiting low productivity, with resulting net economic contraction and wealth destruction.” [26]

Affiliations

Social Media

  • John Constable does not appear to be active on social media.

Publications

Resources

  1. Debate: Blackouts or breaking the rules, is UK electricity in jeopardy?Renewable Energy Foundation. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/1fOCu. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  2. Who we are,” Global Warming Policy Forum. Archived January 23, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/m93oU

  3. Kyla Mandel. “Anti-Wind Campaigner John Constable Joins Lord Lawson’s Climate Sceptic GWPF Think Tank,” DeSmog, February 16, 2016.

  4. John Constable joins GWPF’S Academic Advisory Council,” Global Warming Policy Foundation. Archived January 23, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/BsAug

  5. Register of Interests of Lords Members' Staff – by Member's name: letter R,” Parliament. Archived June 18, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  6. Leo Hickman. “Will the real Renewable Energy Foundation please stand up?The Guardian, May 18, 2011. Archived January 23, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/q2lE0

  7. Tom Bawden. “Britain's leading private university ‘becoming a mouthpiece for fossil-fuel industry’,” The Independent, March 30, 2015. Archived January 23, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/UeRYq

  8. John Constable. “Shortfall, rebound, backfire,” Renewable Energy Foundation, 2012. Archived January 23, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/0Q7MX

  9. Energy Policy and Consumer Hardship,” Renewable Energy Foundation, 2011. Archived February 11, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  10. Mike Swain. “Noel Edmonds on how the Government is ignoring the energy crisis,” The Mirror, February 3, 2012. Archived January 30, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/0hNqU

  11. John Constable. “We're not anti-wind farms - but they should be offshore,” The Guardian, January 11, 2007. Archived January 23, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/rjjgg

  12. Turbines go-ahead for Suffolk wind farm,” National Wind Watch, July 27, 2007. Archived January 23, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/Od52q

  13. NOWAP stands for NO WIND FARM AT PARHAM,” NOWAP, March 2005. Archived October 20, 2013. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  14. NOWAP LTD: Filing history,” Companies House. Archived January 23, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/KET8m

  15. Chris Parr. “Anthony Seldon to be next Buckingham v-c,” Times Higher Education, April 16, 20015. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/pGguf. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  16. John Constable. “Are Green Times Just Around the Corner?Civitas: ideas for economic growth, Issue 6, May 2013. Archived January 23, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  17. Will Nichols. “DECC slams Civitas 'manifesto for imported gas',” BusinessGreen, May 17, 2013. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/aNlDz. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  18. Kyla Mandel. “Mapped: The Cosy Climate-Euro Sceptic Bubble Pushing for Brexit and Less Climate Action,” DeSmog, June 13, 2016.

  19. Kyla Mandel. “MPs Slam Anti-Wind Power Campaigners: You Seriously Want To Go Back to Fossil Fuels?DeSmog, April 13, 2016.

  20. Cheltenham Science Festival Wind Power Debate,” Renewable Energy Foundation, June 12, 2012. Archived January 23, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/xokXZ

  21. John Constable, Matt Ridley. “The Scottish wind power racket,” CapX, August 10, 2017. Archived January 23, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/afKe5

  22. Emily Gosden. “Revealed: the great wind farm tax 'con',” The Telegraph, February 13, 2016. Archived January 23, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/E8aUP

  23. John Constable. “Speech at the Financial Times energy summit,” Global Warming Policy Forum, June 20, 2018. Archived January 23, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  24. John Constable, “Rampion wind farm is a black hole for taxpayers’ money,” CapX, June 6, 2018. Archived January 23, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/sUgK9

  25. James Delingpole. “The world's biggest wind turbine – nearly three times the height of Big Ben – is to be built off the North-East coast… but JAMES DELINGPOLE says the idea these giants will solve our energy problems is simply hot air,” Daily Mail, April 25, 2018. Archived January 23, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/UPhtz

  26. John Constable. “The Green Mirage: Why the low carbon economy may be further off than we think,” Civitas, 2011. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  27. John Constable joins GWPF as Energy Editor,” Global Warming Policy Forum, 31 January, 2016. Archived January 31, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/kQMPo

  28. John Constable. ”Is the Long Renewables Honeymoon Over?” Global Warming Policy Foundation, May 11, 2019. Archived June 20, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/KbWAU

Other Resources

Photo: Screengrab via Parliament TV