Liam Fox is the Secretary for International Trade and Conservative MP for North Somerset. He has a long history of being allied to transatlantic groups that fund and spread disinformation on climate change.
A right-wing Brexit supporter, Fox was appointed to his current cabinet role in July 2016 after the UK’s successful vote to leave the EU. Fox returned to government after a six year gap. In 2011, he was forced to resign from his position as Defence Secretary after it came out that he allowed his friend and lobbyist Adam Werritty to attend meetings at the Ministry of Defence without the necessary security clearance. As an unofficial, undeclared advisory, Werritty also joined Fox for meetings with foreign dignitaries.
Between 1997 and 2011, Fox founded and chaired the controversial Atlantic Bridge think tank. The group had close ties to the American Tea Party movement beforeit was forced to dissolve in October 2011 following criticisms from a 2007 Charity Commission investigation which found the group appeared to primarily exist to promote policy positions that mirrored those of the conservtaive Party. The group had also signed a partnership with the D.C.-based lobby group, the American Legislative Council (ALEC), known for pushing bills undermining environmental laws.
As International Trade Secretary, Fox works to coordinate international trade deals as the UK begins the process of leaving the EU. A US-UK trade deal is top on the agenda, and this has seen Fox hold repeated meetings with D.C.- based think tank the Heritage Foundation, known for supporting climate science denial and being highly influential in shaping the new Trump administration. Fox has a long held close relationship with the Heritage Foundation from his work with the Atlantic Bridge, and Fox’s former special adviser Luke Coffey now works at the Heritage Foundation.
Stance on Climate Change
While Fox hasn’t publicly said much about climate change, his voting record suggests it is not a priority. Over the years Fox has mostly voted against measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, Fox sits within a network of hardline pro-Brexit, anti-regulation individuals and organisations, many of which also deny the science on climate change or have worked to limit action to tackle climate change. For instance, Michael Hintze, a key funder of the UK’s climate science denying think tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation, was also the main sponsor of Fox’s Atlantic Bridge.
Fox met with two neoconservative think tanks during his first trip to the United States after the 2017 general election. According to documents obtained by DeSmog UK via the Freedom of Information Act, Fox held a breakfast meeting with think tanks and business associations in Washington D.C. during his trip on 19-20 June. In attendance was the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Heritage Foundation – both influential think tanks backed by corporations and conservative foundations.
During his first post-Brexit trip to the United States, less than two weeks after being appointed International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox met with the climate science denying neoconservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation.
An attendees list shows that Fox addressed 16 Heritage Foundation staff, including the think tank’s president Jim DeMint, and executive vice president, Bret Bernhardt, over lunch “to explain the formation of the Department and UK priorities on trade and our EU renegotiation”, according to the meeting notes.
Liam Fox voted against setting a decarbonisation target for the UK within six months of June 2016 and to review it annually thereafter.
In the same month he also voted against requiring a strategy for carbon capture and storage for the energy industry.
Liam Fox voted against requiring the setting of a target range for the amount of carbon dioxide (or other greenhouse gases) produced per unit of electricity generated.
Liam Fox voted against requiring the UK Green Investment Bank to explicitly act in support of the target of reducing UK carbon emissions to 20 percent of 1990 levels by 2050.
Fox’s Atlantic Bridge establishes a special partnership with US think tank ALEC.
Liam Fox launches the Atlantic Bridge. Fox said the group’s mission was “to bring people together who have common interests.” The group would defend these interests, he said, from “European integrationists who would like to pull Britain away from its relationship with the United States.”
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