Exposed: The Great Green LSE Con

  • Date: 23/10/16
  • David Rose, Mail on Sunday

How top university helped secure £9million of YOUR money by passing off rivals’ research as its own… to bankroll climate change agenda 

One of the world’s leading institutes for researching the impact of global warming has repeatedly claimed credit for work done by rivals – and used it to win millions from the taxpayer.

An investigation by The Mail on Sunday also reveals that when the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) made a bid for more Government funds, it claimed it was responsible for work that was published before the organisation even existed. Last night, our evidence was described by one leading professor whose work was misrepresented as ‘a clear case of fraud – using deception for financial gain’. The chairman of the CCCEP since 2008 has been Nick Stern, a renowned global advocate for drastic action to combat climate change.

He is also the president of the British Academy, an invitation-only society reserved for the academic elite. It disburses grants worth millions to researchers – and to Lord Stern’s own organisation.

The chairman of the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy since 2008 has been Nick Stern (pictured)

The chairman of the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy since 2008 has been Nick Stern (pictured)

On Friday, the CCCEP – based jointly at the London School of Economics and the University of Leeds – will host a gala at the Royal Society in London in the peer’s honour. Attended by experts and officials from around the world, it is to mark the tenth anniversary of the blockbuster Stern Review, a 700-page report on the economic impact of climate change. The review was commissioned by Tony Blair’s Government.

The Peruvian anchovy and four very fishy papers

The Peruvian anchovy and four very fishy papers

The review argued that the world had to take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or face much higher future costs. It has exerted a powerful influence on successive British governments and international bodies.

Part of the CCCEP’s official mission, which it often boasts about in its public reports, is to lobby for the policies Lord Stern advocates by presenting the case for them with British and foreign governments and at UN climate talks.

Last night, CCCEP spokesman Bob Ward admitted it had ‘made mistakes’, both in claiming credit for studies which it had not funded and for papers published by rival academics. ‘This is regrettable, but mistakes can happen… We will take steps over the next week to amend these mistakes,’ he said.

The Mail on Sunday investigation reveals today that:

  • The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which has given the CCCEP £9 million from taxpayers since 2008, has never checked the organisation’s supposed publication lists, saying they were ‘taken on trust’;
  • Some of the papers the CCCEP listed have nothing to do with climate change – such as the reasons why people buy particular items in supermarkets and why middle class people ‘respond more favourably’ to the scenery of the Peak District than their working class counterparts;
  • Papers submitted in an explicit bid to secure further ESRC funding not only had nothing to do with the CCCEP, they were published before it was founded;
  • The publication dates of some of these papers on the list are incorrect – giving the mistaken impression that they had been completed after the CCCEP came into existence.

Academics whose work was misrepresented reacted with fury. Professor Richard Tol, a climate change economics expert from Sussex University, said: ‘It is serious misconduct to claim credit for a paper you haven’t supported, and it’s fraud to use that in a bid to renew a grant. I’ve never come across anything like it before. It stinks.’

The paper cited by the CCCEP of which Prof Tol is a co-author was published online by the Ecological Economics journal on July 31, 2008.

At the time, he and the lead author, David Anthoff, were on the staff of the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin.

Their co-author, Cameron Hepburn, was at Oxford University. The research on ‘the marginal costs of climate change’ was funded by the European Commission and the Stockholm Environment Institute.

The CCCEP’s own first annual report reveals it did not start work until October 1, 2008, and even then spent most of its first few months establishing itself. It hired its first administrators that autumn and did not hold the first meeting of its academic ‘steering group’ until February 24, 2009. Yet in its list of papers submitted to the ESRC in its bid for funds, it claimed credit for the Ecological Economics paper, wrongly stating it was published in 2009.

Prof Tol said: ‘Our paper had no relationship to the CCCEP. It came out of David Anthoff’s masters thesis. At the time, the CCCEP did not exist, and it only came into existence after the paper was published. Fraud means deception for financial gain. That is what this is.’

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