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.
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 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.’