“If we want to be prosperous and warm,” the Conservative MP Steve Baker has said, “we have to be really careful about how we get to net zero.” Known for his role as the head of the pro-Brexit European Research Group and, later, in the anti-lockdown Covid Recovery Group, Baker is now a key member of a new initiative: the Net Zero Scrutiny Group.
Among its members are Peter Lilley, a former cabinet minister and self-described “global lukewarmist”, the former Conservative minister Esther McVey, and others. Baker is also a trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which has published material questioning the consensus on climate science in the UK since it was launched by the former cabinet minister and long-time climate denier Nigel Lawson in 2009. The GWPF is characterised by opponents as a source of climate science denial – a claim it denies.
In recent weeks, the NZSG has called on the government to revisit its net zero commitment, arguing that the government’s prioritisation of the climate crisis is hurting the finances of its constituents. But the Guardian environment reporter Helena Horton, who has been following their rise, tells Nosheen Iqbal that few members of the group have voted to reduce poverty or supported measures to rein in energy prices.
Instead, the group – which officially includes 19 members of parliament – seems focused on reframing the conversation around the climate crisis.
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