Centrica, the UK’s largest energy company, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to a Texas-based climate denial think tank, which is strongly linked to Donald Trump’s new energy secretary Rick Perry, according to Energydesk.
Centrica, which owns British Gas and is a major investor in UK fracking, has made a number of donations to the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) over the last five years and says it has no plans to stop.
When contacted by Energydesk, Centrica refused to disclose the total sum that it had donated to the group. But a leaked 2010 donor list reveals that its US subsidiary, Direct Energy, was among the TPPF’s largest donors that year, with a payment of $20,000.
Other donors in 2010 included ExxonMobil, Chevron, the Koch brothers, Devon Energy and a host of other energy companies and climate sceptic funding bodies.
The Austin-based think tank has played a central role in the US climate denial movement, which is now poised to take control of energy and environmental policy under Donald Trump.
Centrica has previously sought to position itself as corporate leader on climate action. Earlier this year its head of environment said that “climate change is one of society’s greatest global challenges.”
Responding to the news, Caroline Lucas MP told Energydesk:
“For a company that has claimed to be at the forefront of action on climate change, it is simply astounding that Centrica is donating money to climate deniers.”
“Now that these links have come to light, we need a clear commitment from Centrica to end all further donations. It is shameful that one of our largest energy companies is linked to this reckless and irresponsible organisation, and I hope an apology will be issued shortly.”
Hannah Martin, Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said:
“Centrica claims to be ‘a world leader for action on climate change’ but has been donating thousands of dollars to a climate sceptic think tank with links to Trump’s new energy secretary Rick Perry and Ted Cruz. Perhaps it’s just a case of the right hand not knowing what the left is doing, but this can only undermine Centrica’s credibility on tackling climate change.”
“With so many friends in the Trump administration, the US climate denial movement hardly needs a UK company’s money to keep peddling their nonsense. If Centrica is serious about its claims of corporate integrity, it’s time for them to rethink who they give money to and clearly state they won’t give money to climate sceptic outfits.”