Another reason to switch away from British Gas

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 16th December 2016

If rip off charges were not reason enough to leave British Gas, here’s another:

Centrica, the UK’s biggest energy supplier and owner of British Gas, has allegedly donated tens of thousands of dollars to a Texas-based climate denial think tank strongly linked to Donald Trump’s new energy secretary Rick Perry, Energydesk has revealed.

According to the investigation, Centrica, which is also 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. Centrica shares were down 0.65% this morning.

Energydesk said that Centrica refused to disclose the total sum that it had donated. But a leaked 2010 donor list reveals that its US subsidiary, Direct Energy, was among the TPPF’s largest donors that year.

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, threatening to destabilise the global Paris Agreement, where countries pledged to keep temperature rises below 2 C by investing more in clean energy and energy efficiency.

Stepping into a void of political will, a raft of businessmen, billionaires and philanthropists have recently stumped up more than $1 billion to invest in no carbon technologies.

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.”

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Good With Money comment: The body of scientific evidence on humanity’s role in pushing up global temperatures through the emission of greenhouse gases is overwhelming. 

Denying our own effect on the climate has been likened to denying the effects of smoking on our bodies.

However, fossil fuel companies are the most valuable in the world, making up a huge proportion of global stock markets. Their failure could have ramifications for the entire financial system. Climate change denial has long been an industry tactic to shore up value and bide time against what now looks like inevitable, terminal decline.

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Responding to the Energydesk investigation, Caroline Lucas MP said: “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.”

Want to tell British Gas how you feel about climate change denial? If you are a customer, leave it. Good With Money recently launched a campaign to switch people to 100% renewable energy suppliers, many of which are now competitive with the cheapest on the market. 

Visit our Star Switcher campaign page here.

Use this link and get £50 to sign straight up to Bulb, currently the cheapest 100% renewable supplier.