Roger Bate co-founded the European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF) with Dr John Emsley and Professor Frits Böttcher. A year earlier Bate had founded the Environment Unit of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) .
Amongst the ESEF's publications is Fearing Food: Risk, Health and Environment, co-edited by Bate and Julian Morris . The IEA website comments: 'In the latest ESEF book, Fearing Food, new agricultural and food technologies, including genetic engineering, are shown to be generally beneficial both to health and to the environment.' Contributors to the book included Michael Wilson , John Hillman and Dennis Avery .
Bate also directed and presented the BBC2 Counterblast programme 'Organic Food: The Modern Myth' (BBC2, 31 Jan 2000) in his role as Director of the European Science and Environment Forum.
In its mission statement on its original website , the ESEF described itself as 'a non-partisan group of scientists' and claimed, 'To maintain its independence and impartiality, the ESEF does not accept outside funding from whatever source, the only income it receives is from the sale of its publications'. (emphasis added)
However, documents released by tobacco giant Philip Morris show that ESEF was established with money from the tobacco industry - solicited by Bate. As Big Tobacco's European front organization, ESEF's task was to smuggle tobacco advocacy into a larger bundle of 'sound science' issues, including 'restrictions on the use of biotechnology.'
Shortly after the Philip Morris revelations the original ESEF website was taken down. It has subsequently been relaunched with a different domain name and now says, 'To maintain its independence and impartiality, the ESEF accepts funding from a wide variety of sources, except government donations.' The 'wide variety of sources' are not disclosed.
Bill Durodie of the Living Marxism network is among the authors most published by ESEF (Poisonous Dummies, Poisonous Propaganda, The Demoralisation of Science).
Bate's IEA Environment Unit co-director, Julian Morris, ostensibly had no direct connection with ESEF, but an ESEF domain inquiry prior to the disappearance of the original website revealed the following:
Registrant: European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF-DOM) UK
Domain Name: ESEF.ORG
Administrative Contact: Morris, Julian (JM4309) 101603.3004@COMPUSERVE.COM
European Science and Environment Forum
London, SW15 3HE
Given the Big Tobacco connection, it is perhaps no surprise to find the Director of the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health complaining that, 'Roger Bate of the Institute of Economic Affairs produces new variants of the familiar argument of the tobacco industry'. In pursuing the question of 'who is funding this work at the IEA' ASH noted ESEF's role:
'The organiser of the seminar at the IEA, Roger Bate is also a key member of something called the "European Science and Environment Forum". This body has recently published analysis that amounts to an attack on... findings on passive smoking.'
ASH also noted that tobacco research was not the only area where these players had been involved in jointly promoting dubious science for corporate purposes:
'Both Bate, the ESEF and the IEA have had a dry run for their work on tobacco. Roger Bate came to fame as the author of an IEA book dismissing the widespread scientific consensus on global warming "Global warming or hot air?". The ESEF also published a book of so-called sceptical science - this was the work of a small group of scientists. The word 'sceptical' dignifies something that was much more cynical. The aim was to create controversy and deflect public policy measures to combat climate change - something very similar appears to be happening with tobacco.'