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Blair, Schwarzenegger and Deripaska – the…

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Arnold Schwarzenegger California state
Governor of California

Blair, Schwarzenegger and Deripaska
What do Tony Blair, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, and onetime Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger all have in common? The answer: a British lobbying group. The trio can all be linked via an influential London-based organisation

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signed the state of California up to work with

called The Climate Group, which was set up in 2004. According to its website, the non-profit group was established to “kickstart a new dialogue around climate change and mobilise cross

The Climate Group Environmental group
Launched in April 2004 with support from former UK prime minister Tony Blair.

sector support for industrial and political action to cut global emissions of greenhouse gases.” Its growing membership includes well-known companies such as BP, Marks & Spencer, HSBC, BSkyB, Tesco, Virgin and Nike. Small states and governments are also signed up, including Catalonia, Chicago, the Greater London Authority, Western Australia, Ontario and

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supports a climate change initiative by

Quebec. Scotland became the latest member on the Climate Group’s list after the

Tony Blair Former Labour Prime Minister
Former Labour MP for Sedgefield

Scottish National Party joined up last month (Nov 2009). But how are Blair, Deripaska and Schwarzenegger involved and linked through the group? In 2008, Tony Blair launched a new initiative called Breaking the Climate Deadlock, for which The Climate Group provided “strategic international support”. Blair and The Climate Group now have a strong partnership. However, the former prime minister had been supporting Climate Group initiatives long before his official partnership was unveiled last year, including an event in July 2006 when he shared a stage in LA with California governor Schwarzenegger, whom the group hoped would be making an appearance at one of its events in Copenhagen this month.   Steve Howard, chief executive of The Climate Group, said at the time: “We have convened the roundtable so that Prime Minister Blair and Governor Schwarzenegger can discuss practical ideas with business leaders.”

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published a climate change report which was in part funded by

Oleg Deripaska Russian oligarch
Chief executive officer of Basic Element and of RUSAL, a Russian aluminium company

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invited the followng to holiday on his yacht

Schwarzenegger’s state of California is one of the group’s members. Oleg Deripaska, the billionaire who infamously hosted shadow chancellor George Osborne on his yacht in 2008 and has also had meetings with

Lord Peter Mandelson Business secretary
Secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, president of the Board of Trade

Lord Mandelson, has a less pronounced link than Blair and Schwarzenegger. But it turns out Blair’s Breaking the Climate Deadlock report submitted to the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit in June 2008 – partnered by The Climate Group – was given “additional financial support” by Oleg Deripaska, in his capacity as chairman of Basic Element, an investment company set up in 1997.

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The Russian is understood to be worth around £15bn. Deripaska praised Blair in the accompanying press release, which did not mention he had helped to pay for the aforementioned report: “This report is unquestionably a very important contribution Tony Blair is making to the post-Kyoto discussions.”

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