Roger Bate

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Roger Bate was a think-tank staffer with an economics degree who has held a variety of positions in libertarian lobby groups including the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) and European Science & Environment Forum (ESEF) in the UK and the Competitive Enterprise Institute(CEI) and American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in the United States.

He was a life-long think-tanker and commercial lobbyist for a number of major poisoning and polluting industries, and a promoter of an extreme liberatarian ideology.


In the mid-1990s, Bate was an employee of the right-wing British think tank, the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA).

In 1998, he published an article in the United Kingdom paper Financial Times attacking the idea of regulating secondhand smoke, cigarette advertising and health warning labels on cigarette packs.[1] He also published an article criticizing the World Health Organization (WHO), which argued that the WHO was trying to eliminate individual freedom.[2][3]

In the mid 1990s, Bate ran the "Environmental Unit" of the IEA, which took positions to counter health and environmental activism[4] IEA received funding from British American Tobacco (BAT)'s department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (CORA, among others.[5][6]

Formation of ESEF

In 1994, Roger Bate, then Director of the Environment Unit at the Institute of Economic Affairs, London, and two others also from the IEA (Julian Morris and Lorraine Mooney), established the European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF) in the UK. This was funded by Philip Morris as a European version of Steve Milloy's The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC). The project which was known in the tobacco archive documents either as "Euro-TASSC" or various on "European TASSC." It was actively promoted to Philip Morris as a project by both APCO and Burson-Marsteller.

In addition to being a founding director, Roger Bate was listed a Committee Member of ESEF. ESEF claimed that, to maintain its scientific independence, it did not take donations from any source, but made money only from sales of their materials. However, in 1997, ESEF and The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, which was controlled by the tobacco industry, issued a press release in which the two organizations had the same description.[7][8][9]

Documents show that the organization's priorities were to attack regulatory science in general, and "establish ESEF as a scare watchdog" for the media. [1] As head of ESEF, Roger Bate had an aim of establishing ESEF as a credible source of information for media, mainly by mobilizing independent, third party scientists to publicly advance industry arguments. One Philip Morris document titled "International Public Health Strategy" describes how ESEF's name could be used to attract scientists who would advocate industry positions.[10][11]

The ESEF set up a book-editing and editorial-writing program, promoting Risk Assessment in U.K. and European agencies involved in regulation.[12] They also set out to challenge the World Health Organization (WHO) and decry health and environmental activism based on so-called junk science, especially where it related to environmental tobacco smoke, or ETS, and the possibilities of climate change through air pollution.[13]

Work for the tobacco industry

Bate worked for Philip Morris Corporate Services (PMCS) Brussels in the late 1990s at the rate of 800 pounds sterling per day. In a letter to David Greenberg of PM New York dated September 4, 1998, Bate offered to continue working for PM at the same pay rate. In the letter, Bate sought PM's support for his anti-malaria project, saying the project would " ... afford me, and several colleagues, the opportunity of writing opinion articles and books ... about the disparity between the current and correct roles of environmental public health."[14]

Global Warming Activities

Bate countered environmentalists' global warming assertions with a skeptical view of the science [2].

Bate joined others, such as Fred Smith of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Grover Norquist (Americans for Tax Reform -- key strategist of Newt Gingrich's Republican Party faction), Fran Smith (editor of Consumer Alert - a corporate funded "consumer" magazine) and a number of other business lobby organisations, in taking a skeptical view on the issue of global warming. However the public had accepted the dangers of environmental tobacco smoke and the reality of global warming, so ESEF went into decline.

Agriculture and Risk

Bate is also joint author, with Julian Morris of a book, Fearing Food: Risk, Health and Environment. The IEA website describes the book in the following way : "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." (Fearing Food was published by Butterworth-Heinemann in September 1999).

Current Activities

Roger Bate's current work focuses on U.S. and international aid policy, performance of aid organizations, and health policy in developing countries, particularly with regard to malaria control and the use of DDT. Between 2003 and 2005 he was the Chairman of Africa Fighting Malaria, a pro-DDT lobby group. He remains a board member of the group.[15]

Bate has written extensively on the benefits of DDT to control the spread of malaria in Africa. The WHO approved the use of DDT for malaria control in September 2006.

Some have criticized Bate for his comments regarding the resurgence of Malaria in Sri Lanka, saying that the cessation of DDT spraying led to "half a million" cases of malaria. The source Bate himself cites explains that DDT spraying was stopped because they thought the disease had been irradicated and immediately restarted when they realized it hadn't. It was later stopped again when the mosquitoes developed resistance, but Bate continued to demand further DDT spraying.[citation needed]



A Philip Morris email from a file titled "Consultants" written by John Roberts (position unknown)and sent to Matthew Winokur and David W. Bushong, both of PM, about Roger Bate states, "I think Bate is a very valuable resource and have strongly recommended that he play some role at UN level. I recall that we paid him up to GBP 10,0000 per month ... There is one additional person I would recommend as deserving of consideration too and that is John Bowls. Where Bate's principal interest Is Malaria, Bowls's is mental health, I believe them to be complementary resources. Best wishes, John"[16]

There has been some controversy surrounding a book Bate attempted to fund in the 1990s. In 1996, Roger Bate approached R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company for a grant of £50,000 to fund a book on risk, containing a chapter on passive smoking [17] , but the grant request was denied and the money was never received. That same year he wrote the article "Is Nothing Worse Than Tobacco?," for the Wall Street Journal and in 1997, the ESEF published What Risk? Science, Politics and Public Health, edited by Roger Bate which included a chapter on passive smoking. The Tobacco Institute was involved with a chapter in the book.[18]

In January 2001 the Earhart Foundation contributed $25,000 to the Competitive Enterprise Institute for "the period November 2000 through July 2001 to prepare a monograph When Politics Kills - The Political Economy of Malaria Control, Roger Bate, Research Principal". [3]

The Internal Revenue Service returns of AFM for 2004 and 2005 reveal that for 30 hours a week work Bate was paid $100,000 a year. [19][20]

Contact Details

American Enterprise Institute
1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-828-6029
Assistant: 202-862-4876
Fax: 202-862-7177
E-mail: RBate At

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles


  1. Roger Bate, Financial Times A Myth Stubbed Out April 20, 1998
  2. Roger Bate, "A New Kind of Health Club,” Wall Street Journal Europe, May 15, 2000
  3. Author unknown Media file explanned (sic) Undated. British American Tobacco Bates No. 770010321
  4. Keith Gretton Institute of Economic Affairs January 18, 1995. British American Tobacco Bates No. 503104585
  5. Roger Bate Letter from Roger Bate to Keith Gretton, November 2, 1995. British American Tobacco Bates No. 700370193
  6. Lisa MacLellan, Institute for Economic Affairs Letter from Lisa MacLellan to Sharon Boyse enclosing overview of current programme on recent article by Roger Bate, January 8, 1996. British American Tobacco Bates No. 503104845/4846
  7. Eliza Ong, Tobacco Industry Strategies to Undermine Tobacco Control Activities at the World Health Organization July 2000. Bates No. 770007956-770008214, at Page 221.
  8. Author unknown European Science and Environment forum Mission statement. Circa 1994. British American Tobacco Bates No. 800160658/0659
  9. Author unknown. Mission Statement Undated. 2 pp. British American Tobacco Bates No. 325124816-325124817
  10. RB (Presumed to stand for Roger Bate), ESEF Work for Coming Months Undated. 2 pp. British American Tobacco Bates No. 800160673/0674
  11. Author unknown. International Public Health Strategy September, 1989. Philip Morris Bates NO. 2065246729/6734
  12. Institute for Economic Affairs What Risk? - Science, Politics and Public Health Promotional flier. October 1997. 2 pp. British American Tobacco Bates No. 321335478/5479
  13. Simon Millson Action Points from the WHO International Convention Meeting on Thursday 14 January Undated. British American Tobacco Bates No. 321839838
  14. Roger Bate Political Economy Research Center Letter, September 4, 1998. Philip Morris Bates No. 2065246736/6737
  15. Africa Fighting Malaria, "Board & Staff: AFM Board Members", Africa Fighting Malaria website, accessed January 2009.
  16. Roberts J Bate Email. October 21, 1998. Bates No. 2065246717
  17. Environmental Risk Proposal. August 7, 1996. R.J. Reynolds Bates No. 515952606/2609
  18. A. Bryanbrown Dr. Gori Letter. September 15, 1998. Bates No.527890541
  19. Africa Fighting Malaria, "Form 990 2004", p.4.
  20. Africa Fighting Malaria, "Form 990 2005", p.5.

External links

Biographical Notes

Articles By Bate