‘Unthinking Climate Change Worship Harming Britain’, UK Energy Minister Warns
Britain has been damaged by ‘unthinking climate change worship’, a senior Tory minister claimed today as the coalition parties clashed over going green.
Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey is using the floods crisis to launch an extraordinary attack on ‘diabolical’ and ‘wilfully ignorant, head in the sand, nimbyist’ Conservatives who question global warming.
But Conservative energy minister Michael Fallon has hit back, insisting now is not the time for ‘political’ squabbling.
In a speech to Institute for Public Policy Research, Mr Davey insisted the disaster that has befallen much of England demonstrates ‘the possible consequences of a world in which extreme weather events are much more likely’.
Mr Davey said climate change denial and Euro-scepticism are a ‘diabolical cocktail’ that threatens efforts to tackle global warming.
The attempt to exploit the flooding crisis to attack the Tories came as David Cameron came under pressure over his ‘money is no object’ pledge on aiding victims.
But Mr Fallon, the junior Tory minister in Mr Davey’s department, condemned the outburst by his boss. He told the Standard: ‘This is not a time for Coalition squabbling. We should all be focusing on getting people’s power back on and protecting the sub stations that are in danger of being flooded.
‘Unthinking climate change worship has damaged British industry and put up consumer bills.
‘It’s David Cameron who is cutting green taxes and steering Europe away from artificial targets.’
Mr Davey’s intervention will be seen as an attack on Environment Secretary Owen Paterson in particular, who harbours doubts about the degree to which man has contributed to global warming.
Mr Davey added: ‘From the right, fringes of the Conservative Party and Ukip are parroting the arguments of the most discredited climate change deniers – seizing on any anomaly in the climate data to attempt to discredit the whole.
‘This is undermining public trust in the scientific evidence for climate change – overwhelming though it is. And we can see around us today the possible consequences of a world in which extreme weather events are much more likely. This type of climate change denying conservatism is wilfully ignorant, head in the sand, nimbyist conservatism.
‘And when married to the europhobia innate to parts of the Conservative Party, you have a diabolical cocktail that threatens the whole long-term structure of UK climate change and energy policy.
‘If you accept the logic of climate change, you have to accept the logic of European co-operation to tackle it.’
He was backed by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who said: ‘It’s not a secret that in the Conservative Party you’ve got a fair number of people who just don’t accept the reality of climate change.’
Speaking on his weekly radio phone-in, the Lib Dem minister told LBC 97.3: ‘These very violent and volatile weather patterns are linked in some shape or form to climate change.
‘Other people are entitled to say, no we think it’s all baloney, but I think at a certain point you’ve just got to say, look come on, how many more times do you need to be told by people who know what they’re talking about that this happening, and we’ve got to do something about it.’
Former Conservative Chancellor Lord Lawson insisted there was no evidence that extreme weather was linked to climate change, and urged scientists to admit they did not know what was happening.
He told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme: ‘I think we want to focus not on this extremely speculative and uncertain area. I don’t blame the climate scientists for not knowing.
‘Climate and weather is quite extraordinarily complex and this is a very new form of science. All I blame them for is pretending they know when they don’t.’
He said the government should focus on how to prepare the nation to cope with extreme weather instead of trying to tackle climate change.
‘I think this is a wake-up call. We need to abandon this crazy and costly policy of spending untold millions on littering the countryside with useless wind turbines and solar panels and moving from a sensible energy policy of having cheap and reliable forms of energy to a policy of having unreliable and costly energy – give up that.
‘What we want to focus on, it’s very important, is making sure this country is really resilient and robust to whatever nature throws at us, whether there’s a climate element or not.
‘Water storage if there is a drought; flood defences, sea defences – that’s what we want to focus on.’