Wilson voices doubts over climate change

Minister for the Environment Sammy Wilson has dramatically spelt out his scepticism about whether humans are responsible for global warming.

Minister for the Environment Sammy Wilson has dramatically spelt out his scepticism about whether humans are responsible for global warming.

Writing exclusively in today's News Letter, the DUP MP controversially slams what he describes as the "hysterical pseudo-religion" of climate change, and calls for a reasoned debate on whether the activities of mankind have triggered current weather trends.


Mr Wilson has in the past voiced doubts about whether CO2 emissions are responsible for increasing temperatures, but never outlined his thoughts in such a detailed manner as he does today. The article is of particular significance given his recent elevation at Stormont with responsibility for the environment.

Placing himself at odds with mainstream environmentalists, both locally and internationally, the East Antrim MLA emphasises that he accepts climate change is happening. However, he argues that there have been natural cycles throughout history and have pre-dated industrial CO2 output.

Mr Wilson's article drew a sharp and immediate response from green groups.

John Woods, director of Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland, said: "In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence he is like a cigarette salesman denying that smoking causes cancer. Ironically, if we listen to him Northern Ireland will suffer economically as we are left behind smarter regions who are embracing the low carbon economy of the future."

Green Party Executive member Peter Doran invited Mr Wilson to attend the next UN-sponsored negotiations on limiting national CO2 output.

"Sammy would discover that he is in a rapidly declining group of sceptics and that he is almost unique in that he holds a deeply irresponsible message on the causes and implications of climate change," he said.

But Mr Wilson won support from Nigel Calder, a former editor of the New Scientist, who urged him to "be strong".

He said that out of 2,500 scientists involved in the last IPCC report on climate change only 62 agreed with its conclusions that man was responsible: "There are a string of high-ranking professional scientists saying man-made climate change is rubbish," he added.

And Dr Patrick Moore, a founding member of Greenpeace, said Mr Wilson was "certainly right" that climate change has been happening for millions of years. "It has a much better correlation with changes in solar activity than CO2 levels," he said. The last IPCC report on climate change had excluded important input from earth scientists and physicists about ancient changes in the earth's climate and the influence of the sun, he said.

A green party response to Mr Wilson's comments will be published in Saturday's News Letter.

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