“climate change is a threat to civilisation..”

BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport notes on his blog that before becoming the ultra-sceptical, and conspiratorial, new Environment Minister, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson was signing Early Day Motions in the House of Commons like this one from Frank Field in Feb 2008.

“The EDM expresses concern at the “alarming rise in deforestation rates in the Amazon rainforest over recent months” and ” further notes that deforestation already accounts for 20 per cent. of global carbon dioxide emissions each year and that curbing deforestation is one of the single most effective ways of halting catastrophic climate change”. And I thought Sammy didn’t believe in this stuff and nonsense…”

Indeed. It’s not the only example, either. There’s EDM 178 from Michael Meacher back in May 2005, calling for a Climate Change Bill, signed by, among many others, Sammy Wilson, MP.

That this House agrees with the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser that climate change is a threat to civilisation;

As the Parliament website states about EDMs

..very few EDMs are actually debated. Instead, they are used for reasons such as publicising the views of individual MPs, drawing attention to specific events or campaigns, and demonstrating the extent of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view.

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  • DC

    Oh dear, the problem with conflicting and contradictory messages is that it doesn’t do the individual’s nor the party’s nor the Region’s reputation any good.

    How can NI compete for regional credibility when we have an administration not co-ordinated internally to a set of clear goals, and in terms of the environment much of Europe is behind the move for change. On your own is not a cool place to be, even if Sammy Says believes it to be.

    Was it quoted on Slugger before that a good start is half the battle?

  • DC

    Cont’d…A year in and I have absolutely no ‘consistent’ picture in my mind of just what this Assembly is up to.

    For example, education, environment, enterprise, investment (Maze), planning….

    The only positive thing which still has currency is the image of a generally much wider political transformation sown outside to Europe and USA and beyond. And it is a good springboard, very positive, largely linked to Blair and Ahern, Trimble and Adams. All have gone, Adams is there just about in presentational terms.

    People may mock the Policing and Justice issue but I believe this is a reputation builder but the education issue has been badly handled, academic ability needs to be measured and captured in order to determine how to boost under-performing pupils. Anyway, I’m about to digress again…

  • Steve

    Hypocracy from the DUP ……. say it isn’t so

  • Turgon

    This is somewhat off thread but the lack of internal co ordination and consistency is part of the nature of our bizarre system of government. Due to the mutual interlocking vetoes, mandatory coalition etc. there is no way out of it save to scrap the whole thing and start again.

    On the issue of climate change I do not want to be a defender of Sammy Wilson but I suppose that one could say that although one was sceptical of climate change the precautionary principle along with the other good reasons to reduce oil dependence might mean that tackling our use of fossil fuels was still sensible.

    Of course Pete’s links do seem to suggest Sammy once believed in climate change but now does not. I suppose once he believed in SF not being in government.

  • paul kielty

    Oh dear! Samuel, samuel, samuel. Tut, tut, tut!!

    Isn’t it amazing how many politicians, ( not just our sammy ) Quickly change tune when it is they, whom are elevated in to the position of responsibility over something, as oppossed to standing and ranting from the sidelines.

    Hillarious. Well done mark devenport for picking up on that.
    Sammy can at least console himself in the knowledge that he was not the first, nor indeed will the last to be caught WITH HIS PANTS DOWN.

  • DC

    Steve, I think this could be idiocracy.

  • DC

    “but the lack of internal co ordination and consistency is part of the nature of our bizarre system of government. Due to the mutual interlocking vetoes, mandatory coalition etc. there is no way out of it save to scrap the whole thing and start again.”

    Yes of course but it is linked to the political system Turgon to which you have yet to offer any alternatives that would have exchangeable worth in a wider Northern Ireland context.

    It’s not perfect, but at least there is a democratic path there, the voting system can be overcome by the people. The only clear way to overturn it is to get the support by which to discharge down both blocs and sign yourself out of it, or co-operate among those to get same, I imagine.

    At the very least, culture and language ought to be respected as they have meaning internally and externally. Internally NI populace wants it and externally, tourism likes it, particularly if the demand is genuine. Also it puts Northern Ireland on a cultural footing which other countries enjoy and confidence in oneself helps the image of NI and makes us more relational in terms of other EU states. Win-win.

  • Turgon


    I do not intend to hijack Pete’s thread but despite all your flowery rhetoric the simple fact remains that there is an alternative based on a voluntary coalition with weighted majorities etc. There is also an alternative of Direct Rule. The fact that you do not like these alternatives is irrelevant: it is perfectly reasonable and democratic to argue for them. If people like me fail that is democratic, if, however, we succeed that is also democratic.

    Actually it is not a case of the majority of both blocks needed to collapse the system; if the majority of either block decide that they do not want the current system of government then they can collapse it.

    As to your views of “win-win”: not all of us regard what has happened here as a win: abject surrender to criminals is another way to describe it.

  • DC

    Yes Turgon but creating and then getting the substantive political mandate to discharge down both blocs with effect would be very significant, democratically and indeed politically.

    It isn’t about one-bloc leaving it’s about people, what’s in their minds and the motivation to get them to back what needs to be done. I’m afraid you leave me uninspired that you can do that without rushing to the colours.

    Fluidity from hybridity – concepts for change to inspire confidence, belonging and a basis to build on. No?

  • Turgon

    “…get them to back what needs to be done”

    What exactly has the current farce at Stormont done: very little as far as I can see. That is of course in part due to the disastrous idiotic system of government.

    In terms of me inspiring you, I believe it was you who said this about me:
    “Shove your traditional ethno-religious stuff, never got NI anywhere substantive and also I’m tired of reading about TUV and Jim Allister’s bitter capital punishment loving Unionist party. Mick Fealty needs his head looked at for continuing to place a part of Slugger up the anus of the rotting corpse of ultra-Unionism, despite your attempt to be learned using Shakespeare and World War analogies.”

    I will be able to sleep tonight in spite of my clear failure to inspire someone as open minded, liberal and polite as yourself.

  • DC

    Turgon, everyone is liable to become tired and emotional with that things can become personal. I am not perfect myself but I suppose it helps me to realise other imperfections and therefore I tend not to place all my convictions absolutely into absolutism.

    Besides, what was said above was out of sheer frustration. Was it not traditional unionists who at the time of the Convention said that the SDLP were as much republicans as SF-IRA, etc. And that power couldn’t be shared with disloyalists, etc. Unionism has backtracked and has shown that it should have collapsed long ago due to its own incompetence.

    Even the Orange Order now has succumbed to glamourous gangsterism with hip paramilitaries allowed in over the policy of running down the number of Chaplains etc to keep the thing alive and walking. Thus immediately violating any credence of that concept of the Worshipful Master, righteousness associated with the notion of a truly undivided brethren, etc, etc. U-turns, Turgon, u-turns.

  • joeCanuck

    Sammy only believes about 3% of the global warming problem. His own words.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    Maybe he’s just playing to the gallery (a large one, sadly) of flat-earth DUP supporters and members.

  • Comrade Stalin


    I’ve a suspicion that you’re only supporting voluntary coalition because you believe it wouldn’t have Sinn Fein in it.

  • Different Drummer

    Turgoning The Change in Political Atmosphere:

    “Of course Pete’s links do seem to suggest Sammy once believed in climate change but now does not. I suppose once he believed in SF not being in government.”

    Emmissions from Jim Alister will be worse.

  • Peat Blog

    SDLP and others are just as dumb on climate change. There vociferous opposition to PPS14, which would help cut emmissions by concentrating development in urban areas, spings to mind. Their rhetoric on the environment often contradicts with their policy stances, particularly on planning issues were you can get any local councillor to blindly support almost any development proposal.

  • interested

    First prize to Turgon in the “lets make every issue about SF in Government” competition.

    Are you sure that having SF in Government isn’t actually causing climate change Turgon?

    Pathetic… and you were supposed to be one of the more intelligent TUVvies.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    As we are witnessing all over the globe today civilization is a threat to climate change, morelike!

  • earnan

    another good excuse to tax you up and down without a corresponding reduction in other taxes

  • Turgon

    Fair criticism except for the slur that I am one of the more intelligent TUVvies: I am proud of my stupidity and resent any allegations of any intelligence. Any more comments like that will lead to me suing for defamation of character.

    On the issue (ie not SF in government) I have significant sympathy for Sammy Wilson on this. I am not entirely convinced about the human contribution to global warming. However, I do think it is only wise to take sensible precautions to reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide etc., use alternative fuels, reduce general consumption, to recycle etc. (I plan to get a wormery from this lot soon as well as one of these things).

    I guess I am a semi green semi sceptic on climate change.

  • ggn

    I have found it amazing that judging from the politics of the assembly that it seems that nationalists are generally concerned about climate change and unionists are generally sceptical.

    But could it have a religious factor? i.e. being sceptical about climate change means being sceptical about climatologists, the people we pay to know about these things, is this related to the fact that on many many occasions science finds itself at odds with abramhamic religon.

    For example, evolution, the age of the planet, source of homosexuality.

    If you dont believe scientists when they say we evolved as a species then naturally you wont believe them if they give out about global warming.

    I have heard American Christians voice the opinion that the bible commands humanity to exploit the earth even to the point of destruction but I have yet to hear that here.

  • Peat Blog

    Bit of an unfair generalisation there ggn.

    Having said that there is some truth to the fact that the individualism that characterises protestanism, the dominion over the earth stuff literally taken from the Good Book, and the tendency towards neo-liberal economics would appear to hold sway amongst unionist parties in our wee Assembly. However, I feel that unionist politicians do not accurately represent the breadth and depth of protestant thinking (thank all those middle-class liberals who don’t vote for the skew).

    Also, as referenced previously above (16.), the SDLP’s (and to a lessor extent Sinn Fein’s) ambiguity over PPS14 and the positive impact that such a policy would have on the environment shows that nationalists like to talk the talk but…