“And, even if it weren’t so..”

An interesting exchange today during questions to OFMDFM – Mark Devenport’s reaction is below the fold – when the Northern Ireland First Minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson, denied that the NI Executive’s Programme for Government commitment to reducing CO2 emissions was being undermined by the NI Environment Minister’s repeated statements about his own views on anthropogenic climate change. The opinion of the Environment Minister is, apparently, “academic” and does not affect Executive policy, but the NI First Minister went further..

“I think the scientific evidence is on the side of those of us who believe that man is having an impact on climate and, therefore, there is a necessity on the part of the Executive to be dealing with those issues. And, even if it weren’t so, I have to say that the possibility that it were should be enough to alert any responsible Executive to take whatever measures it can.” [added emphasis]

And any responsible Environment Minister?

Here’s the short Stormont Live studio discussion about that question and answer.

Crooked Timber’s John Quiggan has a [somewhat] related post on the US Environmental Protection Authority’s declaration that CO2 emissions, and those of other greenhouse gases, are a threat to public health.

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  • Faolchu

    In Michael Collins “Path to Freedom” he takes time to discuss Ireland’s potential sources of renewable energy. Today freedom from importing energy sources from abroad is still relevant and better for our economy. A reduction in burning fossil fuels is a good ECOnomic argument. But renewables aren’t enough so we have to face facts and get better energy conservation in homes, and start thinking where the Nuclear Power station is going to go, it needs to be beside the sea so Larne is my favourite site. The local MP would surely see benefits for the local and NI economy 😉

  • The Raven

    Interesting reading, for those that wish to, in Mark Lynas’ “Six Degrees”. Setting aside who did what to which planet, it sets out a degree by degree set of scenarios which show what may yet come and, scarily, what has already happened.

    He has, though, a nice way of showing how the impact of man at a micro level can upset the balance of things. The sea may be great, and our little boat so very small, but it makes for pertinent reading for those who think we have little or no effect.

    I was thinking of posting Sammy a copy. But on his wages, he can afford his own.

  • willis

    No doubt Peter is familiar with Pascal’s wager:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal_wager

    Still, Sammy must be pretty pleased to be described as “Academic”

  • This false dichotomy between Robinson and his party members’ more extreme views, which is not only relevant to climate change, should be challenged by the BBC. It is clearly a strategy that requires dishonesty to maintain, and it is the media’s role to expose that dishonesty – not to keep the TUV on the sidelines.

    Sammy Wilson does accept climate change, but not one that is unnatural. In an opinion piece for the newsletter, he wrote:

    “First of all can I make it clear I accept that we are experiencing climate change. Indeed climate change has been a feature of the history of our planet. The most modern history of the earth shows that these changes occur in regular cycles.”

    Robinson is being liberal with the truth when he says that his Minister accepts climate change. He has chosen not to overrule his party member on the issue, thereby lending support in a more tangible way than expressing opposition with this “slap-down.”

    If he believed a responsible Executive should take “whatever meaures it can”, he would ensure that it did. He has the power to do so, and he is choosing not to deploy it.

    Either he is a weak leader, or a liar. I find the latter more credible.

  • joeCanuck

    Willis,
    It might be a good bet but it has to be weighed against all the fun you will miss.

  • Joe

    Given the First Minister’s personal views on climate change, which seem to chime with the DUP at large, it begs the question of how Wilson’s credentials actually landed him in the Environment Ministry of all places.

  • The Raven

    ….must be a family member.