Tag Archives: skeptical science

Owen Patterson, the Secretary of State for the Environment, on Any Questions

The Secretary of State for the Environment, Owen Patterson, recently graced Any Questionsthe BBC Radio 4 show, with his presence.

I listened to his performance and was utterly horrified. I knew he has quite a history when it comes to climate change but to hear him repeating so many climate change myths in such a short period of time was terrifying.

Luckily for you my dear reader, our friends over at skepticalscience.com have responded to his regurgitation of some old myths. It is worth reading their whole blog but I wanted to draw your attention to the manuscript of Patterson’s tirade where they have usefully hyperlinked every false claim to a separate myth busting page.

“Well I’m sitting like a rose between two thorns here and I have to take practical decisions – erm – the climate’s always been changing – er – Peter mentioned the Arctic and I think in the Holocene the Arctic melted completelyand you can see there were beaches there – when Greenland was occupied, you know, people growing crops – we then had a little ice age, we had a middle age warming – the climate’s been going up and down – but the real question which I think everyone’s trying to address is – is this influenced by manmade activity in recent years and James is actually correct – the climatehas not changed – the temperature has not changed in the last seventeen years and what I think we’ve got to be careful of is that there is almost certainly – bound to be – some influence by manmade activity but I think we’ve just got to be rational (audience laughter)  – rational people – and make sure the measures that we take to counter it don’t actually cause more damage – and I think we’re about to get -“

Peter Hain interjects at this point with the observation: 

“And this man is our Secretary of State for the Environment, for goodness’ sake!”

In ten seconds Patterson managed to discredit himself, Cameron (for it was he who chose him for this position despite knowing his ‘views’), and the entire reputation of the British government as one that takes climate change seriously.

Cameron cannot keep someone in such a key role who holds such fundamentally dangerous views about climate change. Either this government’s reputation goes or Patterson goes, Cameron can’t keep them both!

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Filed under Climate Change, Politics