Sammy Wilson Addresses Climate Change Rally
The recent cold snap has lead to all sorts of jokes about the so called "greenhouse effect". If only climate were as easy to understand as saying more carbon in the atmosphere, leads to higher average temperature, leads to less snow. No... an unstable climate with an atmosphere saturated with carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse gases" will actually lead to less predictable weather patterns... it may make for less ice at the poles during summer, but it could lead to a disruption of the jet stream and gulf stream, making us in Northern Ireland as snowbound as Newfoundland in winter.
In the light of that the announcement on Monday that, in contravention of his party's and department's stated commitments, Northern Ireland environment minister Sammy is seeking to enforce a NI-wide ban on Westminster-funded ads and programmes that are aimed at reducing carbon emissions, is not very funny.
His actions are apparently based on his personal belief that Man-Made Climate Change is unproven, and that the Green movement has turned this issue into a pseudo-religion, where he is happy to pay the part of heretic.
Whatever my personal feelings about Mr Wilson or his party's stance on many issues, AND my personal conviction that the scientific evidence for Man-made Climate Change is almost irrefutable, I do understand some of his comments about the green movement, which is SO convinced as to the critical nature of this issue that they are, at times, almost irrational in their stridency. I also have my doubts about some government commitments: Are all the so-called "green taxes" going to resource green initiatives, or simply act as a source of alternative, acceptable funding in these cash-strapped times? Are their initiatives re light-bulbs properly thought through re full-life cost of disposing of low energy bulbs with high levels of toxic materials in them, and have they thought through the implications of lower light levels for those who are sight impaired? The complexities of reducing emissions and lowering energy use are almost as labyrinthine as the actual effects of climate change...
However, there are 2 things that need to be said here:
1) Whether or not it causes climate change (and I am convicned it does), pumping large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere is not a good thing and should be reduced anyway where possible.
2) This goes hand in hand with the reduction of energy consumption. This is good from an environmental perspective (keeping carbon locked in to fossil fuels for longer and conserving resources) but also an economic one, both on a personal and community level. Saving energy ultimately saves money. Sammy Wilson has demonstated that he is no scientist. But he is, reputedly an economist.