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Friday, September 17, 2021

A climate change denier in the cabinet?

Boris Johnson has certainly surprised some commentators with the ruthlessness he employed in reshuffling his cabinet, however, his failure to scrutinise the views of some of his new senior ministers is par for the course, unless that is he doesnt really care.

As the Independent reports, the new Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, has a whole raft of unpopular opinions to her name. She is a long-time critic of the BBC, has argued that “left wing snowflakes are killing comedy” and “dumbing down panto”, and isa strong opponent of gay marriage. So far, so Tory.

More controversial however, must be the appointment of Anne-Marie Trevelyan as International Trade Secretary. As the Independent also reports, she has been accused of climate emergency denial after a series of tweets came to light in which she insisted the world was not getting hotter and dismissed global warming campaigners as “fanatics”:

In the messages, sent between 2010 and 2012, Anne-Marie Trevelyan approvingly quoted the work of groups which have rejected the mainstream scientific consensus that human activity is driving climate change.

And she stated that one such group had provided “clear evidence that the ice caps aren’t melting after all, to counter those gloom-mongers and global warming fanatics”.

Her elevation to the cabinet somes just weeks ahead of the COP26 UN conference being chaired by Boris Johnson in Glasgow, at which the prime minister is hoping to persuade countries from around the world to sign up to ambitious carbon-cutting targets. Let's hope that the other delegates have not been studying Trevalyan's history:

Her controversial comments on climate change date back to before she entered parliament in 2015, but after she had fought the previous general election as a Tory candidate

In one tweet, backing a campaign against wind farms in 2012, she said: “We aren’t getting hotter, global warming isn’t actually happening.”

And in another message she praised as “intelligent” an article about the “global warming myth” by the Climate Realists group, who argue that temperature rises cannot be blamed on manmade carbon emissions.

In 2011, she gave her support to outspoken climate emergency denier Lord Lawson for “hitting back” at then energy secretary Chris Huhne’s “ideological obsession with manmade climate change”.

Hardly the best choice for such a sensitive role.

What is the reason for Trevelyan's advancement? She does not have a high media profile which seems to be the dominant criterion for the other promotions. Does she bring donor money with her?

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