Ireland's Democratic Union Party can't have its Climate Cake

Ireland's Democratic Union Party can't have its Climate Cake
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There’s those few dinosaurs left out there who refuse to acknowledge the decades of science telling us that human activity is to blame for global warming. One of them just so happens to be the environment minister for Northern Ireland. 

North Ireland’s Environment Minister, Sammy Wilson, has blocked a series of public awareness ads on energy consumption and climate change calling it an “insidious propaganda campaign.” In a recent letter Wilson stated that he does “not believe that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are the main cause of climate change,” and that such campaigns promote “anthropogenic [human-made] climate change as gospel and as you are of no doubt aware, this is contrary to my views.”

In an odd statement on his website, titled “Sammy Wilson slams climate change deniers” Wilson states:

“Spending a day with Prince Charles has not caused me to have a Road to Damascus like conversion in regards to my views on climate change.

Although I do not believe in man made global warming, I do subscribe to the fact that there has been a change in the political climate in Northern Ireland over the last number of years, which was not naturally occurring but caused by the DUP.”

But it looks like the leadership of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), of which Wilson is a member, wants to have its climate cake and eat it too. The DUP is touting a climate agenda, but refusing to take action against they’re head-in-the-sand environment minister.

Peter Robinson, head Minister of the Democratic Unionist Party tried to distance himself from Wilson stating that:

“Mr Wilson was entitled to his opinions, although they did not reflect those of the DUP as a whole. He has provoked a debate in Northern Ireland which I suspect would not have taken place had he not made the comments, and every individual must be entitled to their view on the issue”

Robinson’s statement is completely disingenuous and nothing more than political baffle gab. Wilson is his environment minister, the person charged with promoting action to curb greenhouse gas emissions and his views are completely at odds with his party’s own manifesto.

The DUP’s 2007 Manifesto (PDF) states that:

“Currently Northern Ireland farmers are focused on the production of food. With climate change, increasing energy costs and changes to Government policies, renewable energy is likely to play a greater role in years to come. The DUP supports Northern Ireland becoming a centre of excellence for renewable energy and believes that this can provide an alternative land use for farmers.”
“There is a growing recognition of the need to protect our environment from both local and global threats. It is important that we in Northern Ireland not only look after our own environment but also play our part in global issues such as tackling climate change.”
“The DUP has supported the introduction of a Climate Change Bill at Westminster and called for year on year targets in order to achieve reduced Carbon emissions.Northern Ireland must play its part in that overall effort, and a new Executive should be proactive in this area.”

So either Robinson and the DUP are completely out of touch with the role their environment minister needs to play, or the commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions outlined in the party’s platform are nothing more than lip-service. People are calling for Wilson to step down and I think that the only way Robinson and the DUP can show that they’re going to do what they say on the issue of climate change is to meet those calls and oust their environment minister.

There’s too little time to sit around waiting for dinosaurs like Wilson to evolve.


This month we’re giving away FREE copies Nobel Laureate Dr. Andrew Weaver’s new book Keeping Our Cool: Canada in a Warming World.

Go here to find out more details about DeSmogBlog’s monthly book give-away.

Ireland's Democratic Union Party can't have its Climate Cake

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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