One of Boris Johnson’s first moves as the UK’s newly elected Prime Minister has been to put a climate science denier in the government.
Monmouth MP David T.C. Davies has been made a Minister in the Wales Office, and Assistant Government Whip. He has previously claimed that it is “not proven” that carbon dioxide is responsible for what he describes as a “relatively small” amount of global warming since the industrial revolution.
In a parliamentary debate to ratify the Paris Agreement in 2016, Davies repeated the debunked trope that the climate has always been changing. In the same debate, he blamed the BBC for accepting “hook, line and sinker the so-called scientific consensus on climate change”.
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In March 2018, in his regular column for the South Wales Argus, Davies accused the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of being “alarmists”.
He also criticised the government’s approach to pursuing low carbon energy saying, “an unholy coalition of environmentalists working with big businesses have persuaded various British ministers to phase out cheap electricity from coal and gas and replace it with non-CO2 generating alternatives such as wind, solar and nuclear.” As a government whip, Davies will be partly responsible for delivering the government’s agenda, including its climate policy and pledge to make UK emissions net-zero by 2050.
The Conservative’s 2019 general election manifesto said the party supported the development of new offshore wind power and nuclear energy, would not support fracking for shale gas, and would “lead the global fight against climate change”. Those messages were echoed in today’s Queen’s speech laying out the government’s agenda, alongside re-affirming the government’s commitment to hosting next year’s annual UN climate talks and creating a “world-leading” green watchdog.
Davies has not responded to questions from DeSmog about whether he fully supports the government’s position on climate change and agrees with mainstream science on the seriousness of climate change.
Read more about David T.C. Davies’ (mis)deeds in DeSmog’s Disinformation Database
DeSmog has previously reported on how Boris Johnson’s first cabinet, which remains largely unchanged, was one of the least amenable to climate action in recent history.
Davies’ position on climate change echoes that of Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has likewise publicly doubted the veracity of mainstream climate science and blamed “climate alarmism” for energy prices.
Johnson has himself previously questioned what he described as the “conventional doctrine of climate change”, and admitted to consulting notorious climate science denier Piers Corbyn, calling him a “great physicist and meteorologist”.
The Prime Minister’s views appear to have evolved since then, though the government’s official advisors the Committee on Climate Change last week felt compelled to write and urge him to get the UK’s “house in order” regarding climate action.
Image: Chris McAndrew/Wikimedia Commons CC BY 3.0