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Climate Change

Volume 545: debated on Thursday 17 May 2012

7. What steps he is taking to listen to a diversity of views on the causes of change in the Earth’s climate. (107616)

My Department considers many views on the causes of climate change, and I encourage my officials to take all available scientific evidence into account when developing policy. However, the fact that we are open to a range of views does not mean we ascribe equal value to each.

As with all scientific endeavour, climate science involves uncertainties, but it is considered very likely that human activities are the major cause of current climate change, and compelling evidence shows that climate change brings major risks for us all. It would be deeply irresponsible not to act decisively and urgently to deal with climate change in the United Kingdom and globally.

I am no scientist, and I do not know the truth about the controversies that are raging around global warming, although I note that Dr James Lovelock wrote recently that, in his view, temperatures had remained broadly constant over the last 12 years. I do not know whether that is right or wrong; what I do know is that before we spend trillions of pounds on reining in our competitive economy and desecrating our country with wind farms, we should actually listen to a range of views.

I know that, as a former distinguished Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, the hon. Gentleman wants to take evidence and science into account, and that he understands risk and probability. The case for action is overwhelming, whether it is made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or the Stern review.