« Tory MPs "say no" to votes for sixteen year-olds | Main | Another sign of the Conservative Party's increasing suspicion of the climate change agenda »

Andrew Tyrie MP leads Tory rebels on Climate Change Bill

Yesterday the Commons debated the Government's Climate Change Bill and a commitment to reduce the UK's carbon output by at least 60% by 2050.  Although the Conservative leadership supported the Bill it only imposed a one line whip fearing a big rebellion from sceptical Tory MPs.   Christopher Chope, David Heathcoat Amory, Peter Lilley, John Maples and John Redwood all raised tough questions about the Bill while Peter Ainsworth, Tony Baldry, John Gummer and Tim Yeo spoke in its support.  Concern was led by Andrew Tyrie, MP for Chichester.  We republish three key extracts from his contribution below.

Tyrie_andrew There is not a scientific consensus: "I note that the only reliable survey that has been conducted of 550 of the world’s leading climate scientists says that two thirds are convinced that most of the observed warming is related to human action. In other words, a third are not convinced of that. It is worth bearing in mind that many of the so-called 2,500 scientists in the IPCC process vehemently disagree with the panel’s conclusions, even though they support the section on the science in the main report on which they have worked."

The dangers of unilateral action: "No other country has been foolish enough to consider such a measure. It is a profound mistake to take the unilateralist route. First, we contribute only 2 per cent. of global emissions. Secondly, if we go ahead unilaterally, the UK will be disproportionately hit because we will increase our cost base when other countries have not increased theirs. A third reason is that although UK emissions will fall, they will reappear, probably at even higher levels, as the industries that we closed down with our higher cost base reopen in China and elsewhere. Finally, once we have acted unilaterally, the Chinese will have every incentive to delay an international agreement. That point has not been made at all today. After all, why should they rush to agree anything when they can acquire our industrial base and those of other countries silly enough to go it alone? It is regrettable that the Government have not even thought through the issue enough to make the Bill’s implementation conditional on some action by others. At least the EU approach to cutting carbon emissions contains some conditionality."

The hounding of climate change sceptics: "The subject has acquired some of the characteristics of a religion: apocalyptic predictions abound, and they make good copy. Over nearly 20 years since I first looked at the issue when I was at the Treasury working for John Major, I have become saddened by the way in which the calmer voices of many orthodox scientists and economists, particularly those who do not agree with the current policy prescriptions, have often been drowned out. All the incentives are against speaking up about the subject. Some have described Professor Lindzen of Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the father of modern climate change. He wrote recently that “scientists who dissent from…alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libelled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse… Only the most senior scientist today can stand up to this alarmist gale.”  I have spoken to a number of the UK’s most senior specialists on the subject, and some feel similarly coerced. I shall read to the House a quotation from one of the major businesses in the UK. It says that “the more one looks behind…climate change policy…the more it is based on patent absurdities… Anybody who reveals the truth is scorned.” A leading economist has said: “I have learnt that to say anything about the subject is to be assailed by fundamentalist crackpots.”  Those people are concerned about speaking up but cajoled into not doing so. That is a bad climate in which to take such decisions as this Bill."


You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.