Why does he keep phoning Piers Corbyn for advice?
The Tory former minister in charge of climate change Clare O’Neill said recently that Boris Johnson told her he doesn’t “get” climate change.
If he said this, then for once, he was right. Here’s 9 examples of him not getting climate change.
1.When he said fracking was “an answer to the nation’s prayers”
Although he now opposes fracking, in 2013 he said that shale gas reserves had appeared “as if by miracle” and fracking was “an answer to the nation’s prayers”. Fracking produces huge amounts of methane, a contributor to climate change.
2. When he failed to attend the climate change debate on Channel Four
In 2019, every party leader except Johnson and Farage attended Channel Four’s climate change debate. An ice sculpture took Johnson’s place.
3. When he accepted thousands of pounds from climate change deniers
The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) is the UK’s most influential climate change denying lobby group. Leading Nasa climate scientist James Hansen calls it “one link in a devious manipulation of public opinion”.
It is funded by a hedge fund manager called Michael Hintze. He also gave £5,000 to Boris Johnson. One of GWPF’s directors is Terence Mordaunt. His company gave £25,000 to Boris Johnson.
4. When, based on the advice of climate change denier Piers Corbyn, he said warm winter weather wasn’t a sign of climate change
Globally, 2015 was the warmest year on record and, in December in the UK, it was at least 3 degrees celsius hotter than average.
To take advice on whether this was caused by climate change, Johnson says he spoke to climate-change sceptic (and brother of Jeremy) Piers Corbyn who he calls “the great physicist and metereologist”.
Based on Corbyn’s advice, Johnson concluded that global leaders who wanted to cut emissions “were driven by a primitive fear that the present ambient warm weather is somehow caused by humanity; and that fear – as far as I understand the science – is equally without foundation”.
5.When, again on Piers Corbyn’s advice, he said cold winter weather may mean climate change wasn’t happening
In 2013, it was snowing and Johnson phoned “learned astrophysicist, Piers Corbyn” for advice. “According to Piers, global temperature depends not on concentrations of CO2 but on the mood of our celestial orb,” Johnson wrote.
Johnson concluded: “Now I am not for a second saying that I am convinced Piers is right; and to all those scientists and environmentalists who will go wild with indignation on the publication of this article, I say, relax. I certainly support reducing CO2 by retrofitting homes and offices – not least since that reduces fuel bills. I want cleaner vehicles.”
“I am speaking only as a layman who observes that there is plenty of snow in our winters these days, and who wonders whether it might be time for government to start taking seriously the possibility — however remote — that Corbyn is right. If he is, that will have big implications for agriculture, tourism, transport, aviation policy and the economy as a whole. Of course it still seems a bit nuts to talk of the encroachment of a mini ice age.”
“But it doesn’t seem as nuts as it did five years ago. I look at the snowy waste outside, and I have an open mind.”
In fact, climate change is making both unusally hot winters and unusually cold winters more common, as National Geographic explains.
6.When he scrapped the expansion of London’s congestion charge
The congestion charge is a tax on vehicles entering central London, introduced by Labour Mayor Ken Livingstone in 2007. It was designed to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions by encouraging cycling and public transport use.
It originally included parts of Kensington and Chelsea but Johnson exempted these areas in 2011. He also abandoned Livingstone’s proposal for a congestion charge on ‘gas guzzlers’ like Range Rovers, saying it would make a “tiny impact” and was a way of “giving a kick” to “posh people”.
7.When he said he encouraged people to have barbecues in defiance of the UN’s “irritating” suggestion people should eat less meat
In a 2008 Telegraph column, he said: “I don’t want to seem churlish in the face of advice from a body as august and well-meaning as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But if they seriously believe that I am going to give up eating meat – in the hope of reducing the temperature of the planet – then they must be totally barmy.”
“No, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, distinguished chairman of the panel, I am not going to have one meat-free day per week. No, I am not going to become a gradual vegetarian. In fact, the whole proposition is so irritating that I am almost minded to eat more meat in response. Every weekend, rain or shine, I suggest that we flaunt our defiance of UN dietary recommendations with a series of vast Homeric barbecues.”
He said that the real problem was over-population and that Olympic athletes eat Mcdonald’s not salad.
8.When he dodged a vote on Heathrow Airport expansion
Johnson, as an MP for a constituency near Heathrow, promised in 2015 to “lie down in front of the bulldozers” to stop Heathrow Airport’s expansion.
When he was Foreign Secretary in 2018 though, he spent £20,000 of taxpayers money flying to Afghanistan on the day of a parliamentary vote on expansion. Critics say he dodget the vote to avoid having to either resign from the cabinet or break his promise to oppose expansion.
9.When he wanted to build an airport in the Thames Estuary
His opposition to Heathrow’s expansion was to do, not with climate change, but simply the fact his constituents were against it. This is shown by the fact he was simultaneously suggesting we should build a new airport in the Thames Estuary or expand Stanstead Airport.
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