Devon MP Gary Streeter sceptical climate change is 'man-made'
A Conservative MP has revealed he is a "sceptic" of the view humans are responsible for global warming.
Gary Streeter, MP for South West Devon, contends that half of all Tory MPs are yet to be convinced that climate change is "man-made".
The Westcountry MP, a minister under John Major, has taken the Exeter-based Met Office to task – claiming the weather bureau's failure to forecast Britain's summer heatwave raises questions over longer-term predictions.
The Met Office's climate change centre is at the vanguard of scientific consensus that argues human activities are causing the planet to warm.
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But Mr Streeter argues predicting the weather is a "mug's game". The MP hits out at "green taxes" that are the result of "slavishly following the prevailing opinion".
His comments came in a column, written for the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News weekly newspaper this summer, entitled: "Is the need for going green a myth?"
He writes: "Some years ago, we were told that we were entering (and causing) a critical period of global warming. In European countries the reduction of carbon use became our highest priority. This year it emerged that the planet stopped getting warmer some years ago. Confusion.
"Forecasters told us in June that we are to expect a very wet summer and then a few weeks later they sprung a heatwave on us which has arrived in stunning fashion this week. Make your minds up guys!
"The lesson is surely that in our climate predicting the weather is a mug's game and all the technology and learning in the world does not seem to make it any better."
He adds: "A study of history indicates that climate change has always been with us. Our ability to predict the seasons much less to control or influence the weather is extremely limited." He goes on to detail challenging man-made climate change "enthusiasts" over "empirical evidence". "The only answer I ever get is a referral to the writings of various scientists," he says. "As I point out, that is not evidence, it is simply opinion. Opinion, even scientific opinion, goes through fashions and is subject to change."
He goes on: "I should think that at least two-thirds of my constituents and half of all Tory MPs consider that the case for man-made climate change has not been made."
The intervention, from a respected backbench MP, runs contrary to the views of David Cameron, who has underlined his green credentials.
A Met Office spokesman said: "There is a vast body of robust, peer-reviewed evidence produced by leading research centres around the world which shows that the world has warmed and most of that warming is very likely due to an increase in greenhouse gases caused by human activity. We'd welcome Gary Streeter to come in to our Exeter HQ to speak to our scientists about that evidence."
He added: "Our forecasts are right six days out of seven and today's four-day forecasts is as accurate as our one-day forecast was 30 years ago. For example, 87.7% of our next day maximum temperature forecasts are accurate to within 2C."