MP George Eustice says climate sceptics should be heard
Science questioning climate change should not be "rubbished or ridiculed", a Westcountry MP charged with devising energy policy for David Cameron has said.
George Eustice, Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth, says he believes there is a link between carbon emissions and warming the planet, but argues "all perspectives" should be heard.
Climate change sceptics, such as former Chancellor Nigel Lawson, have raised a series of concerns over man-made climate change arguments and its impact, from claiming warming has stopped to contending governments are adopting punishing polices to adapt to and mitigate the threat.
The Exeter-based Met Office, a world-leading authority on changes to the climate, is adamant there is a long-term warming trend – and humans are largely responsible for the rise – and has said critics have their "head in the sand".
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Cornwall MP Mr Eustice is soon to be part of an eight-strong team of Conservatives developing policy within No 10, and will advise on energy and climate change.
He said: "I am personally persuaded that there is a link between carbon emissions and climate change but it is essential that all perspectives in this argument are heard.
"I don't like the way that legitimate, yet contrarian scientific opinion on the issue has been rubbished or ridiculed. Sometimes those who believe in climate change have foolishly undermined their own case."
Conservative peer Lord Lawson, who established the Global Warming Policy Foundation, has accused climate scientists of "manipulating" records of global temperature and called for a "an open and reasoned debate" about climate change policies.
Mr Eustice, whose family run a farm near Hayle, West Cornwall, indicated his work will include a review of renewable energy subsidies.
Last year, more than 100 Tory MPs sent a letter to David Cameron arguing for a cut in support for onshore wind power.
Ministers have decided on a 10% cut to subsidies – which are paid for through household energy bills – against calls from Conservative backbenchers to slash support by 25%.
As the Wave Hub energy terminal falls in his constituency, Mr Eustice led the campaign to increase the level of subsidy given to wave and tidal power – which is far more immature than onshore wind – to give parity to Scotland, a rival to the Westcountry for green jobs.
Mr Eustice said: "One of the areas we will obviously want to examine is the balance between supporting research and development into improving green technology versus spending money on subsidising inefficient technologies.
"Energy taxes can exacerbate fuel poverty in the South West and we need to be very clear that these subsidies are being well spent."
The Cornwall MP, formerly David Cameron's Press aide, has raised concerns about the visual impact of wind turbines on the countryside and the impact of large solar energy farms on taking away farming land.
The family Trevaskis Farm has recently installed solar energy panels, and "every drop of energy they produce will be consumed on site" and will save over 20 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, the farm says on its Facebook page.
Mr Eustice said the panels, which will provide one-fifth of the farm's energy needs, are on a much smaller scale than industrial-sized solar schemes that route power back to the grid, which he has argued should face stricter planning controls.