Former United Kingdom environment secretary Owen Paterson launched an attack against the “wicked green blob,” saying policies to stop global warming might do more harm than good.
“There has not been a temperature increase now for probably 18 years, some people say 26 years,” Paterson told an audience at the Conservative party conferenceover weekend. “So the pause is old enough to vote, the pause is old enough to join the army, the pause is old enough to pay its taxes.”
Paterson was fired from his spot as the U.K.’s top environmental regulator during Prime Minister David Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle in July. Paterson had been criticized for being a “climate skeptic” by political opponents and for opposing some laws aimed at fighting global warming.
“We were never told the pause was coming along, there are – as I understand it – about 30 different explanations for it and nobody explains why the pause is suddenly going to disappear and we’re going to get back on the track upwards, Paterson added.
“So I’m concerned that the measures being taken to counter projected dangers may actually may be causing more damage now than those dangers,” he said.
When pressed if he believed whether mankind was responsible for global warming, Paterson said there an “element” of human-induced change.
“I think the climate has always been changing,” Paterson said. “The CO2 we are putting in the atmosphere is bound to have some impact. What it is, I’m not a scientist.”
The U.K. has been suffering from high energy prices due, in part, to strict government and European Union environmental policies. Such rules have forced the U.K. to close down power plants that don’t meet green standards and put much of the country off-limits to development.
Strong environmental activism has also delayed U.K. shale gas development, which has kept the country reliant on expensive imports. Gas prices have grown so much in the last decade that many can no longer afford to heat their homes during winter — between 25,000 and 30,000 U.K. residents die every winter because they can’t afford to heat their homes.
Strict environmental rules have forced U.K. utilities to get more power from wind and solar energy, which suffer from reliability issues. The country is even contemplating paying factories and industrial facilities to close down during peak power demand hours to help ration energy.
After leaving office in July, Paterson authored an oped in the UK Telegraph, criticizing the influence the “green blob” of environmental groups held over public officials.
“This tangled triangle of unelected busybodies claims to have the interests of the planet and the countryside at heart, but it is increasingly clear that it is focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm while profiting handsomely,” Paterson wrote.
“I soon realised that the greens and their industrial and bureaucratic allies are used to getting things their own way,” Paterson added. “I received more death threats in a few months [as environment secretary] than I ever did as secretary of state for Northern Ireland.”
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