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Dinosaurs and Deniers abound in Northern Ireland

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There's those few dinosaurs left out there who refuse to acknowledge the decades of science telling us that human activity is to blame for global warming. One of them just so happens to be the environment minister for Northern Ireland.

North Ireland's Environment Minister, Sammy Wilson, has blocked a series of public awareness ads on energy consumption and climate change calling it an "insidious propaganda campaign." In a recent letter Wilson stated that he does "not believe that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are the main cause of climate change," and that such campaigns promote "anthropogenic [human-made] climate change as gospel and as you are of no doubt aware, this is contrary to my views."

In an odd statement on his website, titled "Sammy Wilson slams climate change deniers" Wilson states:

"Spending a day with Prince Charles has not caused me to have a Road to Damascus like conversion in regards to my views on climate change. Although I do not believe in man made global warming, I do subscribe to the fact that there has been a change in the political climate in Northern Ireland over the last number of years, which was not naturally occurring but caused by the DUP."

But it looks like the leadership of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), of which Wilson is a member, wants to have its climate cake and eat it too. The DUP is touting a climate agenda, but refusing to take action against they're head-in-the-sand environment minister.

Peter Robinson, head Minister of the Democratic Unionist Party tried to distance himself from Wilson stating that:

"Mr Wilson was entitled to his opinions, although they did not reflect those of the DUP as a whole. He has provoked a debate in Northern Ireland which I suspect would not have taken place had he not made the comments, and every individual must be entitled to their view on the issue"

Robinson's statement is completely disingenuous and nothing more than political baffle gab. Wilson is his environment minister, the person charged with promoting action to curb greenhouse gas emissions and his views are completely at odds with his party's own manifesto.

The DUP's 2007 Manifesto (PDF) states that:

"Currently Northern Ireland farmers are focused on the production of food. With climate change, increasing energy costs and changes to Government policies, renewable energy is likely to play a greater role in years to come. The DUP supports Northern Ireland becoming a centre of excellence for renewable energy and believes that this can provide an alternative land use for farmers."

"There is a growing recognition of the need to protect our environment from both local and global threats. It is important that we in Northern Ireland not only look after our own environment but also play our part in global issues such as tackling climate change."

"The DUP has supported the introduction of a Climate Change Bill at Westminster and called for year on year targets in order to achieve reduced Carbon emissions.Northern Ireland must play its part in that overall effort, and a new Executive should be proactive in this area."

So either Robinson and the DUP are completely out of touch with the role their environment minister needs to play, or the commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions outlined in the party's platform are nothing more than lip-service.

People are calling for Wilson to step down and I think that the only way Robinson and the DUP can show that they're going to do what they say on the issue of climate change is to meet those calls and oust their environment minister.

There's too little time to sit around waiting for dinosaurs like Wilson to evolve.

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