DUP's Wilson defiant after banning energy-saving ads

 

Northern Ireland’s Environment minister tonight said he had no intention of resigning over his controversial decision to ban a climate-change advertising campaign.

Environmentalists have demanded Sammy Wilson’s removal from office after he blocked TV and radio ads urging people to reduce their carbon output and use less energy in the home.

The Green party has tabled a motion in the Stormont assembly calling for the minister be sacked, while environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth also said he had to go.

But the DUP representative, who believes mankind is not to blame for global warming, said he was not going to be forced out of a job by people who don’t accept his point of view.

“Why should I resign?” asked the East Antrim MP. “I fulfil all my ministerial obligations in all areas of my department and the idea that I should resign just because I hold a different view from other people on what is a very controversial topic is nonsense. And it just shows the intolerance of these people if they think I should resign because I have a different opinion.”

The “Act on CO2” campaign was produced by the Westminster government but as devolved minister Mr Wilson has the authority to prohibit it being run in Northern Ireland.

Mr Wilson said his department pro-actively encouraged energy saving measures in Northern Ireland. However, he said the link between CO2 emissions and global warming was a matter of political debate and one he had the right to make his own decision on.

He said the adverts suggested that by switching off a standby light on their TV people could save the world. “That is patent nonsense,” he added.

While the DUP has made manifesto claims to tackle carbon emissions, Mr Wilson has remained an outspoken sceptic of the view that humans can influence the climate.

Instead, he believes the recent temperature changes are nothing different to the global weather shifts that have occurred over millions of years.

PA