Stewart ‘disappointed’ with self over radio interview

Environmental campaigner says passion for climate change ‘got better’ of him

Environmental campaigner and possible European parliament candidate Duncan Stewart has expressed disappointment in himself for his performance on radio yesterday morning. Photograph: Dara Mac Domhnaill / The Irish Times

Environmental campaigner and possible European parliament candidate Duncan Stewart has expressed disappointment in himself for his performance on radio yesterday morning. Photograph: Dara Mac Domhnaill / The Irish Times

 

Environmental campaigner and possible European Parliament candidate Duncan Stewart has expressed disappointment in himself for his performance on radio yesterday morning.

In a statement to The Irish Times emailed late last night, he said: “Unfortunately in a radio interview today [Monday] my passion for the subject of climate change got the better of me and for that I’m very disappointed with myself.”

Stewart was interviewed on Newstalk FM shortly after 9am by Shane Coleman on the Newstalk Breakfast programme, but their conversation, billed to be about climate change and the media, quickly descended into a squabble, with Stewart demanding a commitment that he would be interviewed for a further 10 minutes - or otherwise he would exit the studio.

After a spat lasting a minute and a half he was given the commitment and went on to urge the media, and all of society, to take seriously the threat of climate change which, he said, was the greatest threat facing humankind. He also said he would have no difficulty being elected an MEP, should he choose to run, saying it was “a simple matter”.

Reaction to the programme was swift and negative, from Stewart’s point of view.

In the brief statement, Stewart said: “Climate change is an issue that gives me sleepless nights and in the wake of last week’s IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN body] report, I’ve felt overwhelmed by the challenge of getting that message out. It’s the greatest challenge we face and my biggest regret from today is that I missed a chance to get this point across clearly.

“I’ve spent the last 20 years trying to get important messages out to the general public and I feel I’m constantly working against the tide even as this crisis becomes ever more urgent. This issue is too important to be lost in controversy or miscommunicated, and in the future I’ll endeavour to be more constructive in getting this message across.”

Efforts by The Irish Times to contact the former RTÉ presenter proved fruitless yesterday, but late last night he made email contact via a family member. However, it was too late for inclusion in today’s newspaper.

It remains unclear as to whether Stewart will throw his hat into the ring for the forthcoming European elections.