FG adviser a sceptic on climate change


FINE GAEL’S leading policy adviser on the environment is a sceptic on climate change, but said he would “absolutely not” be advising the new Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, on what he should do about it.

Dr Conor Skehan, head of the environment and planning department at Dublin Institute of Technology, said his scepticism about the scientific evidence for climate change was a “personal position” as a result of spending “a long time on the stump”.

Dr Skehan said had written scripts and policy papers for Fine Gael for 20 years, most recently for Mr Hogan as its environment spokesman. However it was “Labour’s policies that found their way” into the new Government’s agreed programme.

Delivering a lecture at the Institute for International and European Affairs in July 2009, Dr Skehan said “new information” had shown that “we do not live in a particularly warm world” because graphs showing temperature anomalies were “flat”.

“We are now . . . in the 12th successive year of non-warming – 12 years straight, a very uncomfortable fact.”

He also disputed any link between temperature and carbon-dioxide (CO2) levels.

Showing graphs to the audience, he said: “We’re starting to find more and more diagrams like this that are more and more causing us to ask if we are correct in what we regard as the fundamentals of things that are driving climate and CO2 policy.”

Referring to polar bears in the Arctic, Dr Skehan said the only area where they were actually decreasing was “because the tribe of people who live in that area made their living by selling their licences to shoot polar bears to American tourists”.

In the lecture he suggested the Dublin Port Tunnel should be extended under the city centre “and suddenly our city centre traders can have huge multi-storey carparks under Clerys, under Arnotts, under Brown Thomas”.

“We could take it further and fantasise about having a city that isn’t just a place that you’re trying to keep cars out of, it’s a place that you’re actively trying to bring cars into and use them and accept the reality that the car is with us and will always be with us.”