Friends of the Earth urge PM to ‘give Owen Paterson the boot’

Hundreds of wellington boots have been dumped outside Defra's offices this morning (9 July) by Friends of the Earth campaigners calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to sack Environment Secretary Owen Paterson for his perceived failure to take climate change seriously.

The environment charity’s campaign, ‘Give Owen Paterson the boot’, is calling for Mr Paterson to be sacked in the coming cabinet reshuffle, stating that the minister’s failure to accept the science of man-made global warming makes his position untenable.

Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Guy Shrubsole said: “It’s simply not credible for a man who doesn’t believe in man-made global warming to be put in charge of protecting the country from climate change.

“Owen Paterson thinks we can all just relax and adapt to climate change. He should try telling that to the thousands of people who had to wade in their wellies through filthy floodwaters during our wettest winter ever.

“Owen Paterson is out of his depth – David Cameron should give him the boot as soon as possible.”

The protest follows yesterday’s news in The Independent that Owen Paterson resisted offers from the Met Office’s chief scientist to brief him on climate change science. Professor Dame Julia Slingo made the offer in September, days before the release of a series of reports from the United Nations climate change panel.

Government advisors have also called on the Coalition today for increased investment in UK flood defences, underlining the negative effect of budget cuts. In the progress report from the Committee on Climate Change advisors called for the introduction of new enhancements in infrastructure to counter severe flooding and heat waves.

Owen Paterson revealed his views on climate change at a Conservative Party conference last year: “People get very emotional about this. People should just accept the climate’s been changing for centuries.”

In January Mr Paterson was criticised by residents in Somerset when he visited the flood struck county without any welly boots. He was accused of simply using the visit as a photo opportunity.

Matt Field

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