Owen Paterson’s comments will have done little to combat a growing conviction among many working in energy and climate change that Britain has an Environment Secretary whose heart isn’t really in global warming.
Asked to respond to widespread accusations that he is a climate sceptic, Mr Paterson assured The Independent that he wasn’t.
“It is quite obvious that the climate is changing and has been changing over the years. It is also clear there is a human element which we should not ignore,” he said.
Mr Paterson then added.
“But, equally there are all sorts of other things that affect climate change. This is an area of science which like any other should be approached rationally and with an open mind,” he said.
There will be many who believe Mr Paterson is more wedded to the second half of his statement than the first.
They will point to the fact that Mr Paterson did not mention climate change or global warming once in June when he launched his campaign to promote genetically modified foods – though he did emphasise how effective such crops could be in a “sustained drought” situation.
Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat Secretary Ed Davey would probably point at Mr Paterson’s views on wind power. In an interview this month, Mr Davey said: “I’ve had Owen Paterson making noises against wind, and you know that’s not what the agreed coalition position is…Owen Paterson would cull wind turbines faster than he can cull badgers,” he said, referring to the Environment Secretary’s involvement in the highly-controversial badger culling programme.