UK

Climate Change: Ed Davey To Slam Press For 'Uncritical Reporting' On Global Warming

03/06/2013 11:09 BST | Updated 03/06/2013 11:26 BST

The Cabinet Minister in charge of climate change is to launch an unprecedented attack on the media for its role in reporting global warming.

Ed Davey will attack sections of the press for giving "an uncritical campaigning platform to individuals and lobby groups" and claim climate change is being turned into a "political football".

The speech is being interpreted by pundits as "an explosion of anger" at "right-wing newspapers".

It comes ahead of a key Commons vote on the Energy Bill, where rebels are set to push for a tough commitment for power generation to be low carbon by 2030.

At the same time, Prince Charles used an article for The Huffington Post UK to warn that rainforest destruction combined with climate change could cause a "global economic crisis".

In his speech, to be given at a Met Office event on Monday afternoon, Davey says "healthy scepticism" is an important part of the process.

But he will add: "Some sections of the press are giving an uncritical campaigning platform to individuals and lobby groups who reject outright the fact that climate change is a result of human activity.

ed davey climate change

The speech is 'an explosion of anger' at the right-wing press

"Some who even deny the reality of climate change itself.

"This is not the serious science of challenging, checking and probing.

"This is destructive and loudly clamouring scepticism born of vested interest, nimbyism, publicity seeking contraversialism or sheer blinkered, dogmatic, political bloody-mindedness.

"This tendency will seize upon the normal expression of scientific uncertainty and portray it as proof that all climate change policy is all hopelessly misguided - from pursuing renewable energy to emissions targets themselves.

"By selectively misreading the evidence, they seek to suggest that climate change has stopped so we can all relax and burn all the dirty fuel we want without a care.

"This is a superficially seductive message, but it is absolutely wrong and really quite dangerous."

Davey points to a survey of 12,000 papers by climate experts - 97% said human activity was driving global warming, he said.

Roger Harrabin, the BBC's environment analyst, claimed the speech was "an explosion of anger from a politician who has long been privately frustrated about the extent to which right-wing newspapers have swung Conservative back-benchers behind the climate sceptic cause."

Harrabin said Davey believes editors are "corrupting public understanding of science".

The minister will refer to the smaller-than-expected rise in global temperatures, which was heralded by climate change-sceptics in the Mail as showing that "global warming stopped 16 years ago".

A columnist in the Daily Telegraph said it was "the forecast the Met Office didn't want you to see".

But Davey will say: "This pause in surface temperature is a false summit.

"We have seen this before in the recent past, periods with little warming after which global temperatures have continued to rise."