BBC Question Time: Julia Hartley-Brewer Dismisses Climate Fears As Just 'The Weather'

Labour's David Lammy had his head in his hands at presenter's remarks amid UN warnings of “climate catastrophe”.

Julia Hartley-Brewer has airily dismissed climate fears as just “the weather” on the BBC’s flagship politics show, causing an angry online reaction.

The presenter prompted despair from fellow panellists on Question Time as she shrugged off a United Nations report on “climate catastrophe” and criticised environmental activists as “deeply immoral”.

Political satirist Armando Iannucci mocked the Talk TV host and Labour’s David Lammy put his head in his hands.

Her comments came on the same day the UN Environment Programme said the world, especially richer carbon polluting nations, remains “far behind” and is not doing nearly enough to reach any of the global goals limiting future warming.

“We had our chance to make incremental changes, but that time is over,” the UN’s Inger Andersen warned. “Only a root-and-branch transformation of our economies and societies can save us from accelerating climate disaster.”

But Hartley-Brewer downplayed the report, and even suggested the scientific consensus around the damaging effects of climate change was not as settled the majority argue.

At first, she took aim at the the campaign group Just Stop Oil as it continues its month-long action.

Most recently in the UK, activists sprayed orange paint on the facades of luxury car showrooms in Mayfair, central London.

On Thursday, a campaigner was arrested after gluing his head to Johannes Vermeer’s iconic Girl with a Pearl Earring painting at a museum in the Netherlands.

Hartley-Brewer hit out at the “middle-class” activists: “If you want to have limits on people’s ability to access fuel, if you want to make it more expensive to get a plane abroad, to use a car, to heat your home, you are going to be harming poorer people and you are going to be harming poorer people in the developing world.”

Her rant prompted Lammy’s anguish.

She added the “tantruming toddlers” are “deeply, deeply immoral in what they are doing”.

When Iannucci pointed out “it is the developing world that is saying this has got to stop”, she replied: “The world isn’t saying this.”

“Yes, they are,” Iannucci responded. “The world is saying we are on fire.”

Hartley-Brewer claimed this was “catastrophising stuff” that was “not actually in the scientific sections” of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.

“And there wasn’t a pandemic,” Iannucci quipped, to laughter from the audience, in a reference to her earlier outburst at lockdown policies.

Three audience members took umbrage at Hartley-Brewer’s climate comments.

One said her remarks were “a bit ridiculous” given record-breaking temperatures across Europe among other extreme weather events recently.

She said: “The floods that have been happening in Pakistan, 30 million people displaced, climate refugees, that is our future.

“And I think this summer should have shown everybody that we thought maybe it would be in 30 years’ time, 2050, but it’s happening right now and I think we really need to take action.”

“It’s called the weather,” replied Hartley-Brewer, dismissively.

She was pulled up by presenter Fiona Bruce, who said that “the consensus of scientists” was that “these things are happening more often”. “I don’t think that is in dispute,” Bruce added.

Hartley-Brewer came back saying: “There is actually not consensus on the idea that actually a lot of these extreme weather events are happening more often.”


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