“We have all been duped and not told the truth about climate change” – that was the claim of a veteran Isle of Wight councillor at a meeting last week.
When debating whether or not the Isle of Wight Council should support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill going through parliament, Councillor Ian Ward said he was not a climate change denier but it was inevitably going to happen so we should prepare for the consequences.
The motion to support was proposed by Green Councillor Joe Lever who said the irreversible impacts of climate change were being felt across the world and without significant and sustained action, the world was set to exceed Paris Agreement limits by 2040.
Councillor Julie Jones-Evans remarked during the counting, there were ‘climate change deniers in the council’ and they had put politics before the planet.
Cllr Lever said immediate action would help prevent the additional heating of the Earth’s temperature and stepping in now would help avoid a cataclysmic climate and ecological tipping point.
In 2019, the Isle of Wight Council declared a climate change emergency and started developing a climate change strategy, which it approved earlier this month. The strategy, ‘Mission Zero’, sets out a council action plan and commits the authority to making the Island net carbon zero by 2040.
Councillor Daryll Pitcher said after looking closer at the parliamentary bill, ‘the facts come out and you realise it is a form of hard socialism in the back door’. He said the bill was a big government response, where self-appointed people dictate everyone’s views.
Councillor Richard Quigley said if anyone needed a reason to support the motion, they just needed to listen to what Cllr Pitcher had said.
Many years ago, Cllr Ward said he read an article about climate change which had the ‘interesting fact’ that only 0.3% of the carbon dioxide produced on the earth, adding to greenhouses gases, are manmade. He said he had asked a green party member about the claim who allegedly confirmed it and said if they told the truth nobody would support them.
Continuing his own investigations into climate change, Cllr Ward said, many eminent scientists say it is inevitable.
Speaking to councillors across the chamber, Cllr Ward said:
“You can shake your heads, but you were not told the truth. You have been duped.
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“So we are talking about doing this and that; the Chinese have said ‘oh no we’re not’, the Americans have said ‘oh no we’re not’, the Indians have said ‘oh no we’re not’, so little Isle of Wight is going to change the world?
“Is England even going to change the world? Oh no, it’s not.
“I would rather effort put into combating the consequences of climate change, it is going to happen. It is no good saying it is not.”
Councillor Andrew Garratt said he had read the bill earlier today and was very impressed with it as people were constructively talking together on something that will direct the way government can attack a real pressing crisis we face. He said:
“Little old people, little young people can change things when they work together … Cllr Ward is wrong, we can achieve change.”
Former cabinet member for the environment, Councillor Steve Hastings said he would abstain from the motion because there was another bill further ahead in its readings in parliament. Cllr Hastings said he could support the motion in principle but nothing new was being suggested.
In a named vote, 21 councillors supported the motion, 5 against (Cllrs Pitcher, Michael Beston, Vanessa Churchman, Joe Robertson and Ian Ward) with 6 abstentions (Cllrs Hastings, John Nicholson, Martin Oliver, Gary Peace, Ray Redrup and Peter Spink).