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PM defends new International Trade Secretary over past climate change denying tweets

BORIS JOHNSON defended new International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan today after it emerged she had previously posted tweets denying global warning, just weeks before Britain is due to host the crucial Cop26 climate summit.

As he travelled to the US for talks ahead of the United Nations meeting in Glasgow this November, the Prime Minister was forced to admit that his views of the climate crisis had altered in recent years, claiming: “The facts change and people change their minds.”

His comments were prompted by Labour’s shadow international trade secretary Emily Thornberry, who highlighted a series of tweets sent by Ms Trevelyan between 2010 and 2012 that explicitly rejected climate science.

One read: “Clear evidence that the ice caps aren’t melting after all, to counter those doom-mongers and global warming fanatics.”

Another, sent in support of a campaign against windfarms, said: “We aren’t getting hotter, global warming isn’t actually happening.”

A third approvingly shared an article by Climate Realists, an account which slammed climate change as fake news.

Challenged about Ms Trevelyan’s record, the PM said the Berwick-upon-Tweed MP “will do an outstanding job” in the Cabinet after being appointed during last week’s reshuffle.

“I don’t want to encourage you, but if you were to excavate some of my articles from 20 years ago you might find comments I made about climate change that weren’t entirely supportive of the current struggle,” he added. 

Mr Johnson insisted people should be proud that Britain is “leading the world” on a transition to a green economy, a claim strongly rejected by campaigners who accuse the PM of not taking the threat seriously.

As recently as 2015, when there had been strong scientific consensus about global heating for some time, Mr Johnson claimed leaders were “driven by a primitive fear that the present ambient warm weather is somehow caused by humanity.

“That fear — as far as I understand the science — is equally without foundation,” the then London mayor said. 

He also wrote an article in 2013 suggesting the government should consider preparing for a mini ice age caused by solar activity, drawing on a discredited theory by climate deniers.

And in the same year, Mr Johnson suggested that windfarms — now a key part of the government’s plan to transition to net zero — “couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding.”

Parliamentary reporter

@TrinderMatt

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