Mayor's climate sceptic views

MQT on 2013-09-11
Session date: 
September 11, 2013
Question By: 
Jenny Jones
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Do you acknowledge the divergence between some of your personal climate sceptic views, as expressed in your Daily Telegraph articles such as 'The Weather prophets should be chucked in the deep end' or 'It's snowing, and it really feels like the start of a mini ice age', with the government's UK Climate Projections 2009 that underpin your own Climate Change Adaptation Strategy?


Answer for Mayor's climate sceptic views

Answer for Mayor's climate sceptic views

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Jenny is waving at me in some deeply alarming way. Yes, Jenny, thank you. Well, of course there is no inconsistency here whatever. I was ruminating in my articles on the variety of climates we have experienced in the last five years or so. Since I have been Mayor we have had some very cold winters indeed, and musing in an affectionate way about the prophecies that were made by various meteorologists and what have you that we would never see snow again and so on and so forth. That in no way invalidates or there is no discrepancy between that and the excellent work that the GLA is leading on reducing carbon dioxide (CO2), which has come down - I mean, absolutely amazing statistic - CO2 has come down since the year 2000, I think I am right in saying, CO2 in London, in spite of massive economic growth, massive population growth CO2 emissions have come down by almost 14% in this city.

Jenny Jones (AM): The thing is in your articles

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): We are continuing with a huge programme of retrofitting

Jenny Jones (AM): In your articles, Mr Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): -- our homes, or improving our vehicles, and making and city ever cleaner

Jenny Jones (AM): You are off the point, Mr Mayor.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): -- and greener.

Jenny Jones (AM): In your articles you do, I think, confuse weather and climate change, which we can go into at another time.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Well here is

Jenny Jones (AM): Met office records

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): No time like the present.

Jenny Jones (AM): -- show that last winter, as most winters since 2000 were actually warmer than average. Let me go back to your climate sceptic views, because you rely a lot on a weatherman called Dr Piers Corbyn [WeatherAction] and I understand he has never been published in any scientific journal that does peer reviews. One of yours, John Gummer [Chair of United Kingdom's Independent Committee on Climate Change] former Conservative Environment Secretary, he said no reasonable person would ignore expert opinion and wager his children's future on the contrary views of people who are not peer reviewed. In science, peer review is terribly important.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes.

Jenny Jones (AM): You are relying, for your views, on somebody who is not peer reviewed and is a weatherman.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I was interested in some of the things, I did not know that. I am interested in what you say about Piers Corbyn, who is after all the brother of staunch Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn. He has an interesting take on the weather we have been experiencing, which I thought was worthy of note. Because actually I do remember 20 years ago when this whole thing kicked off, we were told that there was thing called global warming and there still is that fundamental problem and the greenhouse gas, the greenhouse effect is leading and anthropogenic greenhouse gases are I am sure leading to the greater propensity for the planet to warm. However, the interesting thing is that that may also be coinciding, and this is I think scientifically possible with a

Jenny Jones (AM): You are giving me a headache.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): -- solar minimum of the kind that the

Jenny Jones (AM): Mr Mayor this is garbage.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): -- planet has experienced before.

Jenny Jones (AM): It is garbage. You must understand the overwhelming scientific consensus is that climate change is happening, and quite honestly, if you do have climate sceptic views I would say

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I do not.

Jenny Jones (AM): Oh, you do not?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Come on, no, of course not.

Jenny Jones (AM): What is all this stuff in your Daily Telegraph article? You are just making it up, are you not?

Darren Johnson (Chair): Right, let the Mayor answer that because we the Green Group are now out of time.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Just for the avoidance of doubt, I think it is certainly overwhelmingly likely as the scientific opinion holds that there is anthropogenic climate change caused by CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, that is producing a greenhouse

Darren Johnson (Chair): We will note that disagreement, we are now out of time.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): -- and there is -- but there is a further and interesting possibly which is raised by Piers Corbyn and others, which is that if you look at what happened in the Maunder Minimum and other minima there are periods that we go through when a reduction in solar activity leads to falls in global temperature. Piers Corbyn's argument

Darren Johnson (Chair): We will leave it there.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): -- has deemed that that is what is going on

Jenny Jones (AM): There are not any --

Darren Johnson (Chair): Jenny, you are out of time.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): It seemed to me given the very cold winters that we have experienced over the last five years

Jenny Jones (AM): They are warmer, the Met office says they are warmer.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Well, hang on

Darren Johnson (Chair): We are out of time. We will move on to the -- we will move on to the

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Hang on, we cannot let her-- the winter of 2010 was the coldest in a century. Do you dispute that?

Darren Johnson (Chair): No, we will move on.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Do you dispute that?

Darren Johnson (Chair): No other Members, no other Member

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Come on, the winter of 2010 was the coldest in a century.

Darren Johnson (Chair): Right. No other members have wished they want to indicate, so we will move on to the

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Come on. It was

Darren Johnson (Chair): -- next question on the order paper.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): That was an interesting, I thought

Darren Johnson (Chair): It does not matter how interesting

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): -- and a paradox.

Darren Johnson (Chair): -- it is, the Green group are out of time and we can discuss it no more.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Well, I think it is a great shame.

Darren Johnson (Chair): Rising energy prices.