Outright denial has been replaced by something that may turn out to be even worse: delay
As he flew to New York yesterday to speak to the UN general assembly about the Cop26 climate conference, Boris Johnson was asked to defend old comments made by his newly appointed trade secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan. Trevelyan had made statements on Twitter in the past decade promoting climate-denial literature, denying climate change was happening at all, and denigrating climate scientists and activists as “doom-mongers” and “fanatics”.
Johnson insisted that these views – despite coming from a minister whose role has serious climate implications – weren’t really such a big deal. In fact, he was himself guilty of similar statements not so long ago. He reminded the public that were we to “excavate some of [his] articles from 20 years ago”, it wouldn’t be difficult to find sentiments that “weren’t entirely supportive of the current struggle”, as he generously put it. “Facts change,” he added, “and people change their minds.”