Sammy Wilson

Sammy Wilson

Credentials

  • According to his biography, Wilson was educated at Methodist College, Belfast and graduated an Economics and Politics program from Queens University, Belfast. [1]

Background

Sammy Wilson is an MP for Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for East Antrim. He is a former environment minister and one of the DUP’s most controversial figures when it comes to climate change. [1]

Until Brexit, the DUP hadn’t garnered much attention in the British press but the party has a long history of science denial. A survey among DUP members found that 40 per cent believed creationism should be taught in science classrooms. And largely thanks to DUP lobbying, Northern Ireland remains the only part of the UK with no legally binding climate change targets in place. [2], [3][4]

In June 2017, following rumours of a Tory-DUP post-election deal, Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas referred to Wilson and his Party. She said: “Is her [Prime Minister Theresa May’s] failure to propose a Brexit bill on the greatest challenge that we face because she simply doesn’t care about the environment and climate change, or because she’s been influenced by the DUP dinosaurs who sit beside me and don’t want to take that kind of leadership in the future?” [5]

Stance on Climate Change

Wilson believes human caused climate change is a “gigantic con” and an “hysterical semi-religion,” and denies that there is a scientific consensus on the causes of climate change. [4]

According to his website: “His appointment and tenure as Environment Minister were heavily criticised by Environmental Groups because Sammy believes that climate change is not man-made and the myth of climate change is based on dodgy science not proven. He is not a fan of the Green Lobby who try to scaremonger people with their alarmist views.” [1]

September 5, 2008

Wilson wrote a article for the News Letter where he “spells out his scepticism about man-made climate change.” [6]

“We have never clearly understood the causes of these changes and despite what some environmentalists say there is no scientific consensus around the causes. Some claim that recent climate change is due to CO2 production from industrialisation, our energy use, our love affair with the car and foreign holidays by jet airplane. The difficulty with this explanation is that climate change occurred even when we did not have the increase on CO2 emissions experience in the last 200 years. Another difficulty they have is that the increase in CO2 occurs after the increase in temperatures.”

According to Wilson “resources should be used to adapt to the consequences of climate change rather than King Canute style vainly trying to stop it.”

Key Quotes

June 2017:

Wilson welcomed President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement, stating: [7]

[V]ery wise decision by the US President to pull out of the totally flawed and pointless Paris Climate Change agreement.”

In the same statement published on his website, Wilson said: “The Paris Agreement itself is a delusion,” adding:

[P]ulling out of the agreement which was only a piece of window dressing for climate chancers who wished to pretend that they were doing something about an issue which they can’t affect anyhow is not the disaster which the green lefties are getting hysterical about.”

December 2008:

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph: [8]

I think in 20 years’ time we will look back at this whole climate change debate and ask ourselves how on earth were we ever conned into spending the billions of pounds which are going into this without any kind of rigorous examination of the background, the science, the implications of it all. Because there is now a degree of hysteria about it, fairly unformed hysteria I’ve got to say as well.” 

I don’t care about CO2 emissions to be quite truthful because I don’t think it’s all that important but what I do believe is, and perhaps this is where there can be some convergence, as far as using fuel more efficiently that is good for our economy; that makes us more competitive. If we can save in schools hundreds of thousands on fuel that’s more money being put for books or classroom assistants.” 

Key Deeds

June 2018

Wilson was photographed with major Brexit funder and UKIP backer Arron Banks after his appearance in front of a parliamentary committee to defend accusations of collusion with Russia in advance of the EU referendum and President Donald Trump's election. [9]

June 2017

Wilson welcomed Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord on climate change as “very wise.” [7]

March 2016

The DUP reportedly distanced itself from Sammy Wilson following “racist remarks” given by Wilson off camera while being interviewed for BBC Spotlight. Video of the interchange is available at the Belfast Telegraph, courtesy of BBC Spotlight. [10], [11]

In the video, Wilson was talking to a member of the public, who said, “Get the ethnics out,” to which Wilson appeared to reply, “You are absolutely right you know.” [10]

A DUP spokesman said: “Sammy Wilson is reported to have made comments this morning about ethnic minorities. The DUP values everyone who comes to Northern Ireland and makes a contribution to our society. [10]

“Ethnic minorities are vital to our biggest and best companies never mind our Health Service. 'Get the ethnics out' is a disgraceful phrase. We disassociate the party from the comment made by a member of the public. [10]

“Whilst there needs to be a discussion about how we control our borders, this should be conducted in a factual and respectful manner as part of the EU referendum debates.” [10]

July 2014

Wilson organised a meeting in the House of Commons in central London on behalf of “Repeal the Act”, a group that argues the “climate is always changing” and seeks to repeal the UK’s Climate Change Act. In attendance were known climate science deniers Peter Lilley and David Davies, alongside contrarian economist Richard Tol. [12]

October 2010

In 2010, Wilson hosted a group of climate science deniers at the Palace of Westminster for “Climate Fools Day.” The event was supported by Labour MP and Global Warming Policy Foundation member Graham Stringer. One of the event invites read: “The danger is not Climate Change but Climate Change Policy – for which there is no evidence in justification.” [13]

February 2009

Wilson placed a ban on UK government TV and radio adverts that were encouraging people to cut their carbon emissions. Wilson described the ads as insidious green propaganda. [14]

Affiliations

  • Democratic Unionist Party (DUP— Former press officer. Elected DUP Councilor to Belfast City Council (1981 – 2010). [1]
  • Brexit Committee at Westminster — Serves on the Committee. [1]
  • Leave Means Leave Supporter. [15]

Social Media

Publications

Sample publications by Sammy Wilson below:

Resources

  1. Sammy's Biography,” Sammy Wilson. Archived December 7, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/AGsOZ

  2. Frank Swaim. “Five things you need to know about DUP politicians and science,” NewScientist, June 9, 2017. Archived December 10, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/lO9ok

  3. Liam Clark. “Party conference: Teach creationism in science class - 40% of DUP,” Belfast Telegraph, November 25, 2013. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/av7xq

  4. John Gibbons. “Let's Take A Closer Look at the DUP's Climate Science Denial,DeSmog UK, June 11, 2017.

  5. John Bercow confirms it's completely fine to call the DUP 'dinosaurs' in parliament,” Shropshire Star, June 22,2 2017. Archived December 10, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/qFQTo

  6. Debate must replace scaremongering of green climate alarmists,” News Letter, September 5, 2008. Archived December 7, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/dVzLH

  7. Trump’s Climate Change Decision Poses Huge Problem For UK,” Sammy Wilson. Archived December 7, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/1bvSB

  8. Sammy Wilson: I still think man-made climate change is a con,” Belfast Telegraph, December 31, 2008. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/Uj5FJ

  9. Somebody needs to turn the DUP off then turn it on again,” Twitter post by user @NewtonEmerson, June 12, 2018. Archived via Archive.is.

  10. Sheena McStravick. “DUP distances itself from Sammy Wilson 'racist remarks',BelfastLive, March 1, 2016. Archived December 8, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/VkZdk

  11. Video: 'You're absolutely right' - MP Sammy Wilson's apparent response to 'get the ethnics out' comment,” Belfast Telegraph, March 2, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  12. Cindy Baxter. “Richard Tol Dons Cloak of Climate Denial,” DeSmog, July 14, 2014.

  13. Leo Hickman. “Cabal of climate sceptics to descend on UK parliament,” The Guardian, October 26, 2010. Archived December 7, 2017. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/48nIs

  14. DUP stands by climate change sceptic environment minister,” The Guardian, February 10, 2009. Archived December 7, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/YgXvA

  15. WHO WE ARE,” Leave Means Leave. Archived December 7, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/PJEGd

Other Resources

Photo: Wikimedia Commons | CC3.0