Owen Paterson is the Secretary of state for environment, food, and rural affairs in the U.K. — credentials that might help him understand the seriousness of impending climate change. But in a meeting with fellow Conservative party-members on Sunday night, Paterson said that the UN’s bleak new report on what to expect from climate change actually has an upside: The milder winters and the potential to grow more food on the British isles.
“I think we should just accept that the climate has been changing for centuries,” Paterson declared, according to the Guardian:
“I think the relief of this latest report is that it shows a really quite modest increase, half of which has already happened. They are talking one to two and a half degrees.
“Remember that for humans, the biggest cause of death is cold in winter, far bigger than heat in summer. It would also lead to longer growing seasons and you could extend growing a little further north into some of the colder areas.
“I actually see this report as something we need to take seriously but I am rather relieved that it is not as catastrophic in its forecast as we had been led to believe early on and what it is saying is something we can adapt to over time and we are very good as a race at adapting,” he said.
Paterson has a history of climate denial. He does not believe that human activity contributes to a warming planet (it does), and thinks that the temperature of the globe has not changed in 17 years (it has). Paterson’s arm of government also presided over the horse meat scandal earlier this year.
Whether he can admit it or not, climate change will actually be terrible for England, In fact, it already is: The country’s fisheries have been devastated — a hit to the country’s food supply.