Thursday, September 6th 2012, 1:52 AM EDT
Appointing Owen Paterson as environment secretary shows how phoney the government's green credentials have always been
So that's it then. The final shred of credibility of "the greenest government ever" has been doused in petrol and ignited with a casual flick of a gold-plated lighter. The appointment of Owen Paterson as environment secretary is a declaration of war on the environment, and another sign that the right of the party – fiercely opposed to anything that prevents business from doing as it wishes – has won.
Alongside the signs that the government is preparing to renege on its pledge not to build a third runway at Heathrow (transport secretary Justine Greening, who fiercely opposed the idea, lost her job yesterday), this appointment reinforces the impression that Cameron's professed environmentalism is – and always was – phoney.
Paterson is steeped in the mythologies of the anti-environment movement. A letter about windfarms he sent to his district council is riddled with schoolboy howlers of the kind that are endlessly repeated by climate change deniers. For example, he expresses the belief that if the capacity factor of a wind turbine is 30%, this means that "the wind blows sufficiently to generate useful electricity, typically, only 30% of the time".
Perhaps such mistakes are unsurprising: much of the letter was cut and pasted verbatim, without acknowledgement or circumspection, from a document published by an anti-windfarm group called Country Guardian. As environment secretary, Paterson will have to weigh up conflicting claims, and make decisions based on the best available evidence. Though Paterson will not have responsibility for energy policy, this cutting and pasting should give you a sense of what we're up against.
Click source to read FULL "opposing view" from George Monbiot