THE DUP has made a "U-turn" on global warming which places it firmly in the sceptics' camp, it has been claimed.
The allegation comes as former DUP Environment Minister Sammy Wilson prepares to give a keynote speech to a conference in London today in which he will argue that man is not the primary cause of climate change - instead, he believes change is cyclical.
Only last week, his party colleague and current Environment Minister Edwin Poots took the opposite viewpoint, saying he was "particularly pleased" to announce falling figures in "harmful" greenhouse gases, which many scientists say are responsible for global warming.
The contrasting views between the two DUP men were found to be reflected in the last two party manifestos.
In 2007, the DUP said it supported the introduction of a Climate Change Bill at Westminster and called for "yearon- year targets to achieve reduced carbon emissions", adding that a new Executive should be "proactive in this area".
But the 2009 manifesto says that "the scale of the impact of human activity on our climate is still to be precisely determined" and opts for "common sense" energy efficiency measures in place of specific carbon reduction targets.
Northern Ireland Green Party spokesman and MLA Brian Wilson said there was "a definite change of tone" in the latest DUP manifesto.
The Green Party MLA questioned whether Mr Poots may feel "out on a limb" within his own party, issuing ministerial statements which appear to be in tension with DUP policy.
But Mr Wilson, now the Finance Minister, responded that the new DUP manifesto had been "crafted" in such a way as to accommodate those members with contrasting views on the causes of climate change.
Mr Wilson said he would tell the "Climate Fools Day" conference in London today that no global warming models predicted the static global temperatures seen over the past 10 years.
Ulster Unionist environment spokesperson Roy Beggs said it is "very worrying" that Northern Ireland's Finance Minister has "absolutely no interest in tackling climate change".
He also challenged Mr Wilson to say if he agreed with the Assembly Executive's official commitment to address climate change.
A DUP party spokesman said its 2009 manifesto had been agreed by the party and accurately reflected its views.