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« Yeo clarifies to obscure | Main | Environmentalism brings you forest clear-cutting »

Now I've heard everything

Tim Yeo is once again demonstrating his unerring ability to bend with the wind:

Tim Yeo, the chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change committee, said he accepts the earth’s temperature is increasing but said “natural phases” may be to blame.

Such a suggestion sits at odds with the scientific consensus. One recent survey of 12,000 academic papers on climate change found 97 per cent agree human activities are causing the planet to warm.

As an aside, can I just point out to the learned journalist at the Telegraph that there is quite a lot of ground between "humans to blame" and "humans not to blame". There are at least fifty shades of "humans partly to blame".

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Reader Comments (60)

Has he just cashed in some share options?

May 29, 2013 at 4:02 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Yes, I was wondering what this would mean for his companies.

May 29, 2013 at 4:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Page

I thought the KoDs over at James Delingpole's blog would enjoy this, so I've popped the link in there.

May 29, 2013 at 4:08 PM | Registered CommenterGrumpyDenier

That's why he's called Yeo-Yeo.

May 29, 2013 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

"Anyway the wind blows, doesn't really matter" to Yeo (with apologies to Queen). As long he's got his snout in a trough, he'll be OK.

May 29, 2013 at 4:19 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

And Yeo;lll be the Vicar of Bray Sir! Always nice to know a historian has assessed the scientific evidence. Does it for me. The final line of the Telegraph article with not so subtle shift to

"It is possible there are natural causes as well, but my view has always been that – for twenty years – I have thought the scientific evidence has been very convincing. The strong probability is that it is man-made causes contributing to greenhouse gas concentrations."

So if things (don't) get hot, all he really said was that burning fossil fuels increases greenhouse gas concentrations. Pro-nouns are wonderful. I tip my hat to you vicar.

May 29, 2013 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterTrago12

I would love to be a fly on the wall in the briefings these politicians are having. I hear the faint clunking of pennies dropping.

May 29, 2013 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterTrefjon

I think it's got more to do with the Daily Mail telling its readers that Trougher Yeo was earning £245k/annum advising renewable energy companies. He's covering his tracks by trying to look as though he's really neutral and the money is legit.

May 29, 2013 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

One recent survey of 12,000 academic papers on climate change found 97 per cent agree human activities are causing the planet to warm.

In fact, only 33.6 per cent of the 12,000 papers ( roughly 1/3 of the 12,000, or about 4,000 papers) referred to anthropogenic global warming. It was 97% of that one-third who agreed that "human activities are causing the planet to warm."

Sloppy journalism, or deliberate deception - or both?

May 29, 2013 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Maloney

I only said yesterday on this jolly fine forum that the foundations for a managed retreat were starting to fall into place. This is just another such example.

The reaction to this over at Guardian Towers will be of the thermo-nuclear meltdown variety. Oh, this is sooo funny.

May 29, 2013 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

Another 'polly tischun' jockeying for position well in advance of the next election I think.

May 29, 2013 at 4:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh.

The word has gone out down the back stairs. It's time for a quiet retreat.

Those who elect to die in the last ditch will do so without artillery support, the guns are being limbered up and towed away.

May 29, 2013 at 4:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

Jack M:

Mostly the former but with a dash of the latter.

May 29, 2013 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

What's his constituency? I'll keep an eye on that one.

May 29, 2013 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Here's what Trougher Yeo was quoted as saying a few months ago:

“An alternative, as Yeo has pointed out on previous occasions, is to simply let nature take care of the elderly sceptics, who will go to their graves sooner than the rest of the population.”

Nice fellow isn't he? He's scared of UKIP and wants to stay at the trough.

The other thing that's interesting is that the scientific establishment are watching the politicos leaving them high and dry and the only ones in the dock when the retribution is doled out. Slingo will have the "significance" thing thrown at her, while the UEA stand to be re-investigated by other than painters and decorators next time.

May 29, 2013 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

It looks as if the government is starting to realise that their targets are unattainable. This back-tracking by Yeo follows Ed Davey the other day when he proposed an EU emissions reduction target for 2030 of 40%, which would actually be a climb-down from the UK’s own target of 60% reduction by 2030.
UK emissions fell by just 0.5% over the three years 2010-2012. The annual report from the Climate Change Committee is due out in June and will probably reveal that they are miles off target.
In the meantime UK temperatures are falling steadily (see and heating bills are going through the roof. The number of households falling into fuel poverty must be getting unacceptably high, and is only going to get worse on current policies.

May 29, 2013 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterdougscot

He's a politician: they know how to turn on a sixpence and claim that they were always going that way.

May 29, 2013 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Bish, although

Now I've heard everything

is a witty headline I'm sure it's not strictly true. For the trickle will become a flood - unprecedented comments from unlikely sources. What fun.


I think it's got more to do with the Daily Mail telling its readers that Trougher Yeo was earning £245k/annum advising renewable energy companies.

Nailed it, IMHO. We owe a big debt of gratitude to David Rose just for that. Some took me to task on what I wrote yesterday:

Immense work by the editorial and graphics folk of the Mail on Sunday. You've made some of us look like wimps but this could, as Paul and others imply, change the UK debate overnight.

I didn't imagine Yeo would be the first stone to start rolling. Talking of Mr Rose, did anyone report on how the debate at Oxford went last night?

Meanwhile, I'm back in a busy phase with other work so may not get to see the answer. But this is what winning is like, Rhoda, given that you once asked. Like it or not :)

May 29, 2013 at 5:51 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard - apologies I missed it yesterday.
Do you have a link to the Mail article?

May 29, 2013 at 6:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJud

In fact this is not a huge turnaround for Tim Yeo. A year ago, at the "Communicating climate change on the right" event, he said:

scepticism "exacerbated by quite ridiculous and very ill-advised exaggerated claims by a number of scientists who should have known better”.

"...arguments about probability that increase in ghgs in the atmosphere may well be one of the causes of the observed changes in climate"

“I get so cross when I hear greens say this is about the future of the planet. It’s nothing of the kind.”

All rather similar to the quotes in the Telegraph piece.

May 29, 2013 at 6:06 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

H/T to 'The Toasty Spinning Globe' over at Guido's:

"He’s just positioning himself for the next great money-making scheme. Tim Yeo Fracking Consultants? Yeo’s Nuclear Fission Enterprises? Yeo & Co: – For all your unsightly wind farm demolition needs."

May 29, 2013 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterstun

Jud: article here. Quiz here. BH discussion here. It's been a long three days :)

May 29, 2013 at 6:09 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Paul Matthews: point taken. But that wasn't as reported in a big MSM title like the DT. That's why I agree with geronimo that this has to do with what was in the MoS three days ago, particular that damaging para on Yeo himself. At the event a year ago Yeo was trying to placate a semi-sceptical, mainly Tory audience, was he not? Now he's trying to placate a considerable cross-section of the electorate. Whichever way one looks at it, good news.

May 29, 2013 at 6:14 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Can we please talk about causes rather than blame?

May 29, 2013 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterJK


It IS a huge turnaround because only this week Yeo tabled a motion in the house to increase the UK target to 90% reduction in CO2. If this is a "managed retreat" god knows what a full rout would look like.

May 29, 2013 at 6:34 PM | Registered CommenterDung

I'm not sure I'm allowed to commend that comment of 6:34 PM (!) but thanks for bringing that back to our attention. Perhaps it's less like a supertanker turning round and more like two oceans meeting. Very choppy, signs of one tide on the turn, then the other.

Made more complicated by the double-talk that has always been at the heart of the climate scene, vividly illustrated by the Climategate emails but also by the difference in what Yeo said at Policy Exchange in 2012 and in other settings. 'Travesties' that before November 2009 were never heard at the MSM level. Today it's not all out in the open but it's getting that way.

May 29, 2013 at 6:41 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Encouraging, but quite frankly I would never take anything this individual said at face value. I would also almost guarantee that there must be some ulterior motive.

May 29, 2013 at 7:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterGummerMustGo

U-turn? What u-turn? Has anyone read the last paragraph in the article?

Asked about the comments this afternoon, Mr Yeo said: "It is possible there are natural causes as well, but my view has always been that – for twenty years – I have thought the scientific evidence has been very convincing. The strong probability is that it is man-made causes contributing to greenhouse gas concentrations."

May 29, 2013 at 7:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterEl Sabio

There is no doubt man-made causes contribute "to greenhouse gas concentrations."

The question is whether man-made CO2 has caused global warming.

May 29, 2013 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterOliver K. Manuel

Tim Yeo was one of the first MP's to see the possibilities of consultancy fees and directorships for promoting the cause of global warming, and the chance of an EU post for when he retires from his constituency at the next election. But he his now backtracking, as are many other politicians, as the CC meme finally gets exposed as a huge failure and an even bigger waste of money.

As one of his constituents in Suffolk South I believe that he is now aware of the huge unease here, about his activities in blatanty exploiting the subject of climate change. Whether it is the obvious conflict of being chairman of a government committee on climate change and at the same time chairman of the renewables industry organsation, or his many extra parliament consultancy jobs, it has not gone unnoticed. We have also noticed that the only party publicly wishing to end the waste of hundreds of billions on climate change, and which is gaining votes locally, is UKIP.

The local rise of UKIP may not be due entirely to Tim Yeo, but he epitomises one of the reasons why many Conservatives have turned away from them. Tim, like many other Conservative parliamentarians, has simply forgotten what it means to be Conservative.

May 29, 2013 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteven Whalley

UKIP pact? Fat chance on his form.

May 29, 2013 at 8:35 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Oy, again with the 97% canard. You couldn't get 97% of scientists to agree on the color of the sky. Even asshats like Robert Mugabe don't claim more than 86% support, because they know how utterly ridiculous a higher number would be.

If they told me 75% to 80% agreed, it might be worth taking it seriously. When someone says "97%", he is practically in your face shouting "I am lying, and I dare you to object!"

May 29, 2013 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterBart

Delingpole on Yeo's recantation:

Still, it’s good to see Yeo taking at least the first tentative step on the path to redemption. Admitting you were totally wrong about something, that you’ve been made to look an utterly despicable, greedy fool, that even the Conservatives in your constituency hate you, that no one trusts you as far as they can spit, that you’ve done immeasurable damage to your country’s landscape and economy with the abysmally counterproductive environmental policies you not only helped promote but from which you may have benefited financially: these are things no man would ever wish to admit to himself.

May 29, 2013 at 9:24 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

"Natural phases" means diddly-squat to Yeo. He aint bending anywhere, just empty words while he tops up his bank account with easy cash while he still can.

May 29, 2013 at 9:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

This is the Tim Yeo who, less than 5 years ago, was claiming:

"In five years time, no one will argue about a man-made contribution to climate change"

Who could have guessed that he meant there wasn't one..?

May 29, 2013 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Maybe he and the government have just learned that the lights are going to go out sooner than they thought hence all the back peddling to give them plausible deny-ability claim that it 'wasn't me gov' and so leave the 'scientists' to carry the can.

May 29, 2013 at 9:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

I now see that DISQUS seems to be turned off on this article in the DT - after I have successfully left comments earlier. The fact that comments work on other articles and the Letters page, but not on this item is interesting - especially after 1087 comments.

May 29, 2013 at 9:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

Yeo-Yeo appears to have recanted, according to the Independent

Mr Yeo insisted that his comments had been taken out of context and said he was highly concerned about the impact of man-made carbon emissions. “It is highly probable that human activity has led to a big increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and highly probable that that is changing the climate.”

May 29, 2013 at 10:05 PM | Registered Commentermatthu

"Can we please talk about causes rather than blame?"

Yeah - he's a greedy corrupt sleaze ball.

May 29, 2013 at 10:17 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

All the more reason to impeach the chiselling barsteward.

May 29, 2013 at 10:57 PM | Unregistered Commentermartin brumby

In stark contrast, for a sincere epiphany, we have Douglas Carswell MP, interviewed by our friend Leo Hickman discussing his set-to with Bob Ward among other things here

and with his enlightenment confirmed this February by his public apology for not opposing the Climate Change Act, here

May 29, 2013 at 11:23 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Another domino falls.

After years of seemingly being in competition with the BBC, the New York Times, and NPR (national public radio - US) to see who could be the most alarmed by future global warming, The Economist almost performed a U-turn in their 30 March edition. They explained that global temperatures had refused to rise this century despite carbon dioxide increases every year, and that the climate models were therefore flawed.

May 29, 2013 at 11:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

Although anger is justified, I suspect most politicians believed they were promoting wise policies based on "settled science."

If my interpretation is correct, Climategate is the direct result of decisions to save mankind from nuclear annihilation in 1945:

We should forget assigning blame and work together to get society back on track.

May 29, 2013 at 11:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterOliver K. Manuel

I know the blog title is 'Now I've heard everything', but lets not take it too literally.

May 29, 2013 at 11:50 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

And, now we have retraction....

May 30, 2013 at 12:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterintrepid_wanders


Spinning like a top...(I would say "turbine" but most of the ones I see in the south are still...)
"In the light of what has appeared on the Telegraph website suggesting that I have changed my views about climate change, I wanted to make clear that this is not the case.

My views have remained the same for over two decades. I accept the overwhelming scientific evidence that human activities are having a major impact on the climate – there is an overwhelming probability that the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from human actions are contributing to climate change.

I will continue to press for urgent action on this matter, making the case that the move to a low carbon economy is not just right environmentally but also in our economic interest."
If he took the "just" and "also" out of the last sentence and changed the "our" to "my", he'd actually make sense.

May 30, 2013 at 12:57 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Heh, he just got out of the green market and shorted the green stocks.

May 30, 2013 at 2:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

And now...for the dismount

/may not be safe at work

May 30, 2013 at 2:13 AM | Registered Commentershub

How very strange that the article in question appears to have vanished without trace from the Torygraph website this morning.

But Delingpole's commentary remains...redolent with his usual calm, measured and considered approach

We live, as the old Chinese proverb has it, in interesting times..........

May 30, 2013 at 6:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Yeo's 'retraction' is not quite what it seems:

' I accept the overwhelming scientific evidence that human activities are having a major impact on the climate – there is an overwhelming probability that the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from human actions are contributing to climate change'.

The important bit is ...'are contributing to climate change'.

'Contributing to' is a delightfully flexible term. Anywhere from 99.999999% to 0.00000001% can count in that spectrum. And he can spend the rest of his career years slipperying and slithingly moving along the scale as needed.

But the key bit - and I suspect the reason it was issued - is here:

'I will continue to press for urgent action on this matter, making the case that the move to a low carbon economy is not just right environmentally but also in our economic interest'


'I would like to reassure my investors and paymasters that I will still be lobbying shamelessly for 'green business' in the future. I am not damaged goods - honest!'

But whether they will believe him or not is still undecided.

So here are LA's Investment Climate Recommendations:

Short : Yeo, Selwyn-Beefburger (Deben), Davey

Long : Lilley, Stringer, Paterson

Watch: Ridley, Donoughue, Farage, Haseler, Keenan

May 30, 2013 at 7:52 AM | Registered CommenterLatimer Alder

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