Outrage as climate change sceptic appointed to energy committee

By Charles Maggs

Peter Lilley has been appointed to the energy and climate change select committee, provoking an angry response from climate change campaigners.

Lilley has previously said that a change in temperature of one or two per cent is "not a huge concern".

A stalwart of the Thatcher government, Lilly is also vice-chairman of Tethy's Petroleum Ltd, prompting some to suggest that his place on the committee is a conflict of interest.

But fellow committee member and Labour MP Alan Whitehead was pragmatic about his appointment.

"It is odd that someone who doesn't believe in the existence of half of the committee's brief would want to be a member of that select committee," he said.

"But since a select committee's central role is to hear, digest and publish evidence on these matters, I'm sure his membership will be a tremendous educational opportunity."

However there were harsher words from Greenpeace policy director Joss Garman who condemned the appointment of Lilley, one of only five MPs to vote against the 2008 climate change act.

"The addition of climate change sceptic and oil company director Peter Lilley to the energy and climate change select committee is part of a growing picture," he said.

"With Owen Paterson as environment secretary and anti-wind campaigner John Hayes now energy minister, you'd be forgiven for thinking the Tories are gearing up to assault the Climate Change Act and increase the UK's reliance on expensive, imported, polluting fossil fuels."