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Anti-green MP Steve Baker considering running for PM | Conservatives

Steve Baker is considering running for prime minister, and if he won he would dismantle many of Boris Johnson’s green policies, the MP has said.

The MP for High Wycombe, who runs the European Research Group which is credited for achieving a hard Brexit, has often hinted at his antipathy towards green measures, once retweeting a report that claimed the climate crisis is not happening.

He said many green measures including paying farmers to help the environment were “anti-human life on Earth in the name of environmentalism”, and said he would expand the production of gas in this country because there is “no short-term threat” from the climate crisis.

“I’ve got sufficient people imploring me to stand, so I’ve got to think about it seriously myself,” he said about entering the race in the likely event Johnson is ousted.

Other politicians are aghast at the idea that a climate crisis culture war could become part of any leadership election.

The Green MP, Caroline Lucas, said: “Our climate can’t be a pawn in the Tory leadership psychodrama.” She added that a prime minister with Baker’s views “would be a disaster of incalculable proportions”.

Baker was speaking to the Guardian after an event in parliament hosted by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a thinktank that has been labelled one of the UK’s leading sources of climate scepticism, and of which Baker is a trustee.

He said he would end the push for more wind and solar power, explaining: “They are fundamentally intermittent sources of energy. And therefore if we’re going to maintain our standard of living and in particularly industry, we’ve got to cover those intermittent sources with something else.”

Instead, he would increase the country’s use and domestic production of gas, though conceded he would support carbon capture and storage.

“I think if the public found that they got discount gas on their energy bills because they had accepted shale gas extraction near their homes, I think that would be extremely popular with them,” Baker said.

He said a local Indian restaurant in his constituency was struggling with its energy bills, adding that it may have to close if prices do not go down. “If that’s the price of our literal survival in the short run, people would understand that but the truth is, we’re not in any danger in the short run,” he said.

Measures to stop wildlife becoming extinct, and to store carbon in the land would also be under threat if Baker became prime minister. He would run on a platform to reverse plans to pay farmers to conserve the environment rather than produce food, he said.

“What I want are policies that can feed us all,” he said, adding: “That does include actually growing food as a thing that we do in the UK. And I’m afraid some of the policies which are being adopted are just anti-life. They’re anti-human life on Earth in the name of environmentalism, and I want us to live flourishing and full lives with a healthy environment around us.”

The MP said “we are at risk from extreme green policies” and accused climate campaigners of “terrifying children”.

“I regard that as child abuse, it’s wrong.”

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He does not believe the high emissions scenarios presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are likely to happen. “High emissions scenarios are too often presented as a likely outcome,” he said, adding: “I used to manage risk as an aerospace engineer, and if a risk is catastrophic and frequent you’d better do something about it now. But if a risk is catastrophic and infinitesimally likely, then you just don’t do anything about it because it won’t happen.”

His views do not match those of climate scientists. The third IPCC report, which was compiled by hundreds of scientists over several years and signed off by most of the world’s governments, calls for action now to avoid climate catastrophes.

It warned that planetary warming of 1.5C was out of reach unless greenhouse gas emissions peak by 2025, and said temperatures would soar to more than 3C, with catastrophic consequences, unless policies and actions were urgently strengthened.

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