BBC NEWS | UK | Northern Ireland | Wilson row over green 'alarmists'
The Environment Minister Sammy Wilson has angered green campaigners by describing their view on climate change as a "hysterical psuedo-religion".Wilson voices doubts over climate change - Belfast Today
In an article in the News Letter, Mr Wilson said he believed it occurred naturally and was not man-made.
"Resources should be used to adapt to the consequences of climate change, rather than King Canute-style vainly trying to stop it," said the minister.
Peter Doran of the Green Party said it was a "deeply irresponsible message."
Mr Wilson said he refused to "blindly accept" the need to make significant changes to the economy to stop climate change.
"The tactic used by the "green gang" is to label anyone who dares disagree with their view of climate change as some kind of nutcase who denies scientific fact," he said.
The minister said he accepted climate change can occur, but does not believe the cause has been identified.
"Reasoned debate must replace the scaremongering of the green climate alarmists."
John Woods, director of Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland, said: "In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence he is like a cigarette salesman denying that smoking causes cancer. Ironically, if we listen to him Northern Ireland will suffer economically as we are left behind smarter regions who are embracing the low carbon economy of the future."
Green Party Executive member Peter Doran invited Mr Wilson to attend the next UN-sponsored negotiations on limiting national CO2 output.
"Sammy would discover that he is in a rapidly declining group of sceptics and that he is almost unique in that he holds a deeply irresponsible message on the causes and implications of climate change," he said.
But Mr Wilson won support from Nigel Calder, a former editor of the New Scientist, who urged him to "be strong".
Out of 2,500 scientists involved in the last IPCC report on climate change only 62 agreed with its conclusions that man was responsible: "There are a string of high-ranking professional scientists saying man-made climate change is rubbish," he added.
And Dr Patrick Moore, a founding member of Greenpeace, said Mr Wilson was "certainly right" that climate change has been happening for millions of years. "It has a much better correlation with changes in solar activity than CO2 levels," he said. The last IPCC report on climate change had excluded important input from earth scientists and physicists about ancient changes in the earth's climate and the influence of the sun, he said.