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Global warming? It's just a load of hot air -- O'Leary

Charging for toilets, weighing passengers and flying with a solo pilot -- Ryanair's combative boss Michael O'Leary is renowned for espousing unusual ideas, but some passengers may feel that even he has overstepped the mark with his latest comments -- denying the existence of global warming.

In an interview littered with expletives, the chief executive of Europe's largest airline branded the scientific consensus that manmade pollution is heating up the planet with potentially grave consequences for the future of humanity as "bullshit".

He agreed the climate was changing but denied it was caused by manmade emissions of carbon dioxide, such as those from his planes. "Nobody can argue that there isn't climate change. The climate's been changing since time immemorial," he said.

Eco-warriors

"Do I believe there is global warming? No, I believe it's all a load of bullshit. But it's amazing the way the whole f***ing eco-warriors and the media have changed. It used to be global warming, but now, when global temperatures haven't risen in the past 12 years, they say 'climate change'.

"Well, hang on, we've had an ice age. We've also had a couple of very hot spells during the Middle Ages, so nobody can deny climate change. But there's absolutely no link between manmade carbon, which contributes less than 2 per cent of total carbon emissions (and climate change)." He suggested scientists invented and perpetuated the theory in order to gain research grants.

"Scientists argue there is global warming because they wouldn't get half of the funding they get now if it turns out to be completely bogus," he said.

"The scientific community has nearly always been wrong in history anyway. In the Middle Ages, they were going to excommunicate Galileo because the entire scientific community said the Earth was flat... I mean, it is absolutely bizarre that the people who can't tell us what the f***ing weather is next Tuesday can predict with absolute precision what the f***ing global temperatures will be in 100 years' time. It's horseshit."

He mocked global warming campaigners, describing the United Nations as "one of the world's most useless organisations", its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as "utter tosh", and US politician Al Gore as someone who "couldn't even get f***ing re-elected" after a boom.

His comments come amid rising taxes on flights, ostensibly introduced by politicians to curb emissions. Green groups also want a levy imposed on jet fuel.

"Aviation gets a crap deal. This is the great historical justification among environmentalists for taxing air travel, 'They don't have tax on fuel'. The only reason we don't pay tax on fuel is that governments can't tax it because you'll upload fuel somewhere else if they tax it."

Freak

To date, the US, UK, Germany, Japan, India, and China have all agreed on the existence of global warming, but have failed to agree binding emission targets to limit it. More than 2,500 scientists contributed to the IPCC's fourth assessment report in 2007, which warned that freak weather events such as flooding and drought will intensify, threatening agriculture and the livelihoods of millions.

Greenpeace issued a light-hearted response to Mr O'Leary's comments. "Personally, I wouldn't trust 'O'Really to tell me the price of a seat on his own airline, but to be fair, his position does have the support of such intellectual heavyweights as Nick Griffin, Sarah Palin and George W Bush," said Joss Garman, a Greenpeace spokesman.


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