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"Deputy Murray is very wrong"

Wednesday 23 November 2022

"Deputy Murray is very wrong"

Wednesday 23 November 2022

Ahead of today's election to vote a deputy on to the States most senior committee, a climate activist was encouraging Guernsey's government to do more to tackle the island's carbon footprint.

Andrew Smith is a full time activist, based in the UK.

He grew up in Guernsey and worked in the local arts scene before travelling around the world and settling in the UK.

He closely follows what happens in Guernsey as he still has family here, including two young nieces, who he says he wants to protect the future for.

He has called on the States of Guernsey to set a net zero target of 2025 or 2030, saying that the oft set target of 2050 is too far away.

emma smart andrew smith

Pictured: Andrew Smith and his wife Emma Smart are becoming increasingly high profile among activists in the UK challenging the government on its response to the climate crisis.

Mr Smith said there is scientific evidence that the world's temperature will rise by an average of up to 2C by then, which would be "an absolute travesty" if it is allowed to happen.

"We should be setting really prominent targets for meeting our net zero targets," he said. 

"2025 or 2030 is where we should be aiming for net zero. We need a radical rethinking of what we're doing."

Mr Smith said that where he lives, in Weymouth on the English south coast, there is a 100 year sea defence plan. 

He warns that a lack of such planning in Guernsey means that "large areas are prone to flooding in the future. The Bridge, parts of the north and west coasts, inland to La Mare de Carteret - all those places are prone to flooding and with the sea levels rising they will. 

"That will affect thousands of lives in Guernsey. It will make those peoples' houses uninsurable, it will have an impact on the housing market. A huge impact - it will affect prices and then people will be losing money.

"We need to think about all this stuff now, because it is coming. How do we do that? We need a net zero target that is achievable but that will make a difference."

Mr Smith said he currently has no confidence this is happening in Guernsey. Referencing today's P&R election, which saw a vote for the Committee's nominated candidate, Deputy Bob Murray, or the former Chief Minister, Deputy Gavin St Pier, Mr Smith warned that Deputy Murray's previous comments on the climate crisis are very worrying.

bob Murray Gavin st pier

Pictured: Today's election for a new member of P&R will pit Deputies Gavin St Pier and Bob Murray against each other.

"I'm an activist, not an expert," said Mr Smith. "Deputy Murray is not a scientist. He is not an expert.

"It's worrying that a science denier, a climate denier, is in a position of authority. That he could be in charge.

"Imagine if a covid denier had been in charge during covid? Guernsey absolutely smashed that. But people believed the science and people followed the science. Why don't people follow the science now?"

Earlier this year, Deputy Murray encouraged people to "do your own research" when it comes to the climate crisis.

He told Express that “weather and climate change are not the same thing at all," and that "an isolated weather incident does not make a climate, it does not indicate climate change." He was referring to Guernsey's second hottest day on record which occurred on Monday 18 July. 

“[It was] admittedly, a record temperature," said Deputy Murray, "but in 1976 we had record temperatures for two months. If we are saying, for example… that the increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is what is causing global warming – man-made, anthropogenic - why has it taken half a century for Guernsey to get a repeat for a day and half of what happened half a century ago for two months. 

“Would it not continue to increase all the time? That doesn’t make sense.”


Pictured: Deputy Bob Murray questioned the science around climate change earlier this year.

At the time, Deputy Murray told Express that the popular narrative was “utter nonsense” adding, “this is not my opinion, this is something you can find in scientific journals and books. If you want to look, but most people don’t.”

Mr Smith said he has done his research and therefore he is confident that "Deputy Murray is wrong".

"I'd rather scientists do the research, and they have," said Mr Smith. "It's all peer assessed and has been for over 40 or 50 years. It is undeniable. It is terrifying that he has that view.

"I am an activist, which is why I listen to people like the former Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Government, Sir David King. These aren't my opinions - they are his."

Mr Smith cited other sources which also provide the impetus for his activism.

One paper he quoted had a 99.9% agreement rating from scientists that climate change is happening and that humans have caused it.

He said anyone who wants to research climate change and its causes and effects should use peer assessed scientific facts.

"If Deputy Murray thinks he's smarter than NASA...well the NASA kids website explains it in really simple terms so he should start there."


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