I recently interviewed the Bangladeshi Environment Minister in Dhaka about climate change and how it is affecting his country.
I had raised money for the charity Concern through a pioneering bare skin sea swim (seven miles across part of the North Channel, Rathlin Island to Ballycastle). The money raised was to buy radios to forewarn of extreme weather events affecting Bangladesh as a result of climate change.
The Minister stated that industrialised countries are responsible for climate change and need to help countries such as his own adapt. He was incredulous to hear that Sammy Wilson, Environment Minister for Northern Ireland, did not believe in man-made climate change. I, in turn, was mortified by my own country's response to an issue that is devastating Bangladesh.
Sammy Wilson is entitled to his own views, but where these conflict with his ministerial brief, then action must be taken.
There is currently no political leadership on this issue in Northern Ireland.
At the end of this year the world’s leaders meet in Copenhagen to decide on the earth's future.
Before then, Sammy Wilson must go and Northern Ireland must have a new minister attending, who is prepared to join the rest of the world in taking urgent, necessary and bold political action.