George Osborne is not a climate sceptic, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne, was obliged to pronounce yesterday, in the face of growing criticism of the Chancellor's commitment to Britain's environmental agenda and in particular to UK plans to combat global warming.
Mr Huhne defended the Chancellor against allegations that he showed scant enthusiasm and for the environment in his Autumn Statement this week, and indeed, used language verging on the contemptuous.
"The Chancellor has pointed out, he's told me very, very clearly, he is absolutely committed to dealing with the problem of climate change, precisely because he is convinced by the science," Mr Huhne said. "He is not in the position of somebody like Nigel Lawson [former Chancellor Lord Lawson of Blaby] who is clearly sceptical about the science."
Leaders of Britain's major environmental groups have discussed between themselves in recent days the "problem" of Mr Osborne, who is being regarded more and more as a powerful obstructive influence – not to say a destructive one – on Britain's green agenda.