SKY News has been criticised for arguing "both sides" on climate change after the Met Office said 2023 had been the second warmest year for the UK since records began in 1884.

In a segment on the news, presenter Kay Burley spoke to writer James Woudhuysen and activist Zoe Cohen from Just Stop Oil about the issue. 

Cohen used her time on air to rip into bosses at Sky for platforming Woudhuysen, who questioned whether the statistics from the Met Office were accurate, claiming they were “very difficult to believe”.

He told Burley: “How can one be sure that what is touted as the hottest period since God knows when really is that?

"It’s very difficult to believe the statistics deduced about global temperatures so long ago are really credible.”

Woudhuysen regularly writes for right-wing publication Spiked and has appeared on GB News and TalkTV.

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Cohen said in response: “Kay, what I have to say to you and your audience and the people upstairs that are in your ear, the people in power in Sky, is I cannot believe you are platforming this gentleman.

“He makes his living for working for TalkTV, GB News and writing for a publication called Spiked. All of these channels are funded by oil interests.

“What I’m seeing here is Sky, that claims to actively be one of the leaders in talking about the climate reality, is actually platforming someone who makes their living out of writing for these platforms that are fundamentally funded by climate denial and oil interests.”

In a separate post on Twitter, Cohen said Sky was “failing to inform their audience of the threat to their families”, insisting the reality of climate change is not “a debate”.

Only 2022, which saw temperatures exceed 40C for the first time in recorded history, was hotter than last year, the Met Office said.

Wales and Northern Ireland had their warmest years, with the Met Office saying climate change has made these benchmarks “significantly more likely”.

Woudhuysen insisted he was being “patronised” by Cohen and said he was “retired” when she listed who he worked for, but he has in the past few months written articles entitled “Why wind power won’t cut our energy bills” and “The electric car fantasy” for Spiked.

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In October, Woudhuysen also blasted the idea of carbon passports being introduced on GB News after travel firm Intrepid Travel claimed there could be "personal carbon allowances" for air travellers.

Cohen went on to say: “If I drop this glass, it will break, that’s gravity. Isn’t it?

"Denying that putting more carbon in the atmosphere causes global heating is absolutely insane.

“We’ve known it for 150 years. We know that the people in power know full well that what they are doing will drive mass death, yet they are still doing it and that, under their own statute, international criminal law, is genocide by oblique intent.”

People across social media have also hit out at Sky for platforming the sceptic and “both siding” climate science. 

Andy Oddy, a councillor in England, said in response to the clip: “How is scientific fact a debate with two sides? There’s the scientific findings – repeatable experiment/analysis gives same results – and there’s hyperbole from those who choose not to believe the results but have nothing to offer by way of evidence.

“In other words they’ve drawn conclusions without a hypothesis or any tests of that hypothesis. When I was at school studying science, that was a fail.”

Author Matthew Todd added: “Kay, this is an absolute disgrace. This man is a key figure in the libertarian right who are funded by right wing billionaires and polluters.”

Sky has been approached for comment by The National.