Maggie U-turned on Global Warming


Whatever one thought of Margaret Thatcher, everybody is interested in what she thought.

Christopher Booker in The Sunday Telegraph April 14th gives below the U-turn she made on man-made Global Warming.

Mrs Thatcher played a far more influential role than is generally realised on global warming. When the scare erupted in 1988, she was the first world leader who not only adopted it as the last great cause of her premiership, but also made moves that helped to push it rapidly towards the top of the international agenda. She made passionate speeches to the Royal Society and the United Nations. Even more significantly, she gave full backing to one of the most fervent evangelists for the belief that the world was threatened by human emissions of carbon dioxide, Dr John Houghton, then head of the Met Office.

No one played a more crucial role than Houghton in setting up, in 1988, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This was the body that was to become the central driver in promoting the worldwide scare over global warming through a series of mammoth reports, the first three of which Houghton did more to shape than anyone. Without their influence, we would not have had the Rio Earth Summit, the Kyoto Protocol, and all those political responses to the scare that, in the past two decades, have had such a dramatic impact on international energy policy – nowhere more disastrously and at greater cost than in the European Union, with Britain’s suicidal Climate Change Act potentially the most damaging consequence of all.

The fiasco of that mammoth Copenhagen conference in 2009 may have marked the moment when, politically, the panic over climate change finally began to crumble apart, as it became clear that the fast-growing countries of the developing world, led by China and India, were simply not going to buy into a treaty that would have landed mankind with the biggest bill in history. But seven years before that, in her last book, Lady Thatcher had already written, under the heading “Hot air and global warming”, what amounted to a complete recantation of her earlier views, voicing precisely those fundamental doubts over the warming panic that were later to become familiar.

Pouring scorn on what she called “the doomsters”, she questioned all the main scientific assumptions that had been used to drive the scare, from the conviction that the main force shaping the world climate is CO2, rather than natural factors such as solar activity, to exaggerated claims about rising sea levels. She mocked Al Gore and the futility of what she recognised as “costly and economically damaging” schemes to reduce CO2 emissions. She cited the 2.5 degree rise in temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period as having had almost entirely beneficial effects. She pointed out that the dangers of a world getting colder are far worse than those of a CO2-enriched world growing warmer. She recognised how distortions of the science had been used to mask an anti-capitalist, Left-wing political agenda that posed a very serious threat to human progress and prosperity.

Thus, long before it became fashionable, Lady Thatcher was converted to the view of those who, on both scientific and political grounds, have become ever more sceptical of the entire climate change ideology. How odd it is that, even today, so few people realise what a key role she played in helping to promote that scare in the first place. But even fewer realise how she eventually came to make as great a U-turn on this issue as any in her life.