Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan (image public domain)

Back in 1989 UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher called on the UN for action against man-made global warming. Maggie warned that rapid increases in the use of fossil fuels, the rise of industrial agriculture and population growth were ‘a massive experiment’ on the planet.

James Delingpole quotes Thatcher in a recent piece for the Telegraph:

Recently three changes in atmospheric chemistry have become familiar subjects of concern. The first is the increase in the greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane, and chlorofluorocarbons—which has led some to fear that we are creating a global heat trap which could lead to climatic instability. We are told that a warming effect of 1°C per decade would greatly exceed the capacity of our natural habitat to cope. Such warming could cause accelerated melting of glacial ice and a consequent increase in the sea level of several feet over the next century.

The Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research was soon set up under Thatcher’s government.

By 2003, however, Maggie was already on the side of the right wing conservative climate skeptic brigade, as evidenced in her book Statecraft, in which she presciently stated the now-familiar mantras about the Medieval Warming Period, solar activity and how great more CO2 actually is for the planet. What a strange coincidence that her opinion would match up with the current anti-science stance of the pro-let-big-business-do-what-ever-the-hell-it-wants club, which loved her so well.

But it’s Baroness Thatcher’s sources that tell the real story. According to Bob Ward – director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science – in an article in Tuesday’s Guardian, they’re mostly pamphlets and publications produced by industry and ‘free market’ lobby groups from the US, not scientific papers.

As always, of course, the real source of skepticism is political ideology.

Lady Thatcher reveals her true concerns by claiming that ‘the new dogma about climate change has swept through the left-of-centre governing classes’, and warning that the international effort to tackle climate change ‘provides a marvellous excuse for worldwide, supra-national socialism.’

–Bob Ward

What makes paranoid right-wingers think that anyone slightly to the left of themselves is a socialist? And where do they get off telling everyone that there is some left wing socialist supranational power that is somehow calling all the shots? It’s not! Free market capitalism has co-opted the European left and Democrat politicians in America are often to the right of Nixon on many issues. Yet any measure that calls for taxes or potentially threatens long-established class systems and social ecologies gets the Red Scare treatment – even if it has to do with potentially saving millions of people from starvation and disaster due to climate change.

Additional resources:

LA Times – Palin has a date with Margaret Thatcher

About The Author: Graham Land

Greenfudge editor and London-based writer Graham Land grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, where he was part of the local hardcore punk scene, playing in several bands. Through this musical movement he became involved in grass roots interests such as anti-racist activism, animal rights and Ecology. In 2000 he relocated to Europe, eventually earning an MA from Malmö University in Sweden. He has also lived in Japan, Ireland, Portugal and Greece.


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