Margaret Thatcher

Man Who Broke Economy Says 'Trust Me Our Ecology Is Just Fine’

This DeSmog UK epic history post explains how neoliberalism almost broke capitalism (and what this might tell us about free markets and the environment).

Matt Ridley, as chairman of Northern Rock, was the canary in the coal mine when it came to the calamitous financial crisis of 2008 as he presided over the first run on the bank in Britain since the Victorian era.

He was made to answer for the 'reckless' policies of his bank and the roulette-wheel gambling of his less senior colleagues in Parliament. One man very clearly cannot be held responsible for an international economic collapse.

But, Ridley’s philosophy of ‘lukewarm’ neoliberalism was tested to absolute destruction in 2008 and the cost to millions of people around the entire world was both enormous and avoidable.

And yet, he retains his faith in neoliberal economics – and this remains the foundation of his climate ‘lukewarmism’. Where does this faith come from? And who was to blame for the 2008 crisis?

Who Was Responsible For Thatcher's Climate Change U-Turn?

This DeSmog UK epic history series post investigates the dramatic U-turn taken by the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher from environmental advocate to climate change sceptic.

The climate denier's greatest success during the early 2000s was the apparent conversion of Margaret Thatcher, from the climate cause she so forcefully and eloquently championed as the British prime minister between 1975 and 1990, to a loyal sentry guard for the sceptic cause.

Thatcher published her autobiography Statecraft in 2002, shortly before she stepped out of the limelight due to her failing health. The autobiography included a long passage in which she renounced her former beliefs and even revised the meaning of her original 1990 address.

How Free Market Thatcher First Called for Climate Action

In the third of three posts charting how climate change became a political issue, we see how Margaret Thatcher, the high priestess of the magical free markets, first took up Hansen's call… 

Margaret Thatcher as British Prime Minister would be the first politician of global stature to address the increasingly urgent concerns about climate change.

Her speech before the Royal Society in September 1988 was a celebration of science but also a clarion call demanding international government action and a personal endorsement of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which was just being established. “A nation which does not value trained intelligence is doomed,” she told the fellows. 

James Hansen: 'I Thought There Would Be a Rational Response'

Scientists were warning about the dangers of climate change even before America discovered and used oil on an industrial scale. Here, in the second of three posts, we see how in the 1980s it appeared politicians would rise to the challenges it presents…

James Hansen was the first scientist to detect the current rise in global temperatures, but he certainly was not the first to understand the effect greenhouse gases have on global temperatures.

It was well understood for centuries that without carbon dioxide, the Earth would be too cold to maintain life as we know it. Warnings about climate change in fact predate the discovery of oil.

In 1824, Joseph Fourier discovered the “greenhouse effect” and explained how heat from the sun is trapped in the Earth's atmosphere. In 1861, the Irish scientist John Tyndall confirmed different gases in the atmospheresuch as carbon dioxidecould change the temperature of the planet.

James Hansen: How Climate Change Became Political

Climate science exploded into the political hemisphere on 23rd June 1988 and seemed to require huge government intervention in the markets. So how would the free market politicians react? In the next three posts we see how Margaret Thatcher responds to James Hansen's call to action…

The mercury reached 98 degrees in Washington, DC on Thursday 23rd June 1988, and pearls of sweat could be seen on professor James Hansen's furrowed brow as he stood to give evidence before the United States Senate Committee on energy and natural resources.

“The present temperature is the highest in the period of record,” he murmured. “The rate of warming in the last 25 years” he said pointing at a chart, “as you can see on the right, is the highest on record.”

The NASA scientist read nervously from his prepared statement, titled The Greenhouse Effect: Impacts on Current Global Temperature and Regional Heat Waves. “In my opinion, the greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now.”

How Lawson Sold BP - And How An Arab State Almost Got Control

Lord Lawson is a patriot. He believes himself to be a very wise man indeed. But his sale of BP to the private sector nearly handed the oil company to an Arab state and this means that today, governments cannot control carbon emissions.

The Hayek-inspired revolution was about to be completed as British Petroleum (BP) would be sold into private ownership.

BP had long been a sponsor of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) which was crucial in raising Thatcher and Lawson to the crowning heights of the British state.

They would return the favour by now selling off the company, loosening it from the control of bureaucrats.

Ironically, the way Lawson conducted the sale would prove so controversial that BP itself would object and accuse the government of failing to get the best deal for the taxpayer.

From Neoliberalism to Climate Denial: “You must start with beliefs. Yes, always with beliefs."

Antony Fisher makes Margaret Thatcher beam

The first part of our epic history of climate denial opens with our hero's harrowing experience during the Battle of Britain and the war against totalitarianism

His parachute was engulfed in flames. Antony Fisher and his younger brother Basil were engaged in a fierce firefight over the rolling hills of Sussex on 15 August 1940 after a crack Nazi squadron launched a surprise bombardment of their airbase during a decisive day in the Battle of Britain.

“Things looked very stern, with the odds against us,” Anthony Eden, the Minister for War, wrote that very evening after having met with Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the War Office. “[T]his was to be one of the critical days of the war.”

Exposed: Lawson’s Climate Denial Donors’ Links to Tobacco and Oil Backed Think Tank

Nigel Lawson and Neil Record

Launch of new Global Warming Policy Forum mired by new revelations linking former chancellor to oil and tobacco-funded climate denial think tank

Lord Lawson faces increasing scepticism about the independence of his climate denial charity as the names of two of his anonymous donors with links to the tobacco and oil funded Institute of Economic Affairs are disclosed for the first time.

New "Frackademia" Report Co-Written by "Converted Climate Skeptic" Richard Muller

The conservative UK-based Centre for Policy Studies recently published a study on the climate change impacts of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for shale gas. The skinny: it's yet another case study of “frackademia,” and the co-authors have a financial stake in the upstart Chinese fracking industry.

Titled “Why Every Serious Environmentalist Should Favour Fracking“ and co-authored by Richard Muller and his daughter Elizabeth “Liz” Muller, it concludes that fracking's climate change impacts are benign, dismissing many scientific studies coming to contrary conclusions.

In an interview with DeSmogBlog, Richard Muller — a self-proclaimed “converted skeptic” on climate change — said he and Liz had originally thought of putting together this study “about two years ago.”

“We quickly realized that natural gas could be a very big player,” he said. “The reasons had to do with China and the goal of the paper is to get the environmentalists to recognize that they need to support responsible fracking.

The ongoing debate over fracking in the UK served as the impetus behind the Centre for Policy Studies — a non-profit co-founded by former right-wing British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1974 — hosting this report on its website, according to Richard Muller.

“They asked for it because some environmentalists are currently opposing fracking in the UK, and they wanted us to share our perspective that fracking is not only essential for human health but its support can be justified for humanitarian purposes,” he said. 

This isn't the first time Liz Muller has unapologetically sung the praises of fracking and promoted bringing the practice to China. In April, she penned an op-ed in The New York Times titled, “China Must Exploit Its Shale Gas.” 

Peter Sinclair's New Video Skewers Heartland's Offensive "Murderers, Tyrants and Madmen" Billboard Campaign

Peter Sinclair, the creator of the “Climate Crock of the Week” series, has a new video posted at the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media documenting just how out of touch with reality the Heartland Institute's recent offensive Unabomber billboard campaign is. Featuring the calm and insightful comments of Margaret Thatcher, Sinclair shows the stupidity of Heartland's claim that all of us who acknowledge climate change science are “murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”

Watch Sinclair's piece, part of Yale Forum's “This Is Not Cool” series:



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