Margaret Thatcher

Fri, 2014-10-10 07:16Brendan Montague
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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. 

Fri, 2014-10-10 00:18Brendan Montague
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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.

Wed, 2014-10-08 00:17Brendan Montague
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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.”

Thu, 2014-10-02 00:45Brendan Montague
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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.

Wed, 2014-09-10 05:19Brendan Montague
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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.”

Tue, 2014-09-02 06:47Brendan Montague
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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.

Mon, 2013-12-16 10:07Steve Horn
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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.” 

Thu, 2012-05-17 13:56Brendan DeMelle
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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:

  

Tue, 2010-06-22 16:45Brendan DeMelle
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Christopher Monckton's Lies Exposed (Again) By The Guardian

In yet another brutal take-down of ‘Lord’ Christopher Monckton’s claims to royalty and relevance, Bob Ward at The Guardian exposes the fabrications Monckton has whipped up to endear Margaret Thatcher fans to his own ‘work’ as a climate skeptic.

Ward’s piece, “Thatcher becomes latest recruit in Monckton’s climate sceptic campaign,” illustrates again the main point that DeSmogBlog readers know all too well - that climate denialism is about politics, not science.

Ward, who is policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science, was inspired to write the piece after reading Monckton’s outlandish claims in a blog posted on Anthony Watts’ blog.

In his guest blog on WattsUpWithThat, Monckton claims that, among all the advisers to Margaret Thatcher in the mid-80s, he was “the only one who knew any science.” 

Monckton is not a scientist by any stretch, he holds a journalism degree. Apart from his recent paid speeches at tea parties and climate conferences as an anti-science crusader, his career in daily news and tabloid journalism has had nothing to do with science.  But that hasn’t stopped him from pretending to be one. He’s like the fake doctor in the 1940’s advertisements who really, really wants you to trust him that cigarettes are safe, and it’s okay to spray DDT on your kids.

Mon, 2008-07-21 12:52Richard Littlemore
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Dennis Avery kills climate change AND Maggie Thatcher

With characteristic attention to the facts, Dennis Avery, Monsanto’s man in the organic food debate, killed both climate change and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in a post yesterday on his Centre for Global Food Issues website.

“Consensus on man-made warming is shattering,” Avery announced, basing this wild-eyed overstatement on last week’s story that:

Physics & Society, The journal of the 46,000-member American Physical Societ, just published “Climate Sensitivity Revisited,” by Viscount Christopher Monckton. Monckton is an avowed man-made warming skeptic, and former science advisor to the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. (My emphasis.)

This whole story is afloat in hogwash, a fact that APS President Arthur Bienenstock has been at pains to point out.

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