A Free-Market Energy Blog

Boris Went Alarmist, but Thatcher went Skeptic (and she was right)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 7, 2022

“The doomsters’ favorite subject today is climate change. This has a number of attractions for them. First, the science is extremely obscure so they cannot easily be proved wrong. Second, we all have ideas about the weather: traditionally, the English on first acquaintance talk of little else.”

“The fact that seasoned politicians can say such ridiculous things [about reordering civilization] – and get away with it – illustrates the degree to which the new dogma about climate change has swept through the left-of-centre governing classes….”

– Margaret Thatcher, Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World (2002).

Boris Johnson is in a tight spot with his failing energy policy, so the climate lobby is out to shore him up. Stated Carbon Brief:

A scientific briefing that UK prime minister Boris Johnson says changed his mind about #globalwarming has been made public for the first time, following a freedom-of-information (FOI) by Carbon Brief.

Last year, acknowledging his past climate scepticism, Johnson told journalists that he had now changed his mind, largely due to a scientific briefing he received shortly after becoming prime minister in 2019.

Continuing:

The Sunday Times later reported that this briefing had been given by Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific advisor, and, according to one of the prime minister’s close allies, it “had a huge impact”.

The emails suggest that some No 10 advisors were suspicious of important aspects of climate science – for example, asking whether UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports were “worth taking note of”.

Thatcher: An Opposite Conversion

But a better story is the conversion of Margaret Thatcher from alarmist to skeptic/realist. If the Iron Lady was alive today, she would be very disappointed on how climate alarmism/forced energy transformation has brought business and the citizenry of her country (and elsewhere in the EU) to their knees.

Thatcher’s mature views on the subject were penned in Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World (2002). She states on pp. 449–50:

The doomsters’ favorite subject today is climate change. This has a number of attractions for them. First, the science is extremely obscure so they cannot easily be proved wrong. Second, we all have ideas about the weather: traditionally, the English on first acquaintance talk of little else.

Third, since clearly no plan to alter climate could be considered on anything but a global scale, it provides a marvelous excuse for worldwide, supra-national socialism. All this suggests a degree of calculation. Yet perhaps that is to miss half the point. Rather, as it was said of Hamlet that there was method in his madness, so one feels that in the case of some of the gloomier alarmists there is a large amount of madness in their method.

Indeed, the lack of any sense of proportion is what characterizes many pronouncements on the matter by otherwise sensible people. Thus President Clinton on a visit to China, which poses a serious strategic challenge to the US, confided to his host, President Jiang Zemin, that his greatest concern was the prospect that “your people may get rich like our people, and instead of riding bicycles, they will drive automobiles, and the increase in greenhouse gases will make the planet more dangerous for all.”

She continued:

It would, though, be difficult to beat for apocalyptic hyperbole former Vice President Gore. Mr Gore believes: ‘The cleavage in the modern world between mind and body, man and nature, has created a new kind of addiction: I believe that our civilisation is, in effect, addicted to the consumption of the earth itself.’

And he warns: “Unless we find a way to dramatically change our civilisation and our way of thinking about the relationship between humankind and the earth, our children will inherit a wasteland.”

But why pick on the Americans? Britain’s then Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, has observed: “There is no greater national duty than the defense of our shoreline. But the most immediate threat to it today is the encroaching sea.” Britain has found, it seems, a worthy successor to King Canute.

The fact that seasoned politicians can say such ridiculous things – and get away with it – illustrates the degree to which the new dogma about climate change has swept through the left-of-centre governing classes….

Boris is a politician with no real backbone except to try to be popular and survive politically. He is a ‘second hander’ in the words of Ayn Rand.

Margaret Thatcher was the real deal. Let history note her climate conversion in distinction to that of Boris Johnson.

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