Margaret Thatcher: Hot Air And Global Warming

  • Date: 09/04/13
  • Margaret Thatcher, Statecraft

The doomsters’ favourite 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 marvellous 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 characterises 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.’

It would, though, be difficult to beat for apocalyptic hyperbole former Vic 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 defence 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. […]*

* Margaret Thatcher: Statecraft.  © HarperCollins 2002, pp. 449-450

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