by Iain Murray on October 4, 2007

In the UK, Conservative Party spokesmen are claiming that their demands for rapid, drastic action to cut carbon emissions are congrent with Mrs`Thatcher's views. This is a shaky claim at best.

In her latest book, Statecraft (2002, 449-58), Thatcher devotes ten pages to the subject of "Hot Air and Global Warming." Thatcher is quite clear that she feels things have gone in the wrong direction since she warned, "it is possible . . . we have unwittingly begun a massive experiment with the system of this planet itself." She notes that global warming alarmism today "provides a marvelous excuse for worldwide, supra-national socialism" (Statecraft, p.449).

In other words, Mrs T concedes there might be a problem, but rejects the economy-destroying solutions of emissions taxes and targets that have entranced so many. She recognized this back in 1990, when she said, "Whatever international action we agree upon to deal with environmental problems, we must enable our economies to grow and develop, because without growth you cannot generate the wealth required to pay for the protection of the environment". In fact, Thatcher makes it clear that she regards global warming less as an "environmental" threat and more as a challenge to human ingenuity that should be grouped with challenges such as AIDS, animal health, and genetically modified foods. In her estimation, "All require first-rate research, mature evaluation and then the appropriate response. But no more than these does climate change mean the end of the world; and it must not either mean the end of free-enterprise capitalism." (Statecraft, p.457).

I wrote more on Mrs Thatcher's environmental record for the free-market environmental group PERC a couple of years ago.

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