Thatcherism and the Climate Catastrophe
With the passing of Britain’s first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, much will be heard from the conservative side of politics about all the good that she did. But for the sack of truth, something she cared much about , let us also consider her role in helping to build the illusion of catastrophic climate change.
Margaret Thatcher was no friend of science, but she was a friend of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) that was established in the School of Environmental Science at the University of East Anglia in Norwich in 1972.
This is the same institution that Climategate exposed as being up to its neck in scientific fraud.
The establishment of the CRU only just preceded Thatcherism. With Thatcher’s market economics applied to public science none of the scientists at the CRU were ever guaranteed a salary. They had to generate their own income through grants and contracts.
Much of their money did end up coming from government but it had to be earned, they had to show their value to the politician and this is now par for the course .
It was following the miner’s strike in the UK and Prime Minister Thatcher’s increasing impatience with Arthur Scargill, then president of the National Union of Mineworkers, that the first tentative links were drawn between coal mining and the possibility of a climate catastrophe.
Various luminaries from that time have told me that Prime Minister Thatcher was keen to reduce Britain’s dependence on coal. She drew the connection between rising carbon dioxide emissions and coal mining before it was fashionable because she thought there was perhaps some scientific justification, and because she was keen to find justification for alternative energy sources, particularly nuclear.
Indeed her government became a strong supporter of climate research in the mid-1980s. Mrs Thatcher visited the CRU and assembled her entire cabinet to hear a seminar on climate change at which Tom Wigley, then director of CRU, was the star performer.
 “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.” – on her election as prime minister in 1979
 Bob Carter explains in ‘Science is Not Concensus’ how during the 1980s there came a restructuring of the way in which government science operated. Public-good programme funding for the activities of government science agencies shrank, to be replaced by funding for individual projects with limited lifetimes.