What most people fail to remember is history. if you ask most American’s who began the entire debate on climate change you would probably get the answer former Vice President Al Gore. The truth is today’s “environmentalist” or “green” movement began with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Mrs. Thatcher was influenced in great part by environmentalist Sir Crispin Tickell, UK’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1987-90.
For generations, we have assumed that the efforts of mankind would leave the fundamental equilibrium of the world’s systems and atmosphere stable. But it is possible that with all these enormous changes (population, agricultural, use of fossil fuels) concentrated into such a short period of time, we have unwittingly begun a massive experiment with the system of this planet itself.
Recently three changes in atmospheric chemistry have become familiar subjects of concern. The first is the increase in the greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane, and chlorofluorocarbons—which has led some [end p4] to fear that we are creating a global heat trap which could lead to climatic instability. We are told that a warming effect of 1°C per decade would greatly exceed the capacity of our natural habitat to cope. Such warming could cause accelerated melting of glacial ice and a consequent increase in the sea level of several feet over the next century. This was brought home to me at the Commonwealth Conference in Vancouver last year when the President of the Maldive Islands reminded us that the highest part of the Maldives is only six feet above sea level. The population is 177,000. It is noteworthy that the five warmest years in a century of records have all been in the 1980s—though we may not have seen much evidence in Britain! [Emphasis added]
Mrs. Thatcher then gave a speech on November 8, 1989 to the United Nations General Assembly on the “Global Environment.” Mrs. Thatcher noted:
We are seeing a vast increase in the amount of carbon dioxide reaching the atmosphere. The annual increase is three billion tonnes: and half the carbon emitted since the Industrial Revolution still remains in the atmosphere.
At the same time as this is happening, we are seeing the destruction on a vast scale of tropical forests which are uniquely able to remove carbon dioxide from the air.
Every year an area of forest equal to the whole surface of the United Kingdom is destroyed. At present rates of clearance we shall, by the year 2000, have removed 65 per cent of forests in the humid tropical zones. [end p3]
The consequences of this become clearer when one remembers that tropical forests fix more than ten times as much carbon as do forests in the temperate zones.
We now know, too, that great damage is being done to the Ozone Layer by the production of halons and chlorofluorocarbons. But at least we have recognised that reducing and eventually stopping the emission of CFCs is one positive thing we can do about the menacing accumulation of greenhouse gases.
It is of course true that none of us would be here but for the greenhouse effect. It gives us the moist atmosphere which sustains life on earth. We need the greenhouse effect—but only in the right proportions.
More than anything, our environment is threatened by the sheer numbers of people and the plants and animals which go with them. When I was born the world’s population was some 2 billion people. My [Michael Thatcher] grandson will grow up in a world of more than 6 billion people.
Put in its bluntest form: the main threat to our environment is more and more people, and their activities: The land they cultivate ever more intensively; The forests they cut down and burn; The mountain sides they lay bare; The fossil fuels they burn; The rivers and the seas they pollute.
The result is that change in future is likely to be more fundamental and more widespread than anything we have known hitherto. Change to the sea around us, change to the atmosphere above, leading in turn to change in the world’s climate, which could alter the way we live in the most fundamental way of all.
That prospect is a new factor in human affairs. It is comparable in its implications to the discovery of how to split the atom. Indeed, its results could be even more far-reaching. [Emphasis added]
The intent of Mrs. Thatcher’s speeches was to push for an alternative means of energy – nuclear power.
How it All Went Bad
Margaret Thatcher wanted to reduce the UK’s dependence on Middle Easter oil after the oil shock of 1978-79. According to Laurel Graefe, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta:
Like its 1973–74 predecessor, the second oil shock of the 1970s was associated with events in the Middle East, but it was also driven by strong global oil demand. The Iranian Revolution began in early 1978 and ended a year later, when the royal reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi collapsed and Sheikh Khomeini took control as grand ayatollah of the Islamic republic. In conjunction with the revolution, Iranian oil output declined by 4.8 million barrels per day (7 percent of world production at the time) by January 1979. However, this supply disruption may not have been the most important factor pushing oil prices higher. Rather, the Iranian disruption may have prompted a fear of further disruptions and spurred widespread speculative hoarding.
Oil prices began to rise rapidly in mid-1979, more than doubling between April 1979 and April 1980. According to one estimate, surging oil demand—coming both from a booming global economy and a sharp increase in precautionary demand—was responsible for much of the increase in the cost of oil during the crisis.
Mrs. Thatcher wanted to shift the world toward nuclear power. Her efforts failed due to the 1979 Three Mile Island and the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant incidents. While Mrs. Thatcher’s nuclear power efforts failed the “green” movement in Great Britain exploded.
Nuclear power became the problem and not the solution to many.
In 1998 the United Nations first introduced the “Kyoto Protocol.”
Along Comes Al Gore
Between 1980 and 2006 the green movement was quietly but increasingly gaining political clout. The breakout came when former Vice President Al Gore released his film “Inconvenient Truth” on May 24, 2006. From this point on global warming and climate change became an issue of those seeking to control the means of producing oil, natural gas and coal. The alternative no longer was clean energy via nuclear power. Rather clean energy was anything but nuclear and fossil fuel driven power. It became solar and wind power, heavily subsidized by governments globally.
Along Comes Donald J. Trump
On June 1, 2017 President Trump formally removed the United States from the Kyoto Protocol. In a Rose Garden event President Trump stated:
Therefore, in order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord — (applause) — thank you, thank you — but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris Accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers. So we’re getting out. But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine. (Applause.)
As President, I can put no other consideration before the wellbeing of American citizens. The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.
Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country. This includes ending the implementation of the nationally determined contribution and, very importantly, the Green Climate Fund which is costing the United States a vast fortune. [Emphasis added]
It was the conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who started all of this climate change discussion. It was President Trump who ended it at least for the United States of America. Now you know the real story.