The rapid demise of coal has burnished the country’s climate credentials
MARGARET THATCHER was a chemist by training, which may be one reason why she was also one of the first world leaders to warn about the dangers of an overheating planet. In a speech to the UN in 1989 she highlighted the risks posed by the “vast increase” in the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere.
It made little difference. When Thatcher gave her speech, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere stood at about 350 parts per million (ppm). Today the number is 412ppm, and rising fast: 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record. Indeed, each of the past five years is one of the five hottest.