Unpublished FT letter, on Just Stop Oil, Thatcher and social movements… @JustStop_Oil

Another failed letter (my one success this year was in May. See here).

The excellent letter from Patricia Finney (‘It’s simple physics and chemistry – climate change will kill us all’, FT 17 December) will hopefully give readers o the FT in high places pause for thought. 

There are two points I wish to clarify. First, she states “scientists have been warning about it for 30 years.” Sadly, the warnings go back to the 1950s. Through the 1970s various UK civil servants and scientists became steadily more concerned. (see Jon Agar, 2015  “Future forecast – changeable and probably getting worse”: the UK Government’s Early Response to Anthropogenic Climate Change . Twentieth Century British History, Volume 26, Issue 4). Finally, in 1980 they briefed Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. who replied incredulously, “Are you telling me I should worry about the weather?” (see John Campbell, Margaret Thatcher. Vol. 2: The Iron Lady (London, 2003), 642-643.)

Secondly, Finney argues that “nothing else has worked, not petitions, not marches.” Agreed, but what hasn’t been tried, or tried repeatedly and reflexively enough, is the building of coalitions between workers, environmentalists, the young, pensioners, academics that can resist the lure of repeated feel-good mobilisations and also the dangers of being brought inside government and corporate tents for feel-good do-nothing roundtables and consultations.  

Just Stop Oil has, I would guess, around 1000 activists. The UK has a population of over 65 million.  In the words of the police chief in the film Jaws, “we’re going to need a bigger boat.”

2 thoughts on “Unpublished FT letter, on Just Stop Oil, Thatcher and social movements… @JustStop_Oil

Add yours

  1. My comment here. is really just a top-up on “What went wrong”. Climate Change is not new, it’s an ongoing phenomenon, why we are beating ourselves up over something we cannot change is beyond me!

    What we are doing to stop Climate Change, won’t stop it, it will only change it’s direction. If we really want to stop the degradation of our environment, address the real issue GROWTH.

    1. Lots of different growth problems (consumption, population. Yes, climate is a symptom of a broader/underlying problem, of humans not understanding that there are limits on the ability of natural systems to absorb damage….

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