Former UK chancellor warns Europe, US against setting up trade barriers to developing nations
Nigel Lawson believes it is wrong for the West to use environmental concerns as a weapon to beat China.
“It is wrong in two ways. It is wrong morally because it is asking them to slow their development down,” says the former British chancellor of the exchequer who is now well known as a leading climate change skeptic.
“It is also wrong in practical terms because it is quite clear they are not going to do it (reduce carbon emissions sufficiently). China is not abandoning coal. It is going ahead with its coal-fired power stations.”
Lawson, a remarkably youthful 80, was speaking over morning coffee at the House of Lords, whose debates he regularly attends.
He is best known as one of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s key ministers in the 1980s but since the publication of his book An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming four years ago, he has also found notoriety as a bete noire of the Green Movement.
Some in the environmental movement refuse to engage with him, saying that he is recycling the arguments of the American oil industry and other vested interests.
He insists, however, that by going against what now seems a majority view he is not part of some new “Flat Earth” movement.
“You have to analyze what you mean by majority opinion. I think it is the majority opinion of the political classes in the West. It is not, however, the majority opinion of the public as whole. All the opinion polls show a high degree of skepticism among ordinary people, who often have more common sense than the political classes,” he says.