English Pages, 18. 8. 2011
Época: When did you decide to write Blue Planet in Green Shackles? When was the first time you felt that the freedom was in danger?
VK: I entered the global warming debate in the middle of the last decade when I saw that the voice of the economists in the debate is almost entirely missing. I started to see the ideology of environmentalism as a problem already at the beginning of the 1970s in the context of the activities of the infamous Club of Rome and of its irresponsible catastrophic forecasts. My first TV discussion with Al Gore about the nonsense of man-made global warming took place in New York City already in February 1992, few months before the Rio “Earth Summit”.
What do you think about emission trading? Wouldn’t it be a way to conciliate the pollution control and the free market?
Certainly not. To promote this idea is a tragic mistake from many aspects. First, CO2 is not a pollutant (CO2 does not “pollute”), which has been explained already many times but with no effect. Second, I don’t believe – and I am not alone – that the man-made CO2 emissions cause global warming and that the restrictions on the CO2 emissions will stop climate fluctuations. Third, emission trading is a mere playing the market, it is a game of the state with the market. Our communist experience tells us that the market shouldn’t be played with.
Do the people of the Czech Republic share your opinion about the global warming?
The Czech public is in this respect very rational. In the opinion polls the share of those who believe in the doctrine of global warming is repeatedly below 50 percent.
The biggest research centers in the world (such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Academy of Science, the Royal Society and the World Meteorological Association) says that the global warming is real, that it puts the civilization in danger and that it is caused by the men. Are they all wrong?
Science is done by scientists, not by research centers – big or small. Moreover, the IPCC is not a research center, it is a highly politicized organization under the auspices of the United Nations. The Hadley Center is an activist, pro-global warming grouping, not a neutral research organization. In the Massachusetts Institute of Technology there are scientists who are on the side of global warming alarmism and who are against it. One of the leading opponents of the global warming dogma is Richard Lindzen, a well-known and highly respected atmospheric physicist, professor of meteorology at MIT. The Royal Society is not a research center either, it is an umbrella organization for various scientific organizations. To sum it up, science YES, politically engaged, would-be scientific organizations NO.
If they are wrong, or if they give us the wrong messages, how can we trust in those, which are the greatest scientific research centers for all the other subjects? Can we trust in all the scientific research that was made in the last 50 years about the climate, the nature and the meteorology?
It is not necessary to look at it that way. No rational person would question the science as such. People like me do not have disputes with science, but with politicized science. As a former scientist, I believe in science, but I am alert when it comes to the misuse of science in politics and by politicians.
In your book, you say that the nature has always managed to adapt to the climate changes that occurred in history. But now things are changing more quickly: while the temperature used to rise from 2 to 6 degrees in a hundred thousand years, lately the prevision is to have the same rise in one hundred years. How can a forest, with trees that takes thirty years to start reproducing, manage to adapt so fast?
I have never seen any evidence that there is an acceleration of changes in the climate. This is an argument of the ideologists of environmentalism only. The data don’t prove it. I have never seen data about the rise of temperature from 2–6 °C in one hundred years – according to the IPCC statistics (which I don’t have any reason to question), the average global temperature on Earth increased by 0.74 °C in the last century! Only 0.74 °C in one hundred years! It is totally irresponsible to spread misleading and false data.
The economist Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, has published a review about the global warming where he concludes that without action, the overall costs of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year. Including a wider range of risks and impacts could increase this to 20% of GDP or more. Do you believe he is wrong? Why?
Mr. Stern is – to my great regret – wrong. His “Review” is not a scientific text, it is a biased global warming pamphlet. But even he doesn’t say that we will lose “at least 5 % of global GDP each year” (if not 20 % or more). He argues that when mankind will do nothing, the world GDP in the year 2100 will be 5 % lower than it would have been without any global warming. The point is that even Nicolas Stern assumes that the world GDP will be eight times higher than now in developed countries (and that the wealth of the developing world will be approximately five times higher than the wealth of the developed world today). It is a totally different message.
You say that there is a campaign to silence the voices that rise against the environmentalists. Have you ever been censured?
As a President of a country, I have some privileges in this respect, which means that it is much easier for the censors to complicate life to hundreds and thousands of other authors than to me. The frustration of these people who are victims of this procedure is very real. It is also an irony of history that it is easier for scientists to publish criticism of the global warming doctrine when they are retired because they don’t risk having problems with their jobs, promotions, grants, publications, etc.
If people are giving lectures and publishing books against the policies to fight the climate change, how come there is censure?
I don’t use the term “to censure”. What we are confronted with is the non-publishing or late publishing of serious articles, not getting grants for very promising scientific projects and to very promising scientists, dismissals from jobs or failures to get one, etc. There are many examples of all of that which reminds me of the procedures used in the communist era in my country.
Do you plan to write another book?
I write articles and make lectures about global warming practically all the time. There are many new data, theories, arguments about global warming and I am well aware of them, but I don’t see any qualitatively new arguments which would motivate me to write a new book devoted to the same subject. I am convinced that the “good old” arguments are sufficient.
Published in the Época, June 20, 2011.
Translation from Portugese.
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