English Pages, 9. 12. 2008
It is my great pleasure to be again in your country – after more than two years – and to have the opportunity to present my book “Blue, not Green Planet” here today.
I am really glad that this book of mine has – after Czech, English, German, Dutch, Russian, Polish and Spanish editions – also its Bulgarian version. I would like to thank all those who helped to make this possible, most of all Mr. Chavdar Minchev, the publisher, His Excellency Mr. Zdravko Popov, Ambassador of Bulgaria to the Czech Republic, and of course Petr Zlateff who translated the book into Bulgarian language.
Day by day, one international conference or summit after another, I am more and more convinced that the topic of the book is most important. It’s much more important than the financial panic we are witnessing these days and more dangerous also. I tried to express my strong feeling about this already in the subtitle of my book “Кое е застрашено – климатът или свободата?” /Koe e zastrašéno – klimatat ili svobodáta?/ My answer to this question is very clear and straightforward: “Застрашена е свободата, климатът е съвсем наред.” /Zastrašéna e svobodáta, klímatat e savsém naréd/
I want to start with the clarification of one frequent misunderstanding, which I so strongly realized last week while making an interview with a reporter from your daily Trud. I repeatedly see that people confuse two basically different things – a necessary protection of the environment (necessary because there is no doubt that we have to take care of the rivers, lakes, seas, forests and air) and an irrational attempt to fight or even to protect the climate. I am very much in favor of rational efforts when it comes to environmental protection, but I resolutely reject any attempts to change – or as I frequently hear to combat – climate.
After having spent years studying this issue I came to the conclusion that we have been constantly deceived. The Great Global Warming Debate is not about temperature or CO2 levels. It is not a scientific dispute inside climatology. It is a clash between those who want to change us (not climate) and those who believe in freedom, markets, human ingenuity, and technical progress. It is a dispute about us, about people, about human society, about our values, about our habits, about our life.
In my book, I try to demonstrate the swindle and the emptiness of the environmentalists’ dogma. Its main postulates can be summarized in the following way:
- the world has been getting warmer;
- the people are to blame;
- we are facing a major catastrophe;
- usual adaptation of human beings to changing circumstances, up to now many times proven and found sufficient, will not help;
- aggressive mitigation, which means attempts to change climate, temperature and CO2 emissions, however costly it may be, must be done immediately.
We should say very loudly that these views are untenable.
I have not been convinced that we witness a unique, unprecedented, large and man-made global warming. On the contrary, the available evidence tells me that:
1. The warming is not global. It materializes only in the cold, but not in tropical regions, in dry, not wet areas, in the winter, not in the summer, and during the nights, not during the days.
2. The warming is not large. The average temperature increase in the last century in the whole world was only 0.74 °C;
3. The warming is not unique and unprecedented. The temperature in the Medieval Warm Period was higher than it is now.
4. The mild warming we experience is also not exclusively man-made or CO2-made. There are many other factors influencing the temperature and climate and we know that the whole very complex and insufficiently understood climate system is full of major uncertainties.
We, nevertheless, see that many political leaders, many governments and many ordinary people as well are accepting the environmentalist dogma. The question is why. My answer is that it is because the people are immensely manipulated by protagonists of these ideas. The children are mystified in schools, the adults on their TVs. And that is the reason why I think it is necessary to raise ones voice and challenge this propaganda.
At a similar presentation two months ago in Warsaw, one man expressed his agreement with my views about warming but asked me where I see the threat to freedom because he doesn’t see it. I tried to tell him that global warming alarmism asks for an almost unprecedented expansion of government intrusion, intervention and control of our lives. We are forced to accept rules about how to live, what to do, how to behave, what to consume, what to eat, how to travel.
My book is not about climatology. It belongs to the field of the economics of global warming. The most important argument is – in my understanding – the way how to look at the future and how to approach the intergenerational solidarity (or discrimination) dilemma the people are inevitably, day by day, facing. Especially when they deal with long time intervals. This requires the standard application of the economic concept of discounting. We have to look at this crucial issue rationally – not with ethical or moralistic apriorisms – but with taking into account the opportunity costs of fighting the climate. These costs are nonzero and the discount rate, used in climatologist models, shouldn’t be zero either. In this respect the infamous Stern Report is fundamentally wrong.
To conclude, I don’t think that radical, human freedom and prosperity endangering measures and policies are necessary. Human adaptation, human flexibility, technical progress and the markets will be sufficient.
Václav Klaus, Sheraton Hotel, Sofia, December 9, 2008
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