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Introduction to the Presentation of the Book “Blue Planet in Green Shackles” in Tirana

English Pages, 5. 10. 2009

It is my great pleasure to be in Albania for the first time and to have the opportunity to present my book Planeti blu në vargonj të gjelbër here today. We had very friendly and productive talks with President Topi and Prime Minister Berisha this morning and I can assure you that your country has a good friend in the Czech Republic.

I am really glad that this book of mine has – after Czech, English, German, Dutch, Russian, Polish, Spanish, Bulgarian, Italian, French and Slovenian editions – also its Albanian version. I would like to thank all those who helped to make this possible, most of all the Ambassador of Albania to the Czech Republic, Mr. Qazim Tepshi, whose initiative it was to publish this book here in Albania, the Institute of International Relations for publishing the book, and of course Mr. Adriatik Shino, who translated the book into Albanian.  

The original Czech version of the book was published more than two years ago, in May 2007. Having carefully followed what has been happening in these two years in the political arena, in the media, as well as in the scientific community, I am more and more convinced that the topic, the content and the message of the book are as important and as relevant as when it was first published. In the meantime, five weeks ago, I published another book on a similar topic in the Czech language under the title “Blue Planet Endangered”. It is a collection of articles and speeches I wrote after the publication of the “Blue Planet in Green Shackles”. Some arguments are new, but the main message remains basically the same.

I keep saying that the real threat is not global warming itself. The real threat starts when politicians dare manipulate or play with the climate. I tried to express my strong feelings about this already in the subtitle of my book Cila rrezikohet: klima apo liria? My answer to this question is very clear and straightforward: Liria rrezikohet. Klima skon mirë.“ 

A month ago, I attended an international conference in Italy devoted to the same problem. To my surprise, both the moderator of this event and one of the panelists thought that what I suggest in my book is a trade off between climate on one hand and freedom on the other hand, that – according to me – we can have either one or the other. This is not what I’m saying. I am asking what is more endangered due to our activities, the activities of mankind, now. And that is, no doubt, freedom. Climate is OK.

At another launching of my book, it was in Poland almost a year ago, one participant of the event at the University of Warsaw expressed his basic agreement with my views about the scientific and economic aspects of the issue but asked me where I see the threat to freedom because he doesn’t see it. I tried to tell him that environmentalism, and especially its most extreme version, global warming alarmism, asks for an almost unprecedented expansion of government intrusion, of government intervention into our lives and of government control over them. 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 and so on. Some of us and some of you had experienced similar examples of that in the communist era and – I believe – we are obliged to do everything we can to avoid similar fate in the future.

I very often 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 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.

All the necessary arguments used in today’s debate about global warming are well-known and it is difficult to add anything fundamentally new to them. What really bothers me is that what we witness can be fairly described as a “dialog of the deaf.” The main problem is that especially people who make decisions do not listen. The preparations for the 2009 Copenhagen summit are one of the best examples of this.

We have to keep stressing several simple facts that are overlooked or ignored by the media. 

First, the increase in global temperature in the last century has been very small, if any at all. Don’t forget it.

Second, there has been no statistically significant net global warming in the last twelve to fourteen years. I know that it is not a laboratory proof of the nonexistence of long-term warming but it is a relevant information.

Third, the scientific dispute about the causes of the recent climate changes is not over, it continues.  There is no scientific consensus about it.

Fourth, the idea of a static, unchanging climate is, without any doubts, foreign to the history of the Earth. The climate has always been changing. 

The panic and the ambitious attempts to stop climate changes continue regardless these undisputable facts.

I am convinced that the impact of the small climate changes we experience and will experience upon human beings and all kinds of their activities is – because of their imaginable size – practically negligible. I will use just one sort of argumentation. The IPCC in its model simulations suggests that – because of higher temperatures in the year 2100 than they are now – the world GDP in the year 2100 will be 2.9% lower than without any warming. Only 2.9%, without any anti-warming measures. The same models tell us that the GDP per capita in the developed countries will be 8 times higher than now and the GDP per capita in the developing world will be approximately five times higher than that of the developed world today. These figures are not mine, these are the figures of the leading exponents of the global warming doctrine. The question must be raised: should we drastically limit CO2 emissions today by 20, 30, 50, or 80% and, thereby, abandon our way of life for the sake of such a small effect when the future generations of people will be far better off than we are today? My answer is that 2.9% of the future GDP is a minor loss. A loss generated by a completely useless fight against global warming would be far greater. 

To block economic growth by making it more costly is a wrong strategy. History tells us that greater wealth and developments of technology profoundly increase our ability to cope with all kinds of problems, including potential climate fluctuations. We should believe in human adaptation, in technical progress, in the rationality of free people and should not make decisions for future generations. 

Politicians, their bureaucrats as well as many well-meaning individuals, who accept the alarmist view of anthropogenic climate change, probably hope that – by doing so – they are displaying intelligence, virtue and altruism. Some of them even believe they are saving the Earth. We should tell them that they are passive players in the hands of lobbyists, of producers of green technologies, of agrobusiness firms producing ethanol, of trading firms dealing in carbon emission rights, etc., who hope to make billions at our costs. There is no altruism there. It is a political and/or business cold-hearted calculation. Individual freedom, not unnatural wisdom of governments, is the key. 

I have to repeat my question: Cila rrezikohet? My answer is: liria. Dhe prosperiteti.

Václav Klaus, Institute of International Relations, Tirana, October 5, 2009


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