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

English Pages, 8. 2. 2010

It’s a great pleasure to be in Cairo and Egypt again after less than two years and to have the opportunity to personally present the Arabic version of my book “Blue Planet in Green Shackles” here.

Let me thank all those who helped to make it possible, especially my good friend Shafik Gabr who initiated the whole process, the publisher El Moallem, the Czech Ambassador Miloslav Stašek, and last but not least Emira Klementova who translated the book into Arabic. I am unfortunately not able to check the quality of the translation myself but my chief of staff Jiří Weigl tells me it is good. So, thank you.

For me, being in Egypt means being in a friendly country, being in a country which has achieved a lot in overcoming various kinds of barriers to its so much needed economic and social development. We, in the Czech Republic, follow with great interest your efforts to move ahead. We consider Egypt to be one of the stabilizing factors in the very complicated Middle East region and try to support you in this respect. I am pleased to inform you that I had very friendly and positive talks with your president earlier today and I am looking forward to my other meetings here in Cairo tomorrow.

We all know that Egypt needs favourable conditions for its development – most of all peace and domestic political stability, as well as the removal of all kinds of barriers that hinder, if not block its economic progress. And this is what brings me to the topic of my book Blue Planet in Green Shackles which is devoted to the discussion and criticism of the doctrine of environmentalism and especially of the doctrine of global warming. It deserves to be called a doctrine, it is not an objective, scientific survey of the results of climatology about climate or temperature. This doctrine and its implementation is about economic growth, progress and prosperity of mankind. 

In May 2010, it will be three years since the publication of the original Czech version of the book. In these three years, the book appeared in other 12 languages – in English, German, Dutch, Russian, Polish, Spanish, Bulgarian, Italian, French, Slovenian, Albanian and last week also in Danish. Other editions are on the way. Having carefully followed the developments in the political arena, in the media and in the scientific community in these three years, I am more and more convinced that the topic, the content and the message of my book are as important and as relevant as when it was published for the first time. “Global warming” is a non-problem. 

It may be useful to recapitulate how the doctrine of global warming came into being. In a normal case, there is an empirical observation first, the discovery of evident trends or tendencies. Then follow competing scientific hypotheses that explain it and their testing. When they get enough support, they raise the attention of the politicians. The whole process eventually leads to the initiation of concrete policy measures. 

None of this happened with the global warming doctrine. 
It started quite differently. The people who had never believed in human freedom, in impersonal forces of the market and in other voluntary forms of human interaction and who had always wanted to control, regulate and mastermind us have been for a long time searching for a simple and sufficiently threatening argument that could justify these ambitions of theirs. After having tried several alternative ideas – population bomb, rapid exhaustion of natural resources, global cooling, acid rains, ozone holes – all of which very rapidly proved to be non-existent, they came up with the idea of global warming. Their doctrine was formulated despite the absence of reliable data evidence, of scientifically proven theories and of their comprehensive testing. 

Politicians bought into this doctrine at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, fell in love with it and – without waiting for its scientific underpinning – started preparing and introducing various economically damaging and freedom endangering measures. They understood that playing the global warming game is an easy, politically correct and politically profitable card to play (especially when it is obvious that they themselves will not carry the costs of the measures they are advocating and implementing and will not be responsible for their consequences).

There are plenty of arguments indicating that the real threat is not global warming itself.
The real threat comes when politicians start playing with the climate and with all of us. My position is expressed in the question I raised in the subtitle of my book “What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?” My answer to this question is very clear and straightforward: “it is our freedom” and “our prosperity.

Environmentalism, and especially its most extreme version,
global warming alarmism, asks for an almost unprecedented expansion of government intrusion into our lives and of government control over us. 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 had experienced similar examples of that in the communist era and feel obliged to do everything we can to avoid similar developments in the future.

Environmentalism and global warming alarmism ask for substantial restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions. It will substantially increase the costs of energy because it will ask for restrictions on the use of oil and coal which are much cheaper than alternative energy sources. Cheap energy is the source of much of our prosperity. Subsidizing wind and solar power is a wrong strategy. It will without a doubt create a severe and protracted economic hardship for little or no benefit. Energy is used to produce thousands of other products. When energy prices go up, the costs of nearly all other goods and services go up as well. 

All the necessary arguments used in today’s debate about global warming are at our disposal and it is difficult to add anything fundamentally new to them. We have to keep stressing several basic facts that are largely overlooked or ignored by the politicians and by the media.

First, the increase in global temperature in the last century has been very small, if any. There is no global warming “crisis.”

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

Third, the scientific dispute about the causes of the recent climate changes is not over, it continues.  There is no scientific consensus in this field. What is more and more evident is that CO2 is not the main culprit. Carbon dioxide constitutes less than 4 % of the total of greenhouse gases (water vapour more than 90 %). Of that 4 %, mankind contributes a little more than 3 %. Three per cent of 4 per cent is 0.12 %. 

Fourth, the idea of a static, unchanging climate is, no doubt, foreign to the history of the Earth. The climate has always been changing and the attempts to fix it just now are entirely irrational. 

The people have proved to be able to adapt to warmer and cooler temperatures. There is no reason to expect that they will lose this adaptability just now. Better technologies will help them.

I am convinced that the impact of the small climate changes we experience upon human beings and all kinds of their activities is – because of their size – practically negligible. I will use just one line of argumentation. In its model simulations, the IPCC suggests that – because of higher temperatures in the year 2100 – the world GDP in the year 2100 will be 2.9% lower than without any warming. I repeat, only 2.9%, without any man-made anti-warming measures. 

The same models tell us that the GDP per capita in the developed countries will be eight times higher than now and in the developing countries about 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 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 climate would be far greater. 

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 merely 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 business cold-hearted calculation. 

I have to repeat my question: What is endangered?” My answer is: “It is our freedom and our prosperity. The climate is OK.” This is relevant for all countries but even more so for the less developed ones. They must have a chance to grow, to develop, to move ahead without any artificial constraints – the totally useless fight against the current CO2 levels being one of the most important and dangerous ones. We have to resist such ambitions in the name of freedom, prosperity and progress. Countries like Egypt should not become victims of the irresponsible doctrine of global warming.

One short explanatory comment. I very often see that people confuse two 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.

Václav Klaus, ARAB Global forum, Hotel Four Seasons, Cairo, February 8, 2010


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