The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Blue Planet

Václav Klaus—an economist, the author of 20 books, and currently the President of the Czech Republic—is one of the few world leaders who has openly questioned the orthodoxy of climate alarmism. His book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles, questions whether global warming is primarily anthropogenic in origin and whether the draconian measures that have been proposed to address it (e.g., the Leiberman-Warner bill currently in front of Congress) are the best and most rational approach.

In a May 27th speech at the National Press Club, he addressed an underlying threat of the climate change debate that our MSM rarely considers. Klaus begins by noting that most of his life was spent under a communist regime which “ignored and brutally violated human freedom and wanted to command not only the people but also nature. To command "wind and rain" is one of the famous slogans I remember since my childhood.” He then goes on to state:
I do not, however, live in the past and do not see the future threats to free society coming from the old and old-fashioned communist ideology. The name of the new danger will undoubtedly be different, but its substance will be very similar. There will be the same attractive, to a great extent pathetic and at first sight quasi-noble idea that transcends the individual in the name of something above him, (of something greater than his poor self), supplemented by enormous self-confidence on the side of those who stand behind it. Like their predecessors, they will be certain that they have the right to sacrifice man and his freedom to make their idea reality. In the past it was in the name of the masses (or of the Proletariat), this time in the name of the Planet. Structurally, it is very similar.

I see the current danger in environmentalism and especially in its strongest version, climate alarmism. Feeling very strongly about it and trying to oppose it was the main reason for putting my book together, originally in Czech language, in the spring of 2007. It has also been the driving force behind my active involvement in the current Climate Change Debate and behind my being the only head of state who in September 2007 at the UN Climate Change Conference in New York City openly and explicitly challenged the undergoing global warming hysteria.

All of us are “green” to a greater or lessor degree. No one wants forests denuded, the oceans and the air polluted, rivers fouled or species indiscriminately eliminated. But environmental activists manipulate our green inclinations, suggesting that extreme solutions, economic hardship (mostly for developing nations), high costs (for all of us) are required to “save the planet.” They use unreliable and unsubstantiated 100-year models to frighten the public. These models assume a status quo—that no new technologies or alternative energy sources will be developed to combat man’s environmental impact. Ridiculous. The activists use a lazy and doctrinaire MSM that parrots poorly constructed “climate studies” and lionizes people like Al Gore without critical assessment. They use politicians who do not have the courage to buck the conventional wisdom and ask hard questions before extreme measures are undertaken. And they’re successful.

In talking about his book, Václav Klaus states:
The book was written by an economist who happens to be in a high political position. I don't deny my basic paradigm, which is the "economic way of thinking", because I consider it an advantage, not a disadvantage. By stressing that, I want to say that the Climate Change Debate in a wider and the only relevant sense should be neither about several tenths of a degree of Fahrenheit or Celsius, about the up or down movements of sea level, about the depths of ice at North and Southern Pole, nor about the variations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The real debate should be about costs and benefits of alternative human actions, about how to rationally deal with the unknown future, about what kind and size of solidarity with much wealthier future generations is justified, about the size of externalities and their eventual appropriate "internalization", about how much to trust the impersonal functioning of the markets in solving any human problem, including global warming and how much to distrust the very visible hand of very human politicians and their bureaucrats.

But as Al Gore has stated unequivocally, “the real debate is over.” Klaus quotes from a correspondence he recently received: “"We are now at the stage where mere facts, reason, and truth are powerless in the face of the global warming propaganda."

When facts, reason, and truth fall by the wayside, we’re threatened by something much larger and much more dangerous than climate change.