Vaclav Klaus

  • Q: On Wednesday, the European Commission (EC) has approved limits on carbon dioxide emissions for new cars. One week ago, the U.N. climate panel (IPCC AR4) released a report that has described, much like previous reports, the global warming as one of the major threats for the whole civilization. The Stern review about similar threats was published before that. At the same time, you decide to declare that the global warming is a myth. Try to explain, how did you get your idea?
  • A: The idea is not mine. Global warming is a myth and I think that every serious person and scientist says so. It is unfair to refer to the United Nations panel. IPCC is not a scientific body: it's a political institution, a kind of non-government organization with green flavor. It's not a forum of neutral scientists or a balanced group of scientists. Its members are politicized scientists who arrive there with one-sided sentiments and one-sided tasks. Also, it's an undignified practical joke that people don't wait for the complete report that will appear in May 2007 but instead react, in such a serious manner, to the summary for policy makers where all the "ifs" and "whens" and "buts" are scratched, erased, and replaced by oversimplified theses.
  • This is obviously such an incredible failure of so many people, from journalists to politicians... If the European Commission were instantly going to buy such a trick, we would have another solid reason to think that the countries themselves, not the Commission, should be deciding about similar matters.
  • Q: How do you explain that we can't see any other comparably senior statesman in Europe who would defend your viewpoint? No one else seems to offer such strong opinions...
  • A: My opinions about this issue simply are strong. Other top-tier politicians do not express their global warming doubts because a whip of political correctness strangles their voices.
  • Q: But you are not a climatologist. Do you have a sufficient knowledge and enough information?
  • A: Environmentalism as a meta-physical ideology and as a world view has absolutely nothing to do with natural sciences or the climate itself. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with social sciences either. Despite these facts, it is getting fashionable and this process scares me. The second part of the assertion should be: we also have plenty of reports, studies, and books of climate scientists whose conclusions are diametrically opposite.
  • You're right that I never measure the width of ice in Antarctica. Indeed, I don't know how to do it, I don't intend to learn it, and I don't pretend to be an expert in such measurements. Nevertheless, as a scientifically inclined man, I know how to read science articles about these questions, e.g. about ice in Antarctica. I don't have to be a climate scientist myself to read them. The papers I have read simply don't lead to the conclusions we may see in the media. But let me promise you something: this topic worries me which is why I began to write an article about it last Christmas. The article grew in size and it turned into a book (Blue, not Green Planet ). In a few months, it will be published. Among seven chapters, one will organize my opinions about the climate change.
  • Environmentalism and the green ideology are something very different from climate science. Various screams and findings of scientists are misused by this ideology.
  • Q: What do you think is the reason that conservative media are skeptical while the left-wing media interpret the global warming as a well-established fact?
  • A: It is not quite precisely divided to the right-wingers and left-wingers. Nevertheless it's obvious that environmentalism is a new incarnation of contemporary leftism.
  • Q: If you look at these things, even if you were right...
  • A: ...I am right...
  • Q: ...Don't we have empirical evidence and facts accessible to our eyes that imply that Man is ruining the planet and himself?
  • A: It's such a nonsense that I have probably not yet heard a greater nonsense.
7.9.2007 - ENGLISH PAGES
Global Warming Hysteria or Freedom and Prosperity?

One can tell – with a high degree of confidence – what topics are expected to be raised here, this morning when it comes to discussing the key challenges of today’s world. The selection of the moderator and my fellow-panelists only confirms it. I guess it is either international terrorism or poverty in Africa. Talking about both of these topics is necessary because they are real dangers but it is relatively easy to talk about them because it is politically correct. I do see those dangers and do not in any way underestimate them. I do, however, see another major threat which deserves our attention – and I am afraid it does not get sufficient attention because to discuss it is politically incorrect these days.

The threat I have in mind is the irrationality with which the world has accepted the climate change (or global warming) as a real danger to the future of mankind and the irrationality of suggested and partly already implemented measures because they will fatally endanger our freedom and prosperity, the two goals we consider – I do believe – our priorities.

We have to face many prejudices and misunderstandings in this respect. The climate change debate is basically not about science; it is about ideology. It is not about global temperature; it is about the concept of human society. It is not about nature or scientific ecology; it is about environmentalism, about one – recently born – dirigistic and collectivistic ideology, which goes against freedom and free markets.

I spent most of my life in a communist society which makes me particularly sensitive to the dangers, traps and pitfalls connected with it. Several points have to be clarified to make the discussion easier:

1. Contrary to the currently prevailing views promoted by global warming alarmists, Al Gore’s preaching, the IPCC, or the Stern Report, the increase in global temperatures in the last years, decades and centuries has been very small and because of its size practically negligible in its actual impact upon human beings and their activities. (The difference of temperatures between Prague where I was yesterday and Cernobbio where I am now is larger than the expected increase in global temperatures in the next century.)

2. As I said, the empirical evidence is not alarming. The arguments of global warming alarmists rely exclusively upon forecasts, not upon past experience. Their forecasts originate in experimental simulations of very complicated forecasting models that have not been found very reliable when explaining past developments.

3. It is, of course, not only about ideology. The problem has its important scientific aspect but it should be stressed that the scientific dispute about the causes of recent climate changes continues. The attempt to proclaim a scientific consensus on this issue is a tragic mistake, because there is none.

4. We are rational and responsible people and have to act when necessary. But we know that a rational response to any danger depends on the size and probability of the eventual risk and on the magnitude of the costs of its avoidance. As a responsible politician, as an academic economist, as an author of a book about the economics of climate change, I feel obliged to say that – based on our current knowledge – the risk is too small and the costs of eliminating it too high. The application of the so called “precautionary principle,” advocated by the environmentalists, is – conceptually – a wrong strategy.

5. The deindustrialization and similar restrictive policies will be of no help. Instead of blocking economic growth, the increase of wealth all over the world and fast technical progress – all connected with freedom and free markets – we should leave them to proceed unhampered. They represent the solution to any eventual climate changes, not their cause. We should promote adaptation, modernization, technical progress. We should trust in the rationality of free people.

6. It has a very important North-South and West-East dimension. The developed countries do not have the right to impose any additional burden on the less developed countries. Imposing overambitious and – for such countries – economically disastrous environmental standards on them is unfair.

No radical measures are necessary. We need something “quite normal.” We have to get rid of the one-sided monopoly, both in the field of climatology and in the public debate. We have to listen to arguments. We have to forget fashionable political correctness. We should provide the same or comparable financial backing to those scientists who do not accept the global warming alarmism.

I really do see environmentalism as a threat to our freedom and prosperity. I see it as “the world key current challenge.”

Václav Klaus, Ambrosetti Forum,Villa d’Este,Itálie


7.8.2007 - ENGLISH PAGES

Czech Republic: President Says Freedom is Endangered, Not Climate

PRAGUE, August 3, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Czech President Vaclav Klaus is well-known for his critical, often contrariant views. An economist by profession who has played a key role in Czech politics since the fall of communism, Klaus has now become a standard-bearer for those who say global warming is not a major threat.

In an interview with RFE/RL correspondents Jeremy Bransten and Kathleen Moore, Klaus speaks about the planned U.S. antimissile shield, environmentalists, relations with the European Union, and attempts to foster democracy in the postcommunist world.

RFE/RL: The Czech parliament recently approved, with your signature, the establishment of a new Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes that will research the communist and Nazi periods in this country. Why do you think the Czech Republic needs this institute, especially since there is already an Institute for Contemporary History and the Office for the Documentation and Investigation of Communist Crimes?

Vaclav Klaus: I have to admit that I don't have a strong opinion on this matter. I am bothered about and interested in Communism as a phenomenon. I lived through it for the biggest part of my life, so I feel I know something about it. I feel I would really enjoy reading a new book, study or work that would reveal something that I don't know or haven’t read in hundreds of other books and articles. So if anyone can add anything to this, that would be good.

On the other hand, I know that nothing will be added to this by an „Institute“. An institute does not provide anything because an institute doesn't write anything. It is certain people, authors who might or might not have something to say, who write, so I would expect practically nothing from an institute itself. If there is anybody able to motivate a group of skillful people who will research, come up with something, have strong opinions about it, and are capable of contributing something, then that is alright. But the idea that we can solve a problem by setting up an institute is not the one I share.

RFE/RL: Do you see a problem in the fact that the institute's governing board will be chosen by politicians?

Klaus: Not at all, these are irrelevant things that are stirring the waters in our calm, summer political pond. It's not about that at all. Who else would be on any board? Look at the board of your radio station, or any other board of any other similar institution in the United States. Who would devise them? Would [the members] be chosen by lottery? Or would there be a referendum on who should be on the board? It's just a made-up, unnecessarily nasty game against politicians and I don't think it's a worthy topic for discussion. Who else should choose them? NGOs? Greenpeace fanatics? I don't understand who should [choose them].

RFE/RL: Do you think new members of the European Union, who experienced communist oppression, should help democracy movements in countries such as Belarus? And if so, how?

Klaus: Exporting a revolution or democracy is just a fantasy and these fantasies usually end really badly. I don't see the world like that. I don't, for instance, think that democracy was imported here and that somebody had to teach us or that we needed to be educated in this, nothing like that was necessary. I think the system here came apart from the inside and I believe it will fall apart in a similar way, sooner or later, inside Belarus or Cuba or anywhere else. Those heroes who believe that they caused the fall of communism, that's a falsehood, they're flattering themselves. So please be aware of this.

RFE/RL: But there are active dissident groups that already exist in countries like Belarus. They put on demonstrations and try in other ways to struggle against the regime. Should they be supported or left to their own devices?

Klaus: If we can support them in any appropriate way without complicating their domestic situation, then we should. But should it be some „program“, that's a naive way of looking at history.

RFE/RL: Thanks partly to your latest book "A Blue, Not A Green Planet" you've become well-known abroad for your opinions on global warming. Was this your intention, do you welcome this? Do you want to be an "anti"-Al Gore?

Klaus: This issue has concerned me tremendously for a long time. I met Al Gore in a television debate about this issue in New York some 15 years ago, so it's not a new thing that I've just discovered. I consider it one of the most serious threats to freedom in the world, one of the most serious threats to the normal development of humanity.

Of course not global warming itself, but the opinions that are being smuggled in to us, thanks to the false threat of global warming, by people like Al Gore and many others. The hysteria around this in Western Europe and the U.S. is ridiculous and undignified and there's no doubt that people in a few years' or decades' time will laugh at us and wonder if we went mad in the first decade of the 21st century by betting on this card. I think we should use all possible ways to break this hysteria and one way of doing so is writing this book and traveling around the world and giving lectures, talks, and interviews. I'm ready to go at the end of September to New York, where the UN secretary-general is organizing, a day before the General Assembly, a specific conference on global warming, where it will be a gathering of all the "Gore-ites". They have, „by mistake“, invited also me. And I'm going to have to give a very tough speech.

RFE/RL: You write in your book that socialist ideology has been replaced by the threat of "ambitious environmentalism." Could you define what do you mean exactly?

Klaus: The quotation is not entirely accurate. Socialism is a certain social system, which could not have been replaced by environmentalism. If you have said that the socialist doctrine has been replaced with environmentalism, then I would understand. We keep on repeating, unceasingly, that one thing is ecology, let’s say scientific ecology, as a descriptive, positive science that describes some real things and phenomena in the world and tries to find connections, patterns, etc. among them. That discipline, however, we're not talking about here. A completely different thing is the German-term Weltanschauung. In other words the "world view" that exploits some theories from this or that discipline in order to carry out, in never-ending line, another attack against human freedom and the market economy.

The main attack on the market in the last one hundred, 150 years has been the softer or stronger versions of what -- now when communism has gone -- is known as the soziale Marktwirtshaft, social market economy. This is basically the official ideology of Germany and Austria and today even the EU. The main assault on the market and on human freedom has been the addition of the adjective "social" [to the word "market"].

At the beginning of my political career in the early 1990s I said, "a market without adjectives alias a market without epithets." In other words let's not spoil things with any adjectives. So the first assault was social, in the softer version it is today's European system, in the harder version the communism. Now, it is more frequently said there, a "socially and ecologically oriented" market economy which is another assault on the market and human freedom.

As someone who has experienced communism, I believe it is time to be alarmed by this. I'm not comparing the threat of communism versus the threat of environmentalism, as somebody incorrectly interpreted me. Communism was surely worse, though I think that with some of those extreme environmentalists we would live to see something similar. They would be also cutting heads off. If I say that something was replaced by something else, it's that today communism is no longer a doctrine that would appeal to millions and billions of people, who would go crazy under communist slogans to transform the world.

That's why I say this isn't the main danger today. Rather, the main danger is environmentalism, because it bears other, very attractive slogans. Who wouldn't be interested in a clean environment? You'd be mad to say something else. And this is the path through which, again, things, which threaten us in a fundamental way, are being smuggled through to us. Hence, it is not a comparison of gulag and Stalin’s communism with Al Gore or Mr. Bursík. That is a false argument some „scribbler“is trying to place in my mouth. I am saying, what today‘s danger is, I am not saying which was worse.

RFE/RL: Are you skeptical about global warming as a whole, or rather about its extent and the degree to which human behavior can affect it?

Klaus: The word skeptic is inappropriate. How can you be skeptical about whether prices are rising or not? Or how can you be a skeptic about whether you are measuring a temperature or not? Simply put, temperatures are measured and one can't speak about skepticism. Look at the actual numbers and you will see that over the past 100 years the average temperature around the world has risen by 0.7 degrees Celsius.
In Prague, if you have a thermometer in your car, and you drive from the city center at Wenceslas Square to any of the outlying housing estates, the difference in temperature will be, on average, 1.5 to 2 degrees. So, in a five-minute car drive you'll find yourself in another world where the temperature is different by 2 degrees. And you will survive. Humankind has therefore not even registered the 0.7 degree rise in temperature over the past 100 years. So this is not skepticism regarding measurements. It is a reasonable approach which says: "Let's not go crazy”.

If the temperature increases by 0.7 degrees in a century, let's not go crazy.

This is not skepticism. It is an appeal for realism, for a rational approach to looking at the world. I'm not saying that the temperature rise cannot somehow accelerate. There are countless scientific debates about this. Nevertheless, it is not true, it is just not true that there is a single view on this issue. It is simply a lie of a group supported by the media and politicians, which claims that there is a scientific consensus about this. Not to mention the fact that "scientific consensus" is not a technical term. When Galileo was alive, the "scientific consensus" was that he was wrong. But that proved nothing. There are equally strong arguments and counterarguments which suggest that it won’t be all that bad. So really, it's not about the temperature itself. The essential point of the argument is the cause of the rise of the temperature; whether it is the sun or our planet's internal mechanisms or whether mankind adds something to the equation. And here there is an enormous, endless debate. And I have to state responsibly, as a person who is of an academic background and who is a university professor, that the arguments put forward by both sides are equally well-founded. Pretending that there is only one set of arguments is a complete nonsense. So this is not about skepticism. I think we have to look at this realistically and not go crazy. That's the main thing: not to go crazy.

RFE/RL: You frequently appeal for the defense of individual freedoms. Nevertheless, governments in Europe and elsewhere -- partly through their tax policies -- are trying to encourage people to reduce their energy consumption. Governments also regulate industry. In your opinion, should the state not get involved? Should regulation be left to the free market? What role should government play?

Klaus: Governments and states should play a much lesser role than they currently do. They should interfere with people's lives to a much lesser degree around the world. I don't want to say that there aren't any reasons for governments sometimes to do something. If I thought that, I wouldn't have spent 17 years in politics. Undoubtedly there are some public goods, which should be safeguarded in a rational way. But in a rational way and not on the basis of Mr. Al Gore's appeals.

RFE/RL: Let's move on to missile defense, as it is very much in the news these days. Surveys show that two-thirds of people in the Czech Republic are against the location of a U.S. radar base in this country. Why are people so opposed, in your opinion?

Klaus: First of all, I think this disagreement should be respected. It is real, no one is making it up. No one is faking the polls that are being taken. The second point is; what is the motive behind this. I think there are two reasons. People have their own certain historical experiences and will always be wishing no to have large military bases nearby. That's very natural and very human. We can’t be surprised by that and if someone trivializes and simplifies everything, like [the government's coordinator for radar issues Tomas] Klvana, then he does a disservice to efforts aimed at agreeing on a reasonable solution to this issue.

The third thing is that people don't feel a danger clearly enough. And here it is the role for all possible politicians and analysts to explain to them the degree of the threat and of the risk. It is clear that the world has often been wrong and failed in estimating the threat. Therefore it is important to find an explanation of the degree of the threat. I fear, that this is not even being done. General statements that there are "rough" states Iran and North Korea, which seem extremely far away to any Czech citizen, are of course another reason why many people look at the issue this way. So the thing is to find a rational way forward. Not saying that people are stupid and we should change them.

RFE/RL: So should the government try to persuade Czechs to change their mind?

Klaus: It is necessary to explain things to them rightly. The word persuade sounds a bit like from a Bolshevik dictionary. I don't know where you lived under communism, but I think it's not an appropriate statement. It is necessary to a) indicate the level of threat in a convincing manner b) state the reason why we want to express our loyalty to the United States of America, to this significant partner of ours and an allied country. For me, personally, as I am repeatedly saying in all my statements, it is the second argument, rather than the first one, which is the stronger for me.

RFE/RL: Moving on to the EU. You call yourself a Euro-realist and it's well-known that you don't harbor very warm feelings toward Brussels. Before the Czech Republic joined the EU in 2004, you expressed the fear that membership could result in a loss of national identity. Three years on, how do you evaluate the situation?

Klaus: There is nothing new to that, my thesis remains in effect. I think that the number of people who agree with me is rapidly rising and people's experience with the EU only confirms what I said. In addition, the EU is more and more trying to assume the role of a supranational state and suppresses the identity of any country, ours or any other.
Yesterday, I was traveling by car and I waited at traffic lights and in front of me there were two cars. One car had our old-style Czech license plate, with the big round CZ sticker. The second car had the new-style EU plate, where the CZ was written in tiny letters. Anyone who doesn't understand what this example is about doesn't understand anything at all. The EU is trying to make the letters that symbolize our state as small as possible. You can't tell from a distance if there's an NL for the Netherlands written on there, or an SK for Slovakia. You can't tell. You either need binoculars or you need to be driving right next to the car.
This is a textbook example of the attempt to suppress, to rub out the basic entity that has formed the European continent and has given it its characteristic features. So this trend exists and it's not about Euro-skepticism. If you look at these two license plates, that is no Euro-skepticism. I am measuring in centimeters, in the undisputable centimeters, the size of the letters.

RFE/RL: If other prospective EU applicants, like Ukraine, or some of the Balkan states, came to you for advice on their membership bids, what would you tell them?

Klaus: Of course I am of the opinion that homogenizing, rubbing out individual things, controlling everything from a single center is harder to do, if there are more countries in. I am a person who recommends everyone to enter [the EU] because the more of us there is in the European Union, the weaker the power of the Brussels center will be.
21.6.2007 - ENGLISH PAGES
Questions and Answers: Freedom, not climate, is at risk

Václav Klaus answers a selection of questions he received from the Financial Times readers in reaction to his article published in FT on 14 June 2007.
...

Does President Klaus really believe that it is a good risk management strategy to ignore the summary report on climate change science by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, approved by the Czech Republic and other countries in February, concluding that continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century?
Bob Ward, London, UK

I think it is a very bad risk management strategy to follow the summary report on climate change of the IPCC. To do it would be a giving up of risk management rules and of standard cost-benefit analysis techniques in favour of environmentalists’ “precautionary principle” which totally discredits risk management and comparison of costs and benefits. I suppose that you don’t insure your house (or car) when the danger is small and the insurance is too expensive. That’s all.

...

Mr. Klaus, I believe, has asked the wrong question, and in doing so, is in danger of under-cutting his main point, which is the danger to personal freedom of a top-down, single-government approach to managing the problem of global warming. Instead of trying to ask, is global warming a REAL problem?, Mr Klaus should ask - and then provide his answer - the question: Assuming global warming is a REAL, global issue, how can we manage this problem on a global scale while also expanding personal freedom and economic welfare? I would be very interested in hearing his response to this question.
Robert Bruegel, Denver, Colorado


I ask myself several questions. Let’s put them in the proper sequence:
  • Is global warming a reality?
  • If it is a reality, is it man-made?
  • If it is a reality, is it a problem? Will the people in the world, and now I have to say “globally”, better-off or worse-off due to small increases of global temperature?
  • If it is a reality, and if it is a problem, can men prevent it or stop it? Can any reasonable cost-benefit analysis justify anything – within the range of current proposals – to be done just now?
Surprisingly, we can say yes – with some degree of probability – only to the first question. To the remaining three my answer is no. And I am not alone in saying that. We are, however, still more or less the silent or silenced majority.

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Because of the incredible complexity of variables controlling climate, programs based on empirical data cannot predict weather for a fortnight; so how can programs based on far less finite information accurately predict global warming?
William Bluhm, Bella Vista, AR


This is exactly my argument. It is impossible to seriously predict global weather, not to speak about climate. But my argument is less about eventual variations in global climate. My doubts are mostly about the impact of human activities on global climate. This connection seems to me – after having read hundreds of books, articles and studies – very weak. This weakness is a problem. Because of this weakness, we should not make drastic, far-reaching measures.

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Why do you disbelieve the science when every serious national scientific establishment appears to support it? And why do you suppose it to be a threat to freedom when both EU and UK essentially support market mechanisms as the primary policy instrument to deal with it?
John Rhys, UK


I do not disbelieve the science, but I see a big difference between science and “national scientific establishments”. To believe in scientific establishment is impossible, this is just another powerful rent-seeking group. Seeking rent for themselves, not for the mankind.

You suggest that both the EU and the UK support market mechanisms as the primary policy instrument to deal with climate change. We probably live on a different planet. I don’t see it happening.

At a somewhat deeper methodological level, I have to say that market mechanism is nobody’s policy instrument. It reminds me of the old communist days again. The issue was: market or central planning. The central planners, however, wanted to have market – in their hands – as a policy instrument. Do we have to live under communism to understand that?

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My assumption would be that the costs to implement the initial phases of the 50 per cent reduction idea would be measured in trillions of dollars to just the US. My question to you is what would it cost a country such as the Czech Republic, and what about opportunity costs associated with such reductions? That never seems to be discussed.
William Danielson, Hayward, Wisconsin US


As an economist (Professor of Finance at the Prague School of Economics) and as a former Minister of Finance I have to admit that I don’t know the answer to your question. I am not ashamed of this ignorance of mine. On the contrary, I am ashamed of the confidence of those who claim to know the answer.

At least two points should be made:
  • the costs will not be only financial ones because the main costs will be the negative impact upon human beings, their lives, their welfare, their freedom, their opportunities, their behaviour;
  • to calculate “the costs” for the next fifty years is ridiculous. We do not know the prices in the year 2050 and we do not know how important one million dollars (or euros) will be in the year 2050. Therefore, any “calculation” is meaningless. The more absurd it is, the easier it is to make such an announcement at the G8 summit.
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All that environmentalists demand is responsibility. Responsibility of those who cause damage to others to pay for that damage, and to do their utmost to stop inflicting it. I had the impression that responsibility was supposed to be a conservative virtue, and a necessary complement to the great freedom we have in our open market economies. But more and more I see the supporters of capitalism demand that they be free to dump their waste on their neighbours lawns without consequence. What happened?
Nanne Zwagerman


Environmentalists do not demand responsibility. Responsibility is not their idea, it is a basic, elementary aspect of human behaviour – on condition government policies do not give wrong incentives. The idea of responsibility for damage done to others is not the environmentalists’ copyright. It is a standard of human behaviour. Environmentalists – especially in the case of global warming – artificially created “a damage” (higher temperature) and made all of us responsible for it. I don’t believe in this “damage” and I am not ready to pay for it. The role of men in slightly higher global temperature (0.6°C in the last century) is only marginal, if any.

To say that “the supporters of capitalism demand that they are free to dump their waste on their neighbours lawns without consequence” has the beauty of communist propaganda I had a chance to “enjoy” during the first 48 years of my life.

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With the Czech Republic being a mid-sized European country, do you see a threat to your people and land from the climate change decisions and limitations being made by larger world powers? If so, what can the majority of the world do to mitigate harmful policies being forced by these powers?
William A. Warner, Tacoma, WA, US


It is very popular but cheap to blame “large world powers”. I don’t do it. I know many, very small European “powers” which are more environmentalist than most “large world powers”. The problem is that some politicians – of both large and small countries – are victims of environmentalism and use it for their own personal benefits.

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Years ago I heard people talking about how environmentalism would be used as the lever to usher in global (socialistic) government, because the environment affects everyone. Do you think this is what we are now seeing with the climate issue?
Mark, Lake Charles, US


Environmentalism is indeed a vehicle for bringing us socialist government at the global level. Again, my life in communism makes me oversensitive in this respect. The argumentation of various environmentalists is very similar to what we used to know in the past.

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Do you feel that the global warming is being used as a rallying point for the forces of globalisation? It is much like the Avian flu propaganda don’t you agree? Problem, reaction, solution. The trillionaires, that want to rule the world, are going to save us... that’s what I’m getting. What is your view?
Mark Lemmon


I don’t think that the environmentalists are “the trillionaires who want to rule the world”. I am afraid the environmentalists want to rule the world without being capable to earn those trillions because it requires to work very hard. The global warming propaganda is, I agree, similar to the Avian flu propaganda, the Y2K propaganda, the end of resources propaganda, the overpopulation propaganda, etc. Their proposals will not increase the globalisation of human activities, they are in favour of global governance only. This is something very different. I am in favour of the first globalisation, not of the second one.

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President Klaus, I agree with you but how can we stop the argument being seen as one of the “Right” versus the “Left”? It seems to me that this one issue brings more confusion to the debate.
Anon, London


I am not afraid of right-left argument, even if I know that some people innocently hope that the right-left dilemma is over. It is not. Without going into nuances, we can say that the “right” people are in favour of individual freedom, whereas the “left” people believe in collectivist wisdom. Environmentalism, not preservation of nature (and of environment), is a leftist ideology. Some people, who pretend to be on the right, bought into it as well – to my great regret.

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What is the financial and/or economic incentive for those governments and organisations who go along with, and even support environmentalism?
Justin Kelly


There are huge material (very pecuniary) and even bigger psychological incentives for politicians and their bureaucratic fellow-travellers to support environmentalism. It gives them power. This is exactly what they are searching for. It gives them power to organise, regulate, manipulate the rest of us. There is nothing altruistic in their environmentalist stances.

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While I applaud your commitment to freedom, I ask you this: Will we live in freedom if the decisions of a portion of the globe’s population (the government and corporate leaders who refuse to halt the increase of greenhouse gas emissions) condemn the rest of us to face whatever consequences global climate change eventually wreaks?
Respectfully, Arielle K. Botter


I don’t believe that there is a world-wide conspiracy of government and corporate leaders to halt the increase of greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, I am not convinced about the strong connection between greenhouse gas emissions and the global climate. This connection can’t be taken for granted.

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President Klaus, I agree, so how do rational libertarians prevent the destruction of our culture by environmentalists? What’s the answer?
Nicholas Horvath


The “rational libertarians” (I don’t mind being called classical liberal) should stop being just a silent majority. They should speak out, as well as speak up. They should reveal the real dangers connected with environmentalism. As the subtitle of my recent book “What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?” suggests, I believe that it is freedom which is endangered. And freedom is more than eventual, relatively mild climate changes.

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Why are so many people willing to embrace junk science and its dire predictions? What can each of us do to inspire people to think critically, and rationally? Is there a way to assemble multitudes of clear-thinkers, to push back against irrational, over-wrought fear-mongering?
Larry Jordan, US


Some people believe in irrational things and events – some of them in UFOs, some in witches, some in fairy-tales, some in omnipotent governments, some in global warming.

Some people believe in themselves, not in others. They suppose they know better than the rest of us what is good for us.

Some people are sufficiently motivated to spread the global warming hysteria. It gives them funding (especially for science connected with this issue), it gives them jobs in well-paid government positions, it gives them government subsidies for producing products which are – supposedly – in favour of global cooling, etc.

What to do? I take my positions on global warming as normal. It surprises me how many people tell me how courageous I am for taking them. Let’s all of us speak out.

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Why view conservation of energy as an attack on freedom? Do you believe wasting energy strengthens freedom? The US, with only 6 per cent of world population, produces 25 per cent of world CO2 emissions because of government programs encouraging high energy use. Excessive tax subsidies for road building and oil production push energy waste, not the free market. The US political process is dominated by road building and oil interests. I pray that doesn’t happen to the Czech Republic.
John Norquist, Chicago, US


Let’s be fair. Attacking environmentalism and its mythology is not attacking nature, the environment we live in, the conservation of energy. It’s a classical spin to do it.

To save energy (as anything else) is the only rational behaviour. The more we save, the better. The economy of energy consumption is a must, not to save energy is irrational. The problem is who should make the decision about energy saving or conservation? Free individuals or omnipotent governments? That is the only problem. Free individuals in a free market climate (and only this “climate” is crucial) behave much more rationally than their governments.

To say that government programs encourage high energy use in the US is ridiculous. To say that “the US political process is dominated by road building and oil interests” is ridiculous as well. High energy use in the US is caused not by the US government but by the enormous wealth of US citizens (together with specific US natural endowments). The other, abundance-approaching countries will do the same. Wealth is – at the beginning – a problem but when it grows, it is a solution. The so-called Environmental Kuznets Curves demonstrate that quite clearly and convincingly.

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The relatively small changes in global temperature in the last forty years have set in motion some deeply worrying trends, such rapid growth in deserts, falls in agricultural productivity in some parts of the world and increased flow rates of Greenland glaciers. Would the president please tell us just how much of a rise in sea level, a fall in agricultural production and a displacement of migrants he thinks we should accept before taking action to reduce GHG emissions? It would be good to see some numbers.
Chris Goodall, Oxford


I can’t go into details, I suggest that you read the book by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery with the title Unstoppable Global Warming, every 1,500 years and the book by J. P. Michaels called Meltdown: the Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians and the Media. Or many others.

To give one example: the very debatable 2007 IPCC report suggests a rise in sea level between 14–43 centimetres for the whole 21st century. Is it a scary size? Not to me.

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It strikes me as puzzling that you place your weight behind the projection of a long-term positive impact of the economy, compared to your rejection of Stern’s projection of long-term negative impact on the economy. Favouring one truth above another is, as you might say, a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem. Your bet that positive economic impact will renounce us of any possible climatic change is as singularly unconvincing as the stock-broker who is whistling on his way to Wall Street on the morning of October 29, 1929.
B. Dankert, Johannesburg


My criticism of Stern Report’s conclusions – and I am not alone in it – is based on serious economic arguments, not on aprioristic statements. I will give just one example. When you mention Wall Street in your question, you probably understand the concept of the discount rate. It is one of the crucial variables of any economy and its importance grows the more we go into inter-temporal analysis. Analysing the whole 21st century, as Mr Stern does, suggests that the significance of the proper level of chosen discount rate is fatal. Many economists strongly oppose the very low level of discount rate Mr Stern uses for his modelling simulations.

The low level of discount rate means that the future is as big as the present or that anything existing now will be as big in the year 2100 as now. This is ridiculous. Will the banknote of 1000 nomination (in your South African rands or in US dollars) be as big, as relevant, as important in the year 2100 as it is now? I am sorry to say that Mr Stern assumes exactly that.
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There is no doubt that modern human society can adversely impact our living environment. This manifests itself from city air quality and industrial spills to deforestation and overfishing. Overwhelming evidence points to that when human beings find the condition too unpleasant to tolerate, the opportunity to stop or reverse the trend requires extreme action. How much evidence for environmental damage do you need to see before you are willing to advocate collective action in order to prevent the need for later extreme action?
Oddi Aasheim, London


You ask how much environmental damage I need to see before I am willing to do anything? My problem is that I do not “see” sufficient and persuasive evidence for environmental damage you have – probably – in mind, and I wonder whether you see it yourself, or whether you just read about it.

Do you really “see” any damage caused by current warming? I do not. I would prefer more snow for skiing during this winter but we are – in Central Europe – enjoying warm evenings this May and June, which is very pleasant. Do you see meltdown of glaciers and icebergs? You may see some retreating of continental glaciers, but they represent only 0.6 per cent of the planet’s ice. There is no meltdown either in Greenland or the Antarctic just now.

When I study and analyse environmental indicators concerning my own country and when I compare them with the situation in the communist era, there is an incredible improvement. The improvement is not because of “collective action” you advocate (it existed in the communist era), but because of freedom and of free markets. That’s my main message.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007
14.6.2007 - ENGLISH PAGES
Freedom, not climate, is at risk

We are living in strange times. One exceptionally warm winter is enough – irrespective of the fact that in the course of the 20th century the global temperature increased only by 0.6 per cent – for the environmentalists and their followers to suggest radical measures to do something about the weather, and to do it right now.

In the past year, Al Gore’s so-called “documentary” film was shown in cinemas worldwide, Britain’s – more or less Tony Blair’s – Stern report was published, the fourth report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was put together and the Group of Eight summit announced ambitions to do something about the weather. Rational and freedom-loving people have to respond.

The dictates of political correctness are strict and only one permitted truth, not for the first time in human history, is imposed on us. Everything else is denounced. The author Michael Crichton stated it clearly: “the greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda”. I feel the same way, because global warming hysteria has become a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem. It requires courage to oppose the “established” truth, although a lot of people – including top-class scientists – see the issue of climate change entirely differently. They protest against the arrogance of those who advocate the global warming hypothesis and relate it to human activities.

As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning. The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment. They are Malthusian pessimists.

The scientists should help us and take into consideration the political effects of their scientific opinions. They have an obligation to declare their political and value assumptions and how much they have affected their selection and interpretation of scientific evidence.

Does it make any sense to speak about warming of the Earth when we see it in the context of the evolution of our planet over hundreds of millions of years? Every child is taught at school about temperature variations, about the ice ages, about the much warmer climate in the Middle Ages. All of us have noticed that even during our life-time temperature changes occur (in both directions).

Due to advances in technology, increases in disposable wealth, the rationality of institutions and the ability of countries to organise themselves, the adaptability of human society has been radically increased. It will continue to increase and will solve any potential consequences of mild climate changes.

I agree with Professor Richard Lindzen from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who said: “future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age”.

The issue of global warming is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature.

As a witness to today’s worldwide debate on climate change, I suggest the following:

- Small climate changes do not demand far-reaching restrictive measures

- Any suppression of freedom and democracy should be avoided

- Instead of organising people from above, let us allow everyone to live as he wants

- Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term “scientific consensus”, which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority

- Instead of speaking about “the environment”, let us be attentive to it in our personal behaviour

- Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust its rationality and not try to slow it down or divert it in any direction

- Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.

Václav Klaus, Financial Times, 14 June 2007

21.3.2007 - ENGLISH PAGES
Answers to questions from the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress, Committee on Energy and Commerce, on the issue of mankind’s contribution to global warming and climate change

Concerning mankind’s contribution to climate change and in keeping with obligations towards the welfare of our citizens: what, in your view, should policymakers consider when addressing climate change?

The – so called – climate change and especially man-made climate change has become one of the most dangerous arguments aimed at distorting human efforts and public policies in the whole world.

My ambition is not to bring additional arguments to the scientific climatological debate about this phenomenon. I am convinced, however, that up to now this scientific debate has not been deep and serious enough and has not provided sufficient basis for the policymakers’ reaction. What I am really concerned about is the way the environmental topics have been misused by certain political pressure groups to attack fundamental principles underlying free society. It becomes evident that while discussing climate we are not witnessing a clash of views about the environment but a clash of views about human freedom.

As someone who lived under communism for most of my life I feel obliged to say that the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity at the beginning of the 21st century is not communism or its various softer variants. Communism was replaced by the threat of ambitious environmentalism. This ideology preaches earth and nature and under the slogans of their protection – similarly to the old Marxists – wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning of the whole world.

The environmentalists consider their ideas and arguments to be an undisputable truth and use sophisticated methods of media manipulation and PR campaigns to exert pressure on policymakers to achieve their goals. Their argumentation is based on the spreading of fear and panic by declaring the future of the world to be under serious threat. In such an atmosphere they continue pushing policymakers to adopt illiberal measures, impose arbitrary limits, regulations, prohibitions, and restrictions on everyday human activities and make people subject to omnipotent bureaucratic decision-making. To use the words of Friedrich Hayek, they try to stop free, spontaneous human action and replace it by their own, very doubtful human design.

The environmentalist paradigm of thinking is absolutely static. They neglect the fact that both nature and human society are in a process of permanent change, that there is and has been no ideal state of the world as regards natural conditions, climate, distribution of species on earth, etc. They neglect the fact that the climate has been changing fundamentally throughout the existence of our planet and that there are proofs of substantial climate fluctuations even in known and documented history. Their reasoning is based on historically short and incomplete observations and data series which cannot justify the catastrophic conclusions they draw. They neglect the complexity of factors that determine the evolution of the climate and blame contemporary mankind and the whole industrial civilization for being the decisive factors responsible for climate change and other environmental risks.

By concentrating on the human contribution to the climate change the environmentalists ask for immediate political action based on limiting economic growth, consumption, or human behavior they consider hazardous. They do not believe in the future economic expansion of the society, they ignore the technological progress the future generations will enjoy, and they ignore the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society is, the higher is the quality of the environment.

The policymakers are pushed to follow this media-driven hysteria based on speculative and hard evidence lacking theories, and to adopt enormously costly programs which would waste scarce resources in order to stop the probably unstoppable climate changes, caused not by human behavior but by various exogenous and endogenous natural processes (such as fluctuating solar activity).

My answer to your first question, i.e. what should policymakers consider when addressing climate change, is that policymakers should under all circumstances stick to the principles free society is based on, that they should not transfer the right to choose and decide from the people to any advocacy group claiming that it knows better than the rest of the people what is good for them. Policymakers should protect taxpayers’ money and avoid wasting it on doubtful projects which cannot bring positive results.

How should policies address the rate and consequences of climate change and to what extent should regulation of emissions of greenhouse gases be a focus of any such policies?

Policies should realistically evaluate the potential our civilization has, as compared with the power of natural forces influencing climate. It is an evident waste of society’s resources to try to combat an increase of solar activity or the movement of ocean currents. No government action can stop the world and nature from changing. Therefore, I disagree with plans such as the Kyoto Protocol or similar initiatives, which set arbitrary targets requiring enormous costs without realistic prospects for the success of these measures.

If we accept global warming as a real phenomenon, I believe we should address it in an absolutely different way. Instead of hopeless attempts to fight it, we should prepare ourselves for its consequences. If the atmosphere warms up, the effects do not have to be predominantly negative. While some deserts may get larger and some ocean shores flooded, enormous parts of the earth – up until now empty because of their severe, cold climate – may become fertile areas able to accommodate millions of people. It is also important to realize that no planetary change comes overnight.

Therefore, I warn against adopting regulations based on the so- called precautionary principle which the environmentalists use to justify their recommendations, the clear benefit of which they are not able to prove. Responsible politics should take into account the opportunity costs of such proposals and be aware of the fact that the wasteful environmentalist policies are adopted to the detriment of other policies, thus neglecting many other important needs of millions of people all over the world. Each policy measure must be based on a cost- benefit analysis.

Mankind has already accumulated tragic experience with one very proud intellectual stream that claimed that it knew how to manage society better that spontaneous market forces. It was communism and it failed, leaving behind millions of victims. Now, a new -ism has emerged that claims to be able to manage even nature and, through it, people. This excessive human pride – just as the previous attempts – cannot but fail. The world is a complex and complicated system that cannot be organized according to an environmentalist human design, without repeating the tragic experience of wasting resources, suppressing people’s freedom, and destroying the prosperity of the whole human society.

My recommendation, therefore, is to pay attention to the thousands of small things that negatively influence the quality of the environment. And to protect and foster fundamental systemic factors without which the economy and society cannot operate efficiently – i.e. to guarantee human freedom and basic economic principles such as the free market, a functioning price system and clearly defined ownership rights. They motivate economic agents to behave rationally. Without them, no policies can protect either the citizens or the environment.

Policymakers should resist environmentalist calls for new policies because there are too many uncertainties in scientific debates on climate change. It is impossible to control natural factors causing climate change. The negative impact of the proposed regulation on economic growth is to the detriment of all other possible risks, including the environmental ones.

What will be the effect on national economies, consumer well-being, job creation, and future innovation under various climate change policy scenarios that have come to your attention?

If the policymakers accept the maximalistic environmental demands, the effects on national economies will be devastating. It would stimulate some, very small parts of the economy while leaving a bigger part of it choked by artificial limits, regulations, and restrictions. The rate of growth would decline and the competitiveness of the firms on international markets would be seriously affected. It would have a negative impact on employment and job creation. Only rational policies, making spontaneous adjustments possible, can justify government intervention.

What impact and effectiveness will so-called cap-and-trade policies have upon the reduction of climate change threats and our ability to address these threats in the future?

Cap-and-trade policies are a technical tool to achieve pollution reduction goals by more market compatible means. They can help if the general idea behind the scheme is rational. I do not believe the whole idea to combat climate change by emission limits is rational and I, therefore, consider the technicalities of its eventual implementation to be of secondary importance.

What is the moral obligation of developed countries to the developing countries of the world? Should developed countries embark on large emissions reduction schemes while developing countries are allowed to continue to increase emissions unabated?

The moral obligation of developed countries to the developing countries is to create such an environment which guarantees free exchange of goods, services, and capital flows, enables utilization of comparative advantages of individual countries and thus stimulates economic development of the less developed countries. Artificial administrative barriers, limits and regulations imposed by developed countries discriminate the developing world, affect its economic growth, and prolong poverty and underdevelopment. The environmentalist proposals are an exact example of such illiberal policies that are so harmful for the developing countries. They will not be able to cope with the limits and standards imposed on the world by irrational environmental policies, they will not be able to absorb new technological standards required by the anti-greenhouse religion, their products will have difficult access to the developed markets, and as a result the gap between them and the developed world will widen.

It is an illusion to believe that severe anti-climate change policies could be limited to developed countries only. If the policies of the environmentalists are adopted by developed countries, sooner or later their ambitions to control and manage the whole planet will spread the emissions reduction requirements worldwide. The developing countries will be forced to accept irrational targets and limitations because “earth is first” and their needs are secondary. The environmentalist argumentation gives ammunition to protectionists of all colors who try to eliminate competition coming from newly industrialized countries. Therefore, the moral obligation of the developed countries is not to introduce large emissions reduction schemes.

Václav Klaus, March 19th, 2007


9.3.2007 - ENGLISH PAGES

Challenges of the Current Era

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to visit again your world-famous institute and to see many friends here. Thank you for the invitation. I met your President Edward Crane 5 weeks ago in Chicago at the Milton Friedman Memorial Service and he said: “the invitation is permanently open”. So I am here.

I came here today as a president of the free and democratic Czech Republic, of a country which – now already more than 17 years ago – succeeded in getting rid of Communism, of a country which quite rapidly, smoothly and without unnecessary additional costs overcame its heritage and transformed itself into a normally functioning European-style parliamentary democracy and market economy, of a country which is an integral part of the free world now, member of NATO and of the European Union, a good friend of the United States of America.

I came here – together with an important delegation - to demonstrate our friendship with your great country and I am concluding my week long visit here in Washington D. C., after having met vice-president Cheney, Secretary of defense and other leading U. S. politicians.

This is not my first speech in CATO. My today’s presentation here cannot be totally different, I am stubborn and conservative. Everyone has a list – mostly an implicit one – of issues, problems, challenges which he feels and considers – with his experiences, prejudices, sensitivities, preferences and priorities – to be crucial, topical, menacing, relevant. I will try to reveal at least some of the topics from my own list. All are – inevitably – related to something that was absent during most of my life in the communist era.

What I have in mind is, of course, freedom, something the Americans value very highly, in spite of the fact that they did not experience its nonexistence or absence personally. This experience of ours provides us with a special sensitivity, if not an oversensitivity in this respect.

Where do I see now, at the beginning of the 21st century the main dangers (or threats) to freedom? I will not speak about some – looking at the headlines - currently very fashionable topics. Especially I do not intend to speak about our external enemies, about Taliban, Al Qaeda or Islamic fundamentalism, because I have nothing special to say or add to this issue and don’t want just to repeat the well-known arguments and facts. This issue is also heavily “burdened” by the weight of political correctness, which bothers me. I consider it more important to speak about our internal challenges. Our ability to go ahead and eventually face external dangers depends to a large extent on our beliefs, visions, convictions, internal strength, coherence, ability to function, etc.

I will, therefore, concentrate on three main challenges of the current era.

1) My first topic is connected with Communism. We – together with all the other former Communist countries – had to undergo a difficult transition. We got to understand very early that it had to be done at home as it was impossible to import a system devised abroad. It can’t be done. We also got to understand that such a fundamental change was not an exercise in applied economics, but a man-made evolutionary process, and that we had to find our own path, our “Czech way”, towards an efficiently functioning society and economy.

Ten-fifteen years ago I spoke many times in this country about this process of transition, about its non-zero costs, about its benefits, tenets and pitfalls. Now, when it’s over, we face a different problem.

As I said, we already succeeded in getting rid of communism. But – along with the predominant view at home and elsewhere – we erroneously hoped that the attempts to suppress freedom and to centrally organize, mastermind, regulate, control the whole society (and economy) were already matters of the past, an almost forgotten historic relic. They are, to our great disappointment, still there. I see more examples of them in Europe and in most of international organizations than in America itself, but they can be found here as well.

The reason is that there are new, very popular and fashionable “isms” which again put various issues, visions, plans and projects ahead of individual freedom and liberty. It is social-democratism (which is nothing else than a milder and softer version of communism), it is human-rightism (based on the idea of mostly positive rights applicable all over the world), it is internationalism, multiculturalism, europeism, feminism, environmentalism and other similar ideologies.

Communism is over, but attempts to rule from above, are still, or perhaps again, here.

2)The second main challenge I see is connected with our experience with the EU, but goes beyond it because it is part of a broader tendency towards denationalization of countries and towards world-wide supranationalism and global governance.

The special sensitivity, that I (and many of my countrymen) have, makes me view many current trends in Europe rather critically. My opponents do not seem to hear my arguments and a priori keep rejecting the views they don’t like. To understand my criticism requires familiar knowledge of the developments in the EU, its gradual metamorphosis from a community of cooperating nations to the union of non-sovereign nations and prevailing supranationalistic tendencies. This is not the standard knowledge in America.

I have always been in favor of friendly, peaceful, and for all of us enriching cooperation and collaboration of European countries. However, I have many times pointed out that the move towards an ever-closer Europe, the so-called deepening of EU, the rapid political integration, and the supranational tendencies without an authentic European identity and an European demos are not only necessary for the freedom and democracy in Europe, but damaging.

Freedom and democracy, these two, for us so precious values, cannot be secured without the parliamentary democracy within a clearly defined state territory. This is exactly what the current European political elites and their fellow-travelers are attempting to eliminate. And it bothers me.

3) The third main threat to individual freedom and liberty I see in environmentalism. To be specific, I do understand the concerns about eventual environmental degradation but I do see a problem in environmentalism as an ideology.

Environmentalism only pretends to deal with environmental protection. Behind their people- and nature-friendly terminology, the adherents to this ideology make ambitious attempts to radically reorganize and change the world, human society, all of us and our behavior, as well as our values.

There is no doubt that it is our duty to protect rationally the nature for the future generations. The followers of the environmentalist ideology, however, keep presenting to us various catastrophic scenarios with the intention to persuade us to implement their ideas about us and about the whole human society. This is not only unfair but extremely dangerous. What is, in my view, even more dangerous, is the quasi-scientific form that their many times refuted forecasts have taken upon themselves.

What belongs to this ideology?

- disbelief in the power of the invisible hands of free market and belief in the omnipotence state dirigism;

- disregard for the role of important and powerful economic mechanisms and institutions – primarily that of property rights and prices – for an effective protection of nature;

- misunderstanding of the meaning of resources, of the difference between the potential natural resource and the real one, that may be used in the economy;

- Malthusian pessimism over the technical progress;

- belief in the dominance of externalities in human activities;

- promotion of the so-called “precautionary principle“, which maximizes the risk aversion without paying attention to the costs;

- underestimation of the long-term income and welfare growth, which results in a fundamental shift of demand towards environmental protection (this is demonstrated by the so-called Environmental Kuznets Curve);

- erroneous discounting of the future, demonstrated so clearly by the highly publicized Stern-Report a few months ago.

All of these views are associated with social sciences, not with natural sciences. This is why environmentalism – unlike scientific ecology – does not belong to the natural sciences but is to be classified as an ideology. This fact is, however, not understood by the common people and by numerous politicians.

The hypothesis of global warming and the role of man in this process is the last and till this day the most powerful embodiment of the environmental ideology. It has brought along many important “advantages” for the environmentalists:

- an empirical analyses of this phenomenon is very complicated due to the complexity of global climate and the mix of various long-, medium-, and short-term trends (and causes);

- their argumentation is not based on simple empirical measurements or laboratory experiments, but on sophisticated model experiments working with a range of ill-founded assumptions that are usually hidden and not sufficiently understood;

- the opponents of this hypothesis have to accept the fact that in this case we are in the world of non-internalized externalities;

- people tend to notice and remember only extraordinary climate phenomena but not normal developments and slow long-term trends and processes.

It is not my intention, here and now, to present arguments for the refutation of this hypothesis. What I find much more important is to protest against the efforts of the environmentalists to manipulate people. Their recommendations would take us back into the era of statism and restricted freedom. It is therefore our task to draw a clear line and differentiate between the ideological environmentalism and the scientific ecology.

I started my speech saying I wanted to use this opportunity to present my concerns about some non-negligible tendencies of the current era. I hope you see and feel them as well.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Václav Klaus, CATO Institute, Washington D.C., March 9, 2007

Czech president voices support for nuclear energy

Friday, April 4, 2008

PRAGUE (Thomson Financial) - Czech President Vaclav Klaus reiterated support for the further use of nuclear energy in the Czech Republic after a meeting with the industry minister Wednesday, news agency CTK reported.

'If we want to have electric energy, we cannot get along without nuclear energy,' Klaus was quoted as saying.

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Vaclav Klaus on Climate change - a collection

Monday, December 31, 2007
  • Q: On Wednesday, the European Commission (EC) has approved limits on carbon dioxide emissions for new cars. One week ago, the U.N. climate panel (IPCC AR4) released a report that has described, much like previous reports, the global warming as one of the major threats for the whole civilization. The Stern review about similar threats was published before that. At the same time, you decide to declare that the global warming is a myth. Try to explain, how did you get your idea?
  • A: The idea is not mine. Global warming is a myth and I think that every serious person and scientist says so. It is unfair to refer to the United Nations panel. IPCC is not a scientific body: it's a political institution, a kind of non-government organization with green flavor. It's not a forum of neutral scientists or a balanced group of scientists. Its members are politicized scientists who arrive there with one-sided sentiments and one-sided tasks. Also, it's an undignified practical joke that people don't wait for the complete report that will appear in May 2007 but instead react, in such a serious manner, to the summary for policy makers where all the "ifs" and "whens" and "buts" are scratched, erased, and replaced by oversimplified theses.
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Czech President Klaus pleading for nuclear energy

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Prague, ČTK 19:22 - 03.12.2007 - The dream of endless lowering of energy consumption is nonsense and this should be said aloud, Czech President Vaclav Klaus said at the reopening of the VR-1 training reactor at Czech Technical University (CVUT) today.

"I cannot imagine the development of this country without nuclear energy," Klaus said.

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Klaus criticises Gore, environmentalists

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Prague, Nov 9 (CTK) - Czech President Vaclav Klaus again sharply criticised former U.S. vice-president Al Gore and other "environmental dictators" in an interview for the dpa German news agency Friday, on the occasion of the upcoming edition of his book "Blue, Not Green Planet" in German.

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Klaus: Country needs nuclear power

Monday, October 29, 2007

By ČTK / Published 29 October 2007
Klaus's holiday speech touched on relations with the US and Russia.

Prague, Oct 28 (CTK) - Czech politicians should be friendly to Austria but resolutely explain that the Czech Republic needs nuclear energy, President Vaclav Klaus said today in his speech on the October 28 national holiday that marks the anniversary of Czechoslovakia's birth 89 years ago.

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