by Vaclav Klaus
Climate Forum, Kongresshotel Seepark, Thun, Switzerland, October 9, 2008:
Current priorities do not fall from the sky. They reflect our way of looking at things, “die Weltanschauung”, which characterizes our era. Its formation started decades ago.
I see it in the culture, philosophy and ideology of the 1960s and 1970s which in many respects opposed the traditional way of looking around and which brought to the fore – among many other things – the idea that the world is a single entity, one gigantic global system which deserves to be globally governed.
This “system-engineering” viewpoint was generally accepted. Everyone discovered inter-dependencies, inter-connections, externalities, inter-disciplines, general systems theory, meta-sciences, etc. It became politically correct and progressive, to think in terms of global issues, global governance, and global solutions.
It was the birth of environmentalism. The man as a free and dominant individual entity disappeared. The world, the earth, and the planet replaced him as the relevant frame of reference. That led to a radical switch of priorities.
It became the excellent starting point for those who wanted to mastermind the whole world and all of us.
Their approaches – based on the one hand on the misunderstanding (and misinterpretation) of interdependence and globalization and on the other on the outdated belief in government’s omnipotence – are conceptually wrong, unavoidably undemocratic and discriminatory, and – above all – condemned to fail.
An example is the ambition to combat so-called global warming. This ambition is based on the pretence of understanding global issues and on the belief in the ability to control them centrally. It is not necessary to repeat the already well-known more or less technical and scientific counter-arguments here this morning. They are available to anyone who wants to listen to them.
The problem is that the propagandists of the global warming alarmism do not listen and that the majority of rational people do not pay attention.
The current global warming debate is not a scientific dispute in climatology. As the famous British historian Paul Johnson put it recently, “global warming, as Marxism, is a political theory of actions demanding compliance with its rules.”
We should not mix it with science. Science is OK. We have sufficient evidence that a normal, serious, healthy and productive discourse among scientists, believers in the greenhouse hypothesis and those who disagree with it goes on and will be going on.
The global warming debate is about something else. It is not about temperature or CO2 levels. It is about the people, their behavior, their values, their habits, their life.
It is a clash between environmentalists, non-liberal politicians, international bureaucrats, irresponsible journalists, some economists and other scientists who attempt to change us (not climate) and those who believe in freedom, markets, human ingenuity and technical progress.
Václav Klaus is president and former prime minister of the Czech Republic. Born in 1941, he grew up under communist totalitarianism. He knows well the methods used to curtail liberty and freedom of speech. He has written over 20 books, including one on the dangers of ‘environmentalism’, Blue Planet in Green Shackles.