Climate Politics

Klaus: Global Warming is not about the environment, it’s about our freedom

by Vaclav Klaus

Hilton Hotel, Portland, Oregon, September 30, 2008:

During my visits in the US in the last 19 years, I made speeches on a wide range of topics. There was, however, always a connection between them.

They were all about freedom and about threats endangering it.

Global warming is about freedom. It’s not about temperature or CO2. Therefore, it is not necessary to discuss climatology or other related natural science. We must discuss the implications of the global warming panic upon us, upon our freedom, our prosperity, our institutions and our legislation.

The recent developments in the EU are very problematic: we see and feel less freedom, less democracy, less sovereignty, more regulation, and more extensive government intervention than we had expected when communism collapsed.

And in recent years we witnessed yet another major attack on freedom and free markets, an attack based on environmentalism and – in particular – its global warming variant.

The explicitly stated intentions of global warming activists are frightening. They want to change us, the whole mankind, human behavior, the structure and functioning of society, the whole system of values which has been gradually established during centuries. These intentions are dangerous and their consequences far-reaching.

These people want to restrict our freedom. It is our duty to say NO.

I know its propagandists have been using all possible obstructions to avoid exposure to rational arguments and I know that the substance of their arguments is not science.

It represents, on the contrary, an abuse of science by a non-liberal, extremely authoritarian, freedom and prosperity endangering ideology of environmentalism.

Global warming is not an issue of natural sciences, even though Al Gore and his fellow-travelers pretend it is so. It is, as always in the past, the old, for many of us well-known debate: freedom and free markets versus political control and expansive, unstoppable government regulation of human behavior.

Now, the attack is led under the slogan: stop the destruction of the Planet.

This shift is dangerous. The new ambitions look noble, attractive and appealing. They are also very shrewdly shifted towards the future and thus practically “immunized” from reality, from existing evidence, from available observations, and from standard testing of scientific hypotheses.

That is the reason they are loved by politicians, the media and all their friends among public intellectuals. For the same reason I consider environmentalism to be the most effective and, therefore, the most dangerous vehicle for advocating large scale government intervention and unprecedented suppression of human freedom.

The global warming alarmists created incentives which led to the rise of a very powerful rent-seeking group. These rent-seekers profit from:

  • trading the licenses to emit carbon dioxide;
  • constructing unproductive wind, sun and other equipments able to produce only highly subsidized electric energy;
  • growing non-food crops which produce non-carbon fuels at the expense of producing food (with well-known side effects);
  • doing research, writing and speaking about global warming.

These rent-seekers are a strong voice in the global warming debate. They are not interested in CO2, freedom or markets, they are interested in their businesses and their profits – “produced” with the help of politicians.

The current world-wide dispute is not about environment, it is about freedom.

And I would add “about prosperity and living conditions for billions of people.” To avoid a disaster, “we should trust in the rationality of man and in the outcome of spontaneous evolution of human society, not in the virtues of political activism.”


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.

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