Vaclav Klaus on climate change

December 20, 2008

in Economics, Politics, The environment

Cars parked in Gatineau

Recently, Czech President Vaclav Klaus demonstrated the degree to which he deeply misunderstands the issue of climate change:

“Environmental issues are a luxury good,” Klaus added. “Now we have to tighten our belt and to cut the luxury.”

Global climate issues “are a silly luxury good,” he repeated.

Not only is maintaining a stable climate a fundamental requirement for human life and civilization, but it will be future generations who bear the majority of the pain if we fail to reduce emissions quickly. Far from being some unnecessary luxury, cutting greenhouse gas emissions is a vital moral requirement.

In Poznan, Al Gore did a much better job of explaining the ethical situation appropriately:

Very simply put, it is wrong for this generation to destroy the habitability of our planet and ruin the prospects of every future generation. That realization — that realization must carry us forward. Our children have a right to hold us to a higher standard when the future of all human civilization is hanging in the balance. They deserve better, and politicians who sit on their hands and do nothing to confront the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced.

Hopefully, that is a position that will rapidly becomore more widely held among politicians and the population at large.

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan December 21, 2008 at 11:47 am

This comment was intended for this thread.

It just is wrong? From which ideological position? Anyway, if you really think this is wrong, then do the political structures we have encourage the recognition of this “as wrong”, as a priority? It seems they do not – Dion’s Carbon tax platform was laughed off. If the democratic discourse is not sufficient to make this a priority, at what point do we abandon liberty for the sake of good consequences?

Milan December 21, 2008 at 11:51 am

Tristan,

It is easy to see why it is wrong from any consequentialist viewpoint. It is patently inefficient to allow one selfish generation to harm thousands of subsequent ones, when there is any alternative available.

I think Dion’s policy failed because it was overly complex and he failed to explain it well. We have to hope that the political discourse will shift to one where all serious politicians accept the need to take action. Until that happens, it will be very hard for any government to do so in an effective and durable way.

As an aside, Dion’s policy failed only rather indirectly. Given the indirect nature of Canadian democracy, I always think it is a bit overdone when people say that Canadians have spoken clearly on any particular issue by how they voted. They only get one bit of information (a vote for a local candidate) to try to express preferences on many issues.

Tristan December 21, 2008 at 3:08 pm

It’s not wrong from any consequentialist viewpoint. By definition, the notion of “consequentialism” on its own doesn’t specify what the good is. So versions of consequentialism where the good is style, or the pleasure of white people, would not give the same results as those where the good is pleasure for everyone, or higher pleasure for everyone. Furthermore, even if the good is pleasure for everyone, consequentialism might dictate that the best way to maximize pleasure is to ignore the losers of global warming because the winners would have to sacrifice too much in order to save them.

But this is really beside the point. I would disagree that Dion failed to explain it well – it’s difficult not to explain well. A carbon tax “taxes what we don’t want and doesn’t tax what we want”, where “what we want” is low carbon energy and “what we don’t want” is CO2. The only reason it failed politically is people don’t not want C02, or at least they don’t not want it nearly enough to base the entire tax code on it. It is certainly not because of a disagreement about the principles of economics that Harper opposes the Carbon tax – I think it is by far the most straightforward market solution to Global Warming (simply including an externality – right?). If we rejected it, it’s because the people, and by the people I mean the people as manufactured by the media and the coorperate elite, didn’t want to make Climate Change a central feature of the Canadian State if that meant limiting our ability to manover out of an economic crisis.

Milan December 22, 2008 at 3:43 pm

So versions of consequentialism where the good is style, or the pleasure of white people, would not give the same results as those where the good is pleasure for everyone, or higher pleasure for everyone.

Excluding blatantly discriminatory forms of consequentialism seems sensible. If we accept that people all have similar moral standing, the argument for action on climate change becomes very strong.

the best way to maximize pleasure is to ignore the losers of global warming because the winners would have to sacrifice too much in order to save them.

This strikes me as very unlikely, given the relative timeframes under consideration. Dealing with climate change requires a one-off transition to a low-carbon economy and sustainable energy sources. The sooner that is achieved, the more generations benefit from it. The more it is delayed, the deeper the harm to future generations will be.

Given that the only real issue is the timing of the transition, the case for early action seems clear.

The only reason it failed politically is people don’t not want C02, or at least they don’t not want it nearly enough to base the entire tax code on it.

I think one mistake is to try to build non-carbon issues into the carbon tax. It’s not an appropriate tool for general social policy, and mixing it arbitrarily with the aims of progressive taxation both weakens it as a climate change mitigation strategy and muddles the moral and political debates surrounding it.

If we rejected it, it’s because the people, and by the people I mean the people as manufactured by the media and the coorperate elite, didn’t want to make Climate Change a central feature of the Canadian State if that meant limiting our ability to manover out of an economic crisis.

I think most people fail to understand the true choice that exists for human societies right now. Too many have the mindset expressed by Klaus, above, and see climate change mitigation as optional and sensible to delay during times of economic difficulty.

Convincing the general public that this argument is invalid – and the position it advances is immoral – is one of the central political tasks of the present day.

Magictofu December 22, 2008 at 6:17 pm

Tristan: “It just is wrong? From which ideological position?”

Magictofu: “Do you disagree or are playing a game?”

Tristan: “Do you mean, do I actually believe “its just wrong”? You mean, do I think rightness or wrongness is a primitive, which we can “just know” even if we don’t know why it’s just right or wrong? Well, if I did believe that, I’d probably be too embarrassed to say it, because its a tautological, and indefensible (because it’s non-falsifiable) position. In other words, once you assert this, you can’t talk to anyone that disagrees with you any longer.”

As for one I think it is wrong but I would be very curious to hear the reasoning of people who disagree. You can have very strong belief and still understand that these are beliefs and not absolute truth. If people could only accept absolute truth as the base of discussion, there would be no discussion worth having whatsoever.

Milan December 22, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Actually, climate change might be a decent test-case for ethical philosophies. If your philosophy doesn’t equate harming a large but unknown number of future generations (for no cause greater than selfishness or refusal to change) with a moral wrong, it probably isn’t a very sound philosophy.

Tristan December 24, 2008 at 11:40 pm

look,

Of course I think climate change is morally reprehensible. The problem is, if you just assert that, and don’t give any reason for it, i.e. consider it a “test” for any ethical system, you aren’t being any more morally or intellectually rigorous than a fascist.

Does anyone here ever wonder why climate change is so “universally morally reprehensible” and yet most states fail to do anything about it? Is it because the moral demand does not appear universal to everyone? Or rather (more likely), it is not obvious that the universality of this moral demand doesn’t convince anyone, that it isn’t intuitively obvious to many in power that it “actually” applies to them.

Does no one here seriously think that asking the question about whether climate change is “actually” something we have to act on is not a question we have to ask? The fact that our state, and many others, are failing to act on it, seems to me like pima fascia evidence that this is exactly the kind of question we still need to interrogate. When we just “assume” that we are right and the others are wrong, and consider the primitiveness of the rightness of our cause as a “test” for ethical systems, we essentially abandon the cause of reason.

Milan December 25, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Tristan,

I think the disagreement is less about morals and more about facts.

If people fully appreciated how risky climate change was – as well as how possible it is to start the transition to a low-carbon economy – there would be a much stronger general moral consensus.

Tristan December 26, 2008 at 12:57 am

Milan,

I disagree. I don’t think anyone seriously doesn’t recognize the risks of climate change as it stands. I think people simply recognize the risks are not mostly to themselves and their immediate family. More precisely, they do not think that personal action to prevent climate change will have an effect on them and their immediate families.

It seems to me that moral demands towards those outside our immediate family and friends can little be expected to be obeyed until they become codified in customs and laws.

Milan December 26, 2008 at 10:58 am

I think a lot of people subscribe to one of the following beliefs (perhaps even the majority of people):

1) Climate change may be beneficial.

2) Climate change may be good for Canada.

3) Technology will let us undo climate change later.

4) Technology will automatically evolve so as to not cause climate change.

5) It doesn’t matter if we wait a few more decades before acting.

I have heard all of these from intelligent people, and they are all ‘fact based’ workarounds to the moral issue.

That being said, there may be some backwards reasoning going on: “If climate change is such a big problem, I will need to make unwanted changes in my life. I don’t want to make them, therefore it cannot be such a big problem.”

Tristan December 27, 2008 at 2:20 am

Maybe. I still think many people don’t believe any of those lies about climate change and still choose not to change their lives personally. This isn’t really a contradiction anyway, unless you think that climate change is actually more likely to be averted by personal rather than political action.

Milan December 27, 2008 at 4:54 pm

Those aren’t necessarily untrue, though they seem more unlikely than likely at this point.

Part of the problem is exactly this: to what extent should we take risks, based on hopes like those expressed above, and to what extent should we expend resources on being cautious?

On the personal/political matter, the issue is what sort of action people ought to take. For the sake of the argument above, it doesn’t matter too much whether that is (a) reducing your personal emissions or (b) demanding political action on climate change. Beliefs about the facts of climate change affect the popular willingness to do either.

Milan December 27, 2008 at 5:03 pm

To take an extreme example, there is no reason why it is impossible for a machine to be invented that turns atmospheric CO2 into graphite at a cost of ten cents per tonne, with a capacity of billions of tonnes per year.

To what extent should such possibilities affect our willingness to spend money mitigating using existing technologies? Particularly for those who don’t see an extremely urgent need to act (those who think stabilization well above 500ppm is acceptable, for instance), it isn’t necessarily clear that rapid action with current technologies makes sense.

Tristan December 28, 2008 at 3:04 am

My position in a nutshell: it is unrealistic to think that intelligent people still believe that climate change is not man made, will not cause horrible human costs, and is not probably mitigated by drastic reductions of emissions.

However, many intelligent people, who are in positions of authority, continue to fail to act. Here I think it is important to distinguish between positions of authority and merely civilian positions, or at least distinguish between political action (i.e. taxing carbon) and private action (buying carbon credits on ebay). We would probably want to locate eco-terrorism on the political side (i.e. demolishing hydro dams, probably not the best example but it will have to do).

I for one think it is uninteresting to talk about the civilian activities. You might think it is interesting, but I don’t really think we need to spell that argument out again.

So, holding the premises I laid out, what could be the reason for the failure to act in the manner which is on every account the “moral” way? The simple fact that moral laws do not bind. State laws bind, when states choose and how they choose to enforce them. The universal declaration of human rights is a joke (explicitly ridiculed by the U.S. in the 60s). The point is, morality as duty, or morality based in principles, is vapourware – unless it is codified into custom or law, i.e. practice, it remains the bad kind of theory (the kind of theory which can be opposed to practice). It is not interesting to talk like “Ok, so here we start with a moral theory, and we deduce these actions from it”, – unless you can show through reasoned argument that someone in a position of authority is mistaken in not acting in the moral way you recommend, i.e. Plato’s “Immoral action is action in error and ignorance”, or something to that effect.

However, if your reasoning fails to convince them, just as it would have failed to convince Hitler or Pol Pot if for some reason someone had had the opportunity to try, then it is no longer appropriate to speak in this way. Rather, if you still believe in the moral principles, the appropriate way of speaking seems to be political speech, by which I mean speech that has a purposeful effect. Such as the blog entry we discussed a few posts ago concerning taking a photo of the police – this speech on behalf of a blog was much more useful than having a moral argument with some police officer. Another form of speech is, of course, such as the gunpowder plot. But this of course just produces reactionary fervour and anti-scientific nationalist banner waving. The point is, although their is a moral and technical difference between such action and “speaking truth to power” (which is of course a kind of mistaken expression, because you don’t speak ‘to’ power, but rather about it to others, and the speech itself is power), their is little difference in the sense that it is an activity which is judged by the extent to which it produces the desired end. This is not at all similar to rational discourse, in which the end is not some state (like “having convinced your opponent” – real intellectual discourse was never about that and its form is poor at producing this kind of effect), but rather something much more ephemeral – the “search for enlightenment” or some such. This sounds silly, but it is essential that intellectual discourse has no specific end, so it cannot have a definitive purpose. Whereas, political speech, or effective speech, has a specific goal as its end, and does not have even has a hidden goal something silly like “uncovering the truth”.

I’m not sure if this distinction is tenable right to the end, but I think it does divide neatly two practically dissimilar kinds of discourse in a useful way.

Milan December 28, 2008 at 11:55 am

My position in a nutshell: it is unrealistic to think that intelligent people still believe that climate change is not man made, will not cause horrible human costs, and is not probably mitigated by drastic reductions of emissions.

Here are some actual statistics on what Canadians think about climate change:

Keith Neuman, Ph.D. The Climate Change Challenge:”What Canadians Expect from their Governments” (Powerpoint)

69% say it is definitely happening, compared with 27% who aren’t sure.

63% say it is mostly caused by human activity.

50% think it will pose a threat to themselves and their lifestyle, compared with 48% who think not.

In September 2008, this is how people anticipated consumers would need to change their behaviour to address climate change:
* Dramatic changes, considerable sacrifice: 25%
* Definite changes, some sacrifice: 52%
* Few/no changes, no real sacrifices: 15%

Most effective strategies for addressing climate change:
* New technologies and fuels: 44%
* Change consumer behaviour/lifestyles: 42%
* Both: 11%

Lots of other statistics are in the Powerpoint.

While the picture is somewhat nuanced, it certainly shows that sizable minorities think (and say to people conducting surveys) that climate change is not happening, not a threat, or likely to be largely solved automatically by new technology.

Tristan December 28, 2008 at 9:45 pm

Frankly, who cares what a sizable minority thinks. What does Harper think? What else matters?

Milan December 29, 2008 at 12:08 am

All I mean to say it is that it is entirely realistic to think that most people do not have as good an understanding of climate change as you initially posited.

Indeed, I would argue that even most people working on climate change don’t appreciate its seriousness, and tend to assume that technology will solve the problem largely on its own.

I have never seen anyone (except perhaps you) argue:

  1. Climate change is anthropogenic.
  2. Climate change is a civilizational threat.
  3. Successful mitigation requires urgent action.
  4. We do not have a moral obligation to undertake that action.

People dispute (or simply automatically reject) the premisses, not the moral judgments that flow from them.

Tristan December 29, 2008 at 12:34 am

What I dispute the most is the idea that we can create political motivation to stop climate change through this kind of an “information plus desire equals motivation” logic.

I don’t think it’s as simple as people “accept” or “do not accept” these premises. Like you already pointed out, there is a subconcious motivation to not accept the premises if they will force one to accept the conclusion.

The reason we might be interested in this question about whether climate change is morally wrong, is that if it is, its wrong regardless of whether you accept these premises or not.

The next step, it seems, is only trying to convince people these premises are true, if that is the action that actually brings about the morally required action. This is why I try to draw a distinction between “intellectual” speech and “effective” speech.

Milan December 29, 2008 at 10:40 am

Tristan,

Climate change itself, as a physical phenomenon, is amoral. What has moral importance is the actions people take in response to their understanding of climate change.

In the end, climate change may be the kind of moral question that people are fundamentally ill-suited to responding to: like how much to fish, or whether to dump your garbage on someone else’s land. Perhaps the only way forward is to create the sense that individual behaviour must be constrained by a stronger outside force, if a decent group outcome is to be achieved.

Tristan December 29, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Consider this question: ought people need to respond to the demands of climate change?

Immediately, the answer seems yes. However, it also seems that climate change can only be really dealt with from a state level. Insofar as humans have the right to live in rational states, which act in the overall best interest (you can call this consequences, and I can call it Right), humans would seem to have the right not to worry about climate change – that is a problem for the state to solve.

Insofar as humans don’t live in rational states, they have the duty to make the states they live in rational. So, it’s unclear whether humans have a moral duty to go straight to fixing climate change, or whether climate change remains a duty of the state, and civilians only have the duty to make their state rational (so it will respond to it).

Tristan December 29, 2008 at 12:14 pm

“is to create the sense that individual behaviour must be constrained by a stronger outside force”

I don’t think this “sense” needs to be created – this is the meaning of customs and laws. We already have these in social groupings and states.

Milan December 29, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Greenhouse gas emissions must be added to the register of things the state is popularly trusted to regulate – and it must rise to the challenge of doing so equitably and effectively. Until this has been accepted as an important and proper role for government, governments will lack the courage to do it (or risk being replaced by populist parties and individuals who are happy to maintain the status quo of rising emissions and unregulated personal and firm behaviour).

In any event, the ethical obligations that arise from climate change arise as a consequence of its physical properties. Changes in our awareness of climatic vulnerabilities, the emergence of new technologies, and possibly even the emergence of new forms of governance could all affect the moral calculus.

Tristan December 29, 2008 at 1:33 pm

If we were right thusfar, democracy would be the problem. I am therefore inclined to believe we have made an error.

Milan December 29, 2008 at 1:43 pm

The problem is that is it easy to be selfish.

Properly structured, democracy is a defence against that.

Achieving that structure requires a change of mindset in the population. In particular, they need to accept the importance or regulating greenhouse gasses, and be prepared to keep doing so even when it is costly and times are tough.

Milan December 29, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Within democracies, there are issues about which voters have a reasonably strong awareness, and others where most people are fairly clueless of uninterested. That’s not too problematic when the issues are unimportant, but when it comes to something like climate change, it is hugely important.

Arguably, the critical first step toward real global action is a population sufficiently educated to be able to see through most nonsense arguments: whether they are being advanced by industry, politicians, or opportunistic peddlers of easy answers.

Tristan December 29, 2008 at 4:32 pm

In every other issue, the population as a whole is not expected to mobalize behind a cause. We don’t live in a direct democracy. That means the public is not expected to be engaged, rather, the publics consent for the status quo that benefits the elite is produced through the semblance of free media. It’s not “by accident” that the public is crap at being aware.

Milan December 29, 2008 at 4:35 pm

The issue isn’t intense awareness forever. It is the decision to give up a freedom: namely, the freedom to emit greenhouse gasses in an unrestrained way.

It takes awareness to make the choice, as well as a certain level of lingering awareness to remember why it was important to do, and why it must continue.

A decent analogy is the central bank. We’ve realized that politicians cannot be trusted with the money supply, so it has been delegated to experts with a clear mandate to pursue the course considered socially optimal.

Milan December 29, 2008 at 4:37 pm

Another analogy with some merit was losing the freedom to own slaves. Again, people were forced to give up something personally convenient and highly economically important, largely for ethical reasons pertaining primarily to other people.

Tristan December 29, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Fair enough,

But your central bank analogy is a bit of a joke. In Canada, the minister of finance technically has quite a bit of authority over the central bank. If we really believed that the incentive to deflate the currency to avoid raising taxes was a real danger, we wouldn’t have a fiat currency.

Milan December 29, 2008 at 7:05 pm

Macroeconomics and climate change are both challenging areas, in which no institutional arrangement is perfect.

All we can hope for are mechanisms that are sufficiently good to avoid very bad outcomes.

Tristan December 29, 2008 at 9:28 pm

Let’s just hope China doesn’t wake up one day and decide it would rather consume its own products.

. December 29, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Recession’s blessing

Dec 11th 2008 | HONG KONG AND SHENZHEN
From The Economist print edition
Falling Western demand is keeping high-quality Chinese goods in China

“Chinese manufacturers are well aware that they operate in one of the few large markets that is still showing a pulse. Retail sales in October were up by 22% compared with the same month in 2007—a slight drop from 23.2% in September, but an impressive figure nonetheless. That certainly exaggerates the country’s economic vigour (growth in car sales, for example, is declining), but it would be a stretch to believe that China is in recession.

As domestic consumption booms, China’s export-oriented manufacturers are under siege. Figures announced on December 10th showed that exports fell by a startling 2.2% in November, compared with a year earlier. Analysts had expected an increase of around 15%; it was the first fall in exports for seven years. The news followed a government survey, released on December 1st, that showed a precipitous decline in the fortunes of export manufacturers, confirming lots of anecdotal evidence. Every week brings fresh reports of factory closings, particularly in the industrial belt around the Pearl River delta in southern China. Unpaid workers have been staging violent protests. Diverting goods intended for export to the domestic market makes sense for factory owners, who want their firms to survive, and for local officials, who wish to maintain order.”

. December 30, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Minimum Ethical Criteria For All Post-Kyoto Regime Proposals: What Does Ethics Require of A Copenhagen Outcome
climateethics.org

* Environmental Sufficiency: Putting Global Emissions On A Safe Reduction Pathway
* The Equity Criteria: Assuring A Just Allocation Of National Targets

Tristan December 30, 2008 at 2:24 pm

“Recession’s blessing”

“Unpaid workers have been staging violent protests. “

Antonio Sosa January 4, 2009 at 1:43 am

Czech President Vaclav Klaus demostrated great courage and intelligence when he stated the truth — “environmentalism is the new communism and climate change is a myth.”

Congratulations, President Klaus! At last we have a courageous leader dares declare what is obvious to all informed Americans and Europeans — that emperor Gore is naked, that his man-made Global Warming ideas are a hoax.

President Klaus’s thinking coincides with that of more than 650 international scientists also dissent over the man-made global warming claims. Their number is more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.

Additionally, more than 31,000 American scientists have signed onto a petition that states, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate…” http://www.pr-inside.com/the-petition-contains-the-signatures-of-r613239.htm

If not stopped, the global warming scam will enrich the scammers (Gore and Obama’s fraudulent friends), increase the power of the U.N. and communists like Obama, and multiply poverty and servitude for the rest of us.

Milan January 4, 2009 at 1:48 am

That last comment deserves a proper debunking. I will get on it when I have a bit more time.

In short, there is no sense in which the scientific consensus on human-induced climate change is under threat from alternative theories. Those who assert that it is not happening, not caused by humans, or not a problem are united principally by their desire to avoid regulations on greenhouse gas emissions – not any credible beliefs.

Milan January 5, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Antonio Sosa,

President Klaus’s thinking coincides with that of more than 650 international scientists also dissent over the man-made global warming claims. Their number is more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produced a report based on the work of thousands of scientists, hundreds of which were involved in the actual drafting process. Furthermore, if you investigate the state of discussion within the scientific community – as Naomi Oreskes has famously done – you find that the arguments of climate change delayers about fundamental disagreement within the scientific community have no basis in fact.

Additionally, more than 31,000 American scientists have signed onto a petition that states, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate…”

There are 31,000 people on that list, but there is no way to know whether any of them are actually scientists. As this blog post describes, the guidelines on the site say only that: “Signatories to the petition are required to have formal training in the analysis of information in physical science. This includes primarily those with BS, MS or PhD degrees in science, engineering, or related disciplines.” Real scientists are strongly in agreement about the science of climate change. The national science academies of the G8 nations and Brazil, China and India, three of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the developing world, have signed a statement on the global response to climate change. It is worth reading.

If not stopped, the global warming scam will enrich the scammers (Gore and Obama’s fraudulent friends), increase the power of the U.N. and communists like Obama, and multiply poverty and servitude for the rest of us.

Here we see some indication of the major agenda of climate change delayers: not to uncover the truth about how the climate system works and how people are affecting it, but to block necessary policies that clash with their interests of ideological affiliations. The fact that climate change challenges a libertarian economic agenda certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t a threat to the welfare of future generations.

Milan January 5, 2009 at 12:23 pm

More on that petition of 31,000 ‘scientists:’

Flawed Oregon Petition Rises Again
21 May 08
DeSmogBlog

. January 6, 2009 at 12:17 am

Climate change logic:

Playing Devil’s Advocate to Win

. March 25, 2009 at 4:01 pm

24 March 09
Czech Government Topples, Leaving Global Warming Denier President Vaclav Klaus Stranded

The Czech Republic’s three-party coalition government toppled today after losing a parliamentary “no confidence” vote. That leaves Czech President Vaclav Klaus – global warming denier extraordinaire – with the responsibility of forming a new government post-haste as the economic crisis continues to pummel his people. If three attempts to form a government fail, Klaus must call for early elections to let the people decide.

Milan April 26, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Meanwhile, CEZ, the Czech national electricity company, continues to claim that CO2 is a : “harmless gas, inhaled by plants and creating bubbles in beverages.”

Milan October 21, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Vaclav Klaus has a piece in the Financial Post that I am going to need to write a response to: An anti-human ideology.

Right from the opening, it is deeply wrongheaded: “The global warming dispute starts with a doctrine which claims that the rough coexistence of climate changes, of growing temperatures and of man-made increments of CO2 in the atmosphere — and what is more, only in a relatively short period of time — is a proof of a causal relationship between these phenomena. To the best of my knowledge there is no such relationship between them.”

Scientists don’t think CO2 causes warming because they happened to notice CO2 and temperatures rising at the same time! Rather, Tyndall worked out the properties of greenhouse gases in 1859 and subsequent theory and observation has developed a wide body of evidence showing that human-induced greenhouse gas emissions are warming the planet.

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