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V?clav Klaus on Global Warming


EricWiener
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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.

 

V?clav Klaus, Financial Times, 14 June 2007

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Guest FlummoxedLummox

Meh. All rhetoric and no content. As someone who questions the legitimacy of both sides of the argument and therefore remains unconvinced by either side (which is the only rational response), I find this to be grossly hypocritical. Anyone who so vehemently warns against the politicization of one faction as a primary reason to join his own faction is by nature political, and thus a hypocrit.

 

Bring me some science Klaus.

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The one valid point he makes (and I totally agree with it) is the fact that their is an air of arrogance to the global warming community. Especially in regards to hurricanes and other extreme weather.

 

 

But other than that...yeah, he's a typical politician.

 

It is the former that got me to reproduce the piece. It is the latter that makes me hopeful for Eastern Europe.

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As someone studying atmospheric science, I notice grave concern about the arguments stated above being true and well-founded. The fact is right now the science has not produced a smoking gun in any direction. However, I sense that many atmospheric scientists have stayed out of this debate (as they should) because many are not even sure what is being debated.

 

Is this a debate over climate change? Is it over domestic political policy? International politics?

 

So far, the computer models used for this are crude because those who write them only have so much to work with. I once asked about how dependable these models were and was told that if models with the same consistency were used in Meteorology like they are Climatology, then no one would listen to weather reports as they would be inaccurate all the time.

 

Man may rule the globe, but the atmosphere is pretty independent of man. We are at its mercy and we cannot control it.

 

However, when you have people like Al Gore instigating this science to come up with political policy suggestions when the science is not done studying the situation....it puts many people in very uncomfortable positions that they should not have to be in. It is like a modern-day, media-backed black list and that concerns many atmospheric scientists.

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so what happens when the east coast is a part of the atlantic ocean? or do we just consider losing millions and millions of lives as a part of human progress?

 

You are making an assumption that something is fact, when in fact it is not a settled matter.

well...it wont be a settled matter until it actually happens...and yeah...much like Bush's intial reason for going into iraq...i think we need to be proactive and try to prevent the actual sharks from swimming around NYC and boston...whatever is clever though...i like to swim

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so what happens when the east coast is a part of the atlantic ocean? or do we just consider losing millions and millions of lives as a part of human progress?

 

You are making an assumption that something is fact, when in fact it is not a settled matter.

well...it wont be a settled matter until it actually happens...and yeah...much like Bush's intial reason for going into iraq...i think we need to be proactive and try to prevent the actual sharks from swimming around NYC and boston...whatever is clever though...i like to swim

:confused

 

Sometimes I just want to look inside people's heads to see what they are really thinking.

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so what happens when the east coast is a part of the atlantic ocean? or do we just consider losing millions and millions of lives as a part of human progress?

 

You are making an assumption that something is fact, when in fact it is not a settled matter.

well...it wont be a settled matter until it actually happens...and yeah...much like Bush's intial reason for going into iraq...i think we need to be proactive and try to prevent the actual sharks from swimming around NYC and boston...whatever is clever though...i like to swim

:confused

 

Sometimes I just want to look inside people's heads to see what they are really thinking.

what is confusing about that?

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The guy is full of crap and making rampant assertions that his opinion is right upon the matter and ignoring the research of thousands of scientists.

 

I can write a paper like that of why the tooth fairy is the greatest threat to the world as we know it and it wouldnt be full of more crap that that paper.

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so what happens when the east coast is a part of the atlantic ocean? or do we just consider losing millions and millions of lives as a part of human progress?

 

You are making an assumption that something is fact, when in fact it is not a settled matter.

well...it wont be a settled matter until it actually happens...and yeah...much like Bush's intial reason for going into iraq...i think we need to be proactive and try to prevent the actual sharks from swimming around NYC and boston...whatever is clever though...i like to swim

 

Well one day a child is going to be born in canada, that will go on to lead an attack against the united states. Major cities will be burned and those that survive will be enslaved. Why doesnt the US go into canada and kill all the newborn babies? We need to be proactice... that matter wont be settled until it actually happens.

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so what happens when the east coast is a part of the atlantic ocean? or do we just consider losing millions and millions of lives as a part of human progress?

 

You are making an assumption that something is fact, when in fact it is not a settled matter.

well...it wont be a settled matter until it actually happens...and yeah...much like Bush's intial reason for going into iraq...i think we need to be proactive and try to prevent the actual sharks from swimming around NYC and boston...whatever is clever though...i like to swim

 

Well one day a child is going to be born in canada, that will go on to lead an attack against the united states. Major cities will be burned and those that survive will be enslaved. Why doesnt the US go into canada and kill all the newborn babies? We need to be proactice... that matter wont be settled until it actually happens.

 

:lol

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Guest FlummoxedLummox

And I think it is quite humerous that you all are dismissing this one man's opinion on the issue. Have you all taken the time to read the scientific reports yourself to make your own opinion? Or do you just figure "the majority doesn't lie?" Have you utilized critical thinking to determine whether the approaches are sound and reasonable? I suppose the media is mostly to blame for this.

Where is all this finger-pointing coming from? Only 3 people made comments in support of the other side of the argument, while 5 people (4 people if you don't count JetsMania, who posted 2 minutes after you) posted comments either neutral to the argument or in support of the non-anthropogenic side. So I will ask you this: do you really think you stand on firm enough ground to accuse other people of not thinking critically, when you lack the even more basic ability to understand what you read?

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well...most of us could just rehash everything we KNOW about global warming...but really...after reading that sillyness...it really is only more appropriate to point and laugh at him...now that isnt to say that the majority is always right and the minority is always wrong...but we have evidence about the human element added to the natural element is raising the temperature of the earth much much much too quickly...i mean...you can sit here all day long and tell me that the grass is purple...but at the end of the day...i look at the grass...and see that it is unequivocally green...

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Guest FlummoxedLummox

Penguino, I responded to what you explicitly said whereas you responded to what I did not say. You take my lack of criticizing the pontiffs on the pro-anthropogenic side as proof that I support them, when that is not the case. I've gotten myself into numerous arguments over this debate in the past (and will apparently continue to do so) because I am unconvinced by either side. I see both sides as merely political posturing, using non-disprovable information as a means to control public policy.

 

Personally, I believe that the human element contributing to global warming has been overblown. Because this is in essence a political debate, though, one cannot separate the politics from either side, so one cannot trust the propaganda from either side. This leads us, the ignorant public, with a very very very difficult decision.

 

On one hand, we have extremists telling us that we will destroy the Earth in a matter of decades unless we pull the plug on everything that emits CO2. Meanwhile, we have those who shout back -- in a voice just as extreme -- that disrupting the delicate balance of the economic system will send the world crashing down long before the polar ice caps come crashing down. One side says black, the other says white, and gray seems to be a shade altogether forgotten. These super-polarized arguments should immediately send up a red-flag in any intelligent citizen's mind.

 

It is our role to play the judge. Unfortunately though, as with all difficult decisions, hearing both arguments only makes choosing a side all the more difficult. Nonetheless, it is our responsibility to hear both arguments. To behave any differently would be irresponsible. And if not hearing both arguments is irresponsible, then actively ignoring one side would be recklessly irresponsible. I say this because I recently had a conversation with someone who implied there was no room for debate on the subject of human-caused global warming. My suggestion that we were not primarily responsible elicited an emotional response of anger, not a measured response of inquiry.

 

There is nothing more heinous than the vilification of an individual for questioning a "group truth." Following 9/11 it was certainly "true" that questioning the government was un-American, and it was unequivocally "true" that there were WMD's in Iraq. Recall the way people were treated for questioning these "truths." They were branded traitors and turncoats, and accused of wanting the terrorists to win. Some even lost their jobs. The snowball of public opinion rolled down the mountain, gathering more and more people on its way down. As more people were sucked in by the snowball, the more they demanded others acquiesce to their viewpoint, and the ultimate result was a decrease in reason-guided decision making.

 

As someone who hopes to come to opinions logically and scientifically, I can do nothing but balk at supporters of human-caused global warming who validate their theory by pointing to science, yet refuse to discuss the actual theory behind the idea. Scientifically, a theory becomes accepted by subjecting it to the scrutiny of others. Refusing this element immediately renders the opinion unscientific. It is no longer a theory, but a belief. No longer does this individual seek truth or fact, but rather the comfort of being undoubted.

 

Believe me, I've read the arguments on both sides and I wish that I can come to a conclusive decision about what role human beings play. My suggestion would be to reduce our dependence on non-renewable resources, because it makes more sense to rely on a resource that can be manufactored or cultivated rather than only harvested. Plus, it makes sense to do so geo-politically. We should not be politically beholden to any country simply because it was founded over an udnerground lake of decomposed organisms. If such improvements happen to coincide with reduced CO2 emissions, then so be it.

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Guest FlummoxedLummox

See, this is exactly my point. No one is willing to see the other side.

 

There is just as much evidence against AGW as there is for it and if you actually take the time to put aside your political bias for a moment you would see that many of the scientific processes are flawed and incapable of giving accurate data either way.

 

The alarmists have much more to prove than the skeptics do and all they have come forward with are shaky positive results from flawed equipment. We are talking about such a small amount of change that there is practically no reliable means out there to make strong enough case to change policy.

Did you read what I wrote??? I said that I BELIEVE the human effect on global warming has been much overblown. I'm familiar with the other side. I'm familiar with the concept of increased solar activity. I'm familiar with the flaws in Gore's explanation of the ice-core records -- that increased temperature actually is followed by an increase of CO2 (instead of vice versa). My point is that the prudent thing to do is to refrain from using non-renewable resources, regardless of this debate.

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See, this is exactly my point. No one is willing to see the other side.

 

There is just as much evidence against AGW as there is for it and if you actually take the time to put aside your political bias for a moment you would see that many of the scientific processes are flawed and incapable of giving accurate data either way.

 

The alarmists have much more to prove than the skeptics do and all they have come forward with are shaky positive results from flawed equipment. We are talking about such a small amount of change that there is practically no reliable means out there to make strong enough case to change policy.

throughout history, the temperature has been constantly changing a little bit here and a little bit there...and thats all well in good...but we are talking about the temperature rising several degrees over the next decade or two...im sorry...but A. that cant just be natural and B. will be disasterous to humanity...in the past 150 years...humanity has been burning fossil fuels into the air, dumping toxic waste into water, cutting down forests of trees in the blink of an eye and so on...are there really people out there who didnt think there would be an adverse effect to all this abuse?...if you eat mcdonalds everyday what will happen? you will get fat and die...if you do things to screw with the natural order of things...what do you think will happen? if your answer is nothing...lets go watch some beach volleyball up here in boston come december...i tell you what...it will def be warm enough for shorts

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See, this is exactly my point. No one is willing to see the other side.

 

There is just as much evidence against AGW as there is for it and if you actually take the time to put aside your political bias for a moment you would see that many of the scientific processes are flawed and incapable of giving accurate data either way.

 

The alarmists have much more to prove than the skeptics do and all they have come forward with are shaky positive results from flawed equipment. We are talking about such a small amount of change that there is practically no reliable means out there to make strong enough case to change policy.

throughout history, the temperature has been constantly changing a little bit here and a little bit there...and thats all well in good...but we are talking about the temperature rising several degrees over the next decade or two...im sorry...but A. that cant just be natural and B. will be disasterous to humanity...in the past 150 years...humanity has been burning fossil fuels into the air, dumping toxic waste into water, cutting down forests of trees in the blink of an eye and so on...are there really people out there who didnt think there would be an adverse effect to all this abuse?...if you eat mcdonalds everyday what will happen? you will get fat and die...if you do things to screw with the natural order of things...what do you think will happen? if your answer is nothing...lets go watch some beach volleyball up here in boston come december...i tell you what...it will def be warm enough for shorts

 

check out the little ice age. The temperature dropped more during that period (100 years or so) than it has increased in the past 100 years.

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See, this is exactly my point. No one is willing to see the other side.

 

There is just as much evidence against AGW as there is for it and if you actually take the time to put aside your political bias for a moment you would see that many of the scientific processes are flawed and incapable of giving accurate data either way.

 

The alarmists have much more to prove than the skeptics do and all they have come forward with are shaky positive results from flawed equipment. We are talking about such a small amount of change that there is practically no reliable means out there to make strong enough case to change policy.

throughout history, the temperature has been constantly changing a little bit here and a little bit there...and thats all well in good...but we are talking about the temperature rising several degrees over the next decade or two...im sorry...but A. that cant just be natural and B. will be disasterous to humanity...in the past 150 years...humanity has been burning fossil fuels into the air, dumping toxic waste into water, cutting down forests of trees in the blink of an eye and so on...are there really people out there who didnt think there would be an adverse effect to all this abuse?...if you eat mcdonalds everyday what will happen? you will get fat and die...if you do things to screw with the natural order of things...what do you think will happen? if your answer is nothing...lets go watch some beach volleyball up here in boston come december...i tell you what...it will def be warm enough for shorts

 

check out the little ice age. The temperature dropped more during that period (100 years or so) than it has increased in the past 100 years.

yeah...and temperature drops are a great thing for most living creatures...the temperature being raised at the rate it is, is bad news for us and good news for sea creatures...who are about to have a whole lot more play room...including everyone on the east coasts' living room

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Guest FlummoxedLummox

Again, the point I am trying to make here is that people here on this board and in the American public need to not treat this as a political issue. It is not necessarily about "hearing arguments from both sides" (although that is important in the sense that we must understand the ramifications of the actions those in power would make), it is about looking at the raw science and making conclusions by one's self. The only reason we are in this situation is because people are too uniformed and are basing their opinions on this downward cascade of loaded arguments.

 

You are treating this as a debate, which is the wrong scenario. My guess is that you come from a more liberal arts oriented background (that's perfectly alright) but this should not be boiled down to who skews their results better than the other person and gets more people to believe them. You must do this for the reason that you've already mentioned, you can't separate politics from either side.

Well the "raw science" is rather explicit in showing that average termperatures are increasing. The theories explaining that phenomenon are not raw science. There was a time when the plum pudding model of the atom was the theory that explained most of chemistry, but we all now know that it is bunk. There is no one theory that has been able to account for all contingencies in this debate, though, and that's where "hearing the arguments" comes in. I would much prefer being able to wait around for the scientific community to get a better grasp of the situation, but that is not feasible in the political realities of our world.

 

To give you some background on me, I've been an officially declared: english major (2 semesters), psychology major (2 semesters), chemistry major (3 semesters), mechanical engineering major (1 semester), journalism (1 semester) and now am finally finishing my undergraduate degree in political science (3 semesters and counting). Hurray for finally making a decision.

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See, this is exactly my point. No one is willing to see the other side.

 

There is just as much evidence against AGW as there is for it and if you actually take the time to put aside your political bias for a moment you would see that many of the scientific processes are flawed and incapable of giving accurate data either way.

 

The alarmists have much more to prove than the skeptics do and all they have come forward with are shaky positive results from flawed equipment. We are talking about such a small amount of change that there is practically no reliable means out there to make strong enough case to change policy.

throughout history, the temperature has been constantly changing a little bit here and a little bit there...and thats all well in good...but we are talking about the temperature rising several degrees over the next decade or two...im sorry...but A. that cant just be natural and B. will be disasterous to humanity...in the past 150 years...humanity has been burning fossil fuels into the air, dumping toxic waste into water, cutting down forests of trees in the blink of an eye and so on...are there really people out there who didnt think there would be an adverse effect to all this abuse?...if you eat mcdonalds everyday what will happen? you will get fat and die...if you do things to screw with the natural order of things...what do you think will happen? if your answer is nothing...lets go watch some beach volleyball up here in boston come december...i tell you what...it will def be warm enough for shorts

 

check out the little ice age. The temperature dropped more during that period (100 years or so) than it has increased in the past 100 years.

yeah...and temperature drops are a great thing for most living creatures...the temperature being raised at the rate it is, is bad news for us and good news for sea creatures...who are about to have a whole lot more play room...including everyone on the east coasts' living room

Can you do a little bit of research please? Temperature drops are not a great thing for most living creatures. Considering a great majority of the earth's creatures live in the tropics and the subtropics.

 

The temperature being raised has already shown itself to be beneficial to many tropical insects and plants. Whether good or bad.

 

All I'm asking is you do a little bit of research.

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